Gunners launch Vermaelen appeal

Arsenal have appealed against Thomas Vermaelen's controversial red card in Saturday's 2-0 victory against West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium.

The Belgium international was adjudged by referee Martin Atkinson and his assistant Phil Sharp to have pushed over Guillermo Franco and was sent off just before the interval.

The Hammers went on to miss the resulting penalty as the Gunners claimed a crucial three points.

A statement from the Football Association read:"The FA has received a claim for wrongful dismissal from Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen.

"Vermaelen was shown a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity during Arsenal's match against West Ham United on Saturday 20 March. A Regulatory Commission will hear the claim on Tuesday 23 March."

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger does not expect Robin van Persie will be able to return to first-team action for at least a month.

The striker has been sidelined since November after suffering ankle ligament damage while playing for Holland in an international friendly against Italy.

The Gunners boss confirmed: "I think he will be back with the club this week. We sent our fitness coach out to Holland where Robin has been having his rehabilitation. Physically he looks very sharp but we aim at least to wait a month."

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