Fans at Emirates Stadium will have to wait until 2011 to see their Belgian centre back.
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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.” (BBC Sport)
Arsenal are top of the league, but neither of their defensive acquisitions of the summer have completely adapted to life in the Premier League.
Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny demonstrated their lack of understanding with one another against Fulham in the run of play that led to the away side’s goal.
Both players went for the same ball, and their clash of heads left a gap in the Gunners’ defence which Clint Dempsey exploited – Diomansy Kamara finishing off the American’s pass.
Arsenal have looked a sight better when Johan Djourou has been on the pitch, and looked less prone to the concession of another Fulham goal on Saturday.
Still, Vermaelen is thought by many to be the best centre back Arsenal have, and his threat shooting from distance will be as welcome as his stability at the back.
Another delay to his return will be of grave concern to Arsenal supporters.
The Belgian’s return could help Arsenal continue their title charge for longer than most in the media seem to think, but a tough December which includes fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea would certainly have been alleviated with his return.
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