Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen ruled out until the New Year

06 December 2010 12:28
Crocked: Vermaelen faces a lengthy lay-off

Arsenal's challenge for the Barclays Premier League title has been dealt a blow after it was revealed star defender Thomas Vermaelen will be out of action until the New Year.

The Belgium international will miss next Monday's crunch clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford and the visit of Chelsea at the end of the month.

Vermaelen has been sidelined with an achilles tendon problem since the beginning of September, and the initial diagnosis was that it would be a matter of weeks rather than months.

But Wenger revealed today he doesn't expect the defender to be fit until at least the start of next year.

'Vermaelen is in a [protective] boot,' Arsene Wenger said.

'We want him back and I hope he will be back soon, but not before January.'

More to follow.

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Source: Daily_Mail