Wenger’s fear as Vermaelen suffers fitness setback

ARSENAL defender Thomas Vermaelen has suffered a setback in his bid to return to full fitness – prompting fears of a long lay-off, writes Jem Maidment.

The Belgium international made just three appearances this season before picking up an Achilles injury on international duty in a 3-2 win over Turkey in September.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted ahead of last night’s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers that Vermaelen is no nearer a return to first team action.

“He had a little setback in training and he has to see specialists again,” confirmed Wenger.

“I don’t know where we go with Thomas Vermaelen time-wise but at the moment he cannot play.

“On the scan his Achilles is completely clear. As soon as he stays out playing or training for a while, it tightens up and he has pain. We don’t know the source of his pain.”

Laurent Koscielny missed last night’s match and will also be absent from Sunday’s trip to Everton as he serves a two-match suspension following his sending off against Newcastle last weekend.

Most Read

It leaves Johan Djourou and Sebastian Squillaci as the only two fit and available recognised centre backs at the club, while Alex Song could deputise in an emergency.

Abou Diaby, another who can also play in defence, is unavailable with an ankle strain and reportedly may need an ankle operation.

l ARSENAL Ladies must overturn a two-goal deficit if they are to progress to the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals.

Laura Harvey’s side take on Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano – who won 2-0 in the first leg – at Boreham Wood FC today (Thursday), kick off 1pm.