Vermaelen relishing Rooney battle

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen says he is relishing the prospect of facing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, in the first heavyweight bout of the new season.

The former Ajax stopper has made an impressive start to his Gunners' career, netting on his debut in the club's 6-1 demolition of Everton, before going on to help his side win their next three encounters to ensure a 100 percent start to the campaign.

Arsene Wenger's charge's now face their first acid test of 2009/10 as they go head-to-head with the reigning champions, with Vermaelen tasked with keeping Rooney - who has already scored three times this season - quiet at the Theatre of Dreams.

However, the prospect of facing the England international has not stopped Vermaelen looking forward to the clash.

"We will see how it goes against him. For me it is nice to play United," he said in the Evening Standard.

"It will be my first time playing against Wayne Rooney but I am not nervous. You have to look forward to playing these kinds of games and against players like him.

"At Arsenal, if you play in the Premier League every game is a hard game. In Holland, sometimes you had a game at home and it was easy.

"But here you have to fight hard in every game and you look forward to each match, but this is a special game."