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Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is set to figure in Arsene Wenger’s plans after recovering from a back injury.
The Belgian centre-back picked up the injury on international duty, but should he be fit enough to return to the defence, he will be among a team full of confidence now after a run of four straight wins, including the Champions League qualifier over Fenerbahce.
A close victory over north London rivals Tottenham has boosted belief further that the Gunners can challenge for a top-four place at the very least this season, and the welcome return of Vermaelen in the near future can only be a plus factor.
Wenger revealed: “Vermaelen is back in full training. He is very close to being available and he could be in the squad on Saturday.
“It is more likely to be Wednesday, but there is a possibility he might still travel to Sunderland.”
Tomas Rosicky and Yaya Sanogo are definitely out of contention though, with Rosicky still recovering from a hamstring injury while Wenger confirmed that Sanogo would not play.
“Sanogo has a back problem. He came back from the first game of the France Under-21s with it. He is certainly out for Saturday,” he said.
All eyes will no doubt be on Mesut Ozil who is expected to make his debut after a £42.5 million move from Real Madrid.
Sunderland meanwhile will bid to bounce back from a poor 3-1 away defeat at Crystal Palace, but will do well to contain an in-form Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.