Arsenal lose Vermaelen for month

Arsenal FC will be without Thomas Vermaelen for the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage after the defender underwent ankle surgery that will keep him out for a month.

Thomas Vermaelen had started the season well for Arsenal
Thomas Vermaelen had started the season well for Arsenal ©Getty Images

Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen will miss the start of Arsenal FC's UEFA Champions League campaign after undergoing surgery on his left ankle that will keep him sidelined for at least a month.

The Belgium international picked up the problem during the Gunners' 2-1 UEFA Champions League play-off win away against Udinese Calcio on 24 August, having missed eight months of last season with an Achilles injury on his right foot. "Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be back in training with the first-team squad in around a month," read a statement from the club.

Arsène Wenger's side open their Group F bid at Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday, with Vermaelen also due to miss their matchday two meeting with Olympiacos FC on 28 September. The 25-year-old will nonetheless hope to be back for Belgium's final two UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A fixtures, at home against Kazakhstan on 7 October and away to Germany four days later.