The 24-year-old ended his first season in English football with a highly-creditable eight goals and he knows expectations will be high when he ventures forward this term. But Vermaelen is happy to swap the odd spectacular strike for a long run of clean sheets - the true currency of a title-winning defender.
"I know the fans are expecting goals from me and I hope I can score some this year but for me it is not the most important thing," he told Arsenal TV Online.
"It sounds silly but as a defender you are happier after a 6-0 win with the clean sheet than if you have scored one goal but you concede two.
"Maybe for some people they are not happy to hear that but for me the most important thing is to defend and to defend as a team as well, and then we will get further as a team.
"If we defend first then we can win games. After that we will see."