Injury-prone Thomas Vermaelen will require tests on Wednesday prior to the visit for Stamford bridge after substituting himself with a calf problem towards the end of the Carling Cup victory over Bolton.
The Belgian international finally made his long-awaited return from an Achilles injury by starting in last nights 2-1 fourth round win, playing 84 minutes at the Emirates before being replaced by debutant Daniel Boateng.
Wenger revealed Vermaelen asked to be substituted after feeling a pain in his calf, but is confident the Belgian has not sustained any real damage and is caused purely by his lack of match fitness
He did very well but he had to come off for a calf problem. I hope it is not too bad. He will be a bit short for Saturday [against Chelsea in the Premier League]. I do not know yet what has happened.
We will have to test him tomorrow [Wednesday] but it did not look too bad. He has been out for a long time and only had one training session yesterday with the team.
I didn’t expect a game of that intensity because it was a really tough game for a centre-back tonight as they put us under pressure in the second half. I don’t think it is a calf strain, I think it is just a tight calf because he has not played 90 minutes for three months.
He wanted to come off. In fairness, I did not want to take him off because I thought it was stupid with four minutes to go in case we conceded a goal. He was adamant he could not go on so I hope it is not too bad.
I was surprised that Wenger risked using Vermaelen for an entire match after just one full training session with the first team, but perhaps that is just testament to his quality. He would have been a huge boost towards Arsenal’s chances ahead of the trip to Chelsea, but it looks like the Gunners will have to make do with Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Santos in defence. Do you think Wenger was rash to use Vermaelen for such a long spell on his first match back? Share your thoughts below…
Vermaelen has since revealed that he is fit and available for the Chelsea match. Speaking after the game Thomas said: “It was great to be back and to get time on the pitch. I felt fresh, I’m OK and am available for Saturday.”