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Arsenal lose injured Thomas Vermaelen until new year

Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen was initially only expected to be out for a week

Arsenal centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out until the new year with an Achilles tendon injury.

The 24-year-old has been sidelined since picking up the problem while playing for Belgium in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Turkey on 7 September.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted there was "no logical explanation" for Vermaelen's prolonged absence, adding: "Vermaelen is in a [protective] boot.

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

When Vermaelen suffered the injury he was expected to be sidelined for only a week.


But his absence has now stretched to three months and, despite going top of the Premier League with Saturday's victory over Fulham, Arsenal have at times been exposed in central defence.

Laurent Koscielny, who joined from French club Lorient last summer in a deal reportedly worth £10m, has already been shown two red cards and four yellows.

He was forced off after 33 minutes against Fulham with concussion following a clash of heads with Sebastien Squillaci which led to the visitors' equaliser.

Frenchman Squillaci was not expected to be a regular starter following his arrival from Sevilla but he has already made 18 appearances because of Vermaelen's injury.

Johan Djourou, who missed most of last season after knee surgery, is Arsenal's only other recognised centre-back.

"On the scan, his Achilles is clear," Wenger said of Vermaelen, a £10m signing from Ajax in 2009, in November.

"But as soon as he stays out for a while, it tightens up and he has pain. We don't know the source of his pain.

"I don't know where we go with Thomas time-wise but, at the moment, he cannot play."

Wenger is also without captain Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and fellow midfielder Abou Diaby (ankle) as he prepares for Wednesday's Champions League game against Partizan Belgrade, which the Gunners need to win to guarantee progress to the knock-out stages.

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see also
Vermaelen injury lay-off extended
22 Dec 10 |  Arsenal
Vermaelen season ended by injury
16 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger 'worry' over injured Diaby
05 Nov 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal confirm Vermaelen signing
19 Jun 09 |  Arsenal

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