Vermaelen: Free-scoring Arsenal are in title hunt

ARSENAL defender Thomas Vermaelen has warned their Premier League rivals that they are capable of mounting a sustained title challenge this year.<br /><br />The Gunners have not won the league since 2004, and last season rarely looked likely to trouble front-runners Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.<br /><br />But Saturday&rsquo;s 4-1 win at Wolves continued their impressive start to the new campaign, lifting them to second in the table.<br /><br />And Vermaelen, whose steely approach has epitomised Arsenal&rsquo;s new-found ruthlessness, believes they are ready to launch a sustained assault on the top spot.<br /><br />&ldquo;If we look at the rankings, we are second and it is a message to other teams that we are involved in the race to be champions,&rdquo; said the Belgium centre-back. <br /><br />&ldquo;It is good that we have had a good series of games, it is important to continue and stay focused on every game because there are a lot of important games.&rdquo;<br /><br />The weekend victory leaves Arsenal five points adrift of leaders Chelsea going into the international break. However, Arsene Wenger&rsquo;s men have a game in hand, and face the Blues in a momentous clash on 29 November.<br /><br />Victory at Molineux was the sixth match already this season in which the Gunners have scored four goals or more. With 36 goals from 11 league games, they are on course to become the first Premier League side to score more than 100 in a season.<br /><br />It is a far cry from a year ago, when then-captain William Gallas publicly criticised his team-mates&rsquo; bravery. <br /><br />New skipper Cesc Fabregas said: &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t think about it any more and are happy with the way things are going at the moment. <br /><br />&ldquo;Even if we did not win anything last year, we were really close.&rdquo;