Arsenal ace fit and raring to go

Arsenal vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen has given Arsene Wenger a boost, as he has declared his fitness ahead of the crunch clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

The Belgium international has had an injury prone last 12 months at the Emirates, but made a recovery by playing 84 minutes in the 2-1 win over Bolton in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.

Despite being taken off in the dying stages with a suspected calf strain, the centre half has revealed that he will be available for selection come the weekend.

“I feel great,” he told The Gunners’ official website.

I trained with the team and I felt good straight away so I felt confident.

“Personally I don’t believe in that [needing games to regain sharpness]. If I come back from injury after a long time I don’t believe in coming back and getting rhythm.

“I think it is just in your head and a mental thing – if you are a football player you have to be there straight away. That’s why I wanted to play and I think it’s good.

“It was a good game for us, we fought hard and it was a deserved win for us I think,” he concluded.

Arsenal have recovered some of their form and have looked much better over the last month, but will face a stern test against their London rivals at Stamford Bridge.

By Gareth McKnight