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Feb 11, 2011

Wenger: Vermaelen three weeks away

Arsene Wenger is hoping to welcome back key defender Thomas Vermaelen for the season's climax and the Gunners boss has also been boosted by the news Johan Djourou has been passed fit for Saturday's clash against Wolves.

Vermaelen, who has been a revelation at the Emirates since signing in 2009, picked up an Achilles injury on international duty in August. Djourou, meanwhile, hobbled off with a knee problem in the 4-4 draw at Newcastle and there were fears he could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

However, the Swiss centre-back underwent a fitness test on Friday and was deemed fit enough for the clash against Wolves, and Wenger was happy to announce he has a strong squad at his disposal.

"Yes, Djourou is fit," said Wenger. "[Abou] Diaby has a problem but anyway he is suspended. Denilson is available. [Tomas] Rosicky has a groin problem coming back from the Czech Republic so he is not involved but Denilson is coming back. The rest of the squad will be the same as Newcastle. Cesc [Fabregas] and [Robin] Van Persie will both be playing."

Regarding Vermaelen, Wenger said: ""He is doing better and he is in the normal process of rehabilitation. When he will be fit again, I don't know. It is very difficult to set any time on it. Something like three weeks."

With Arsenal four points adrift of league leaders Manchester United, Wenger insists there is "no Barcelona in mind" as his side aim to close the gap before a return to European action against the Spanish champions next week.

"I really do just focus on Wolves," he said. "We are so much focused on the Premier League that I cannot even imagine playing against Barcelona next week. There is no Barcelona in mind. There is Wolverhampton in mind.

"That's what is important to us, the championship. We fought so hard to be in this position now that the most important thing is that we focus on the Premier League tomorrow.''

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