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Puyol ruled out of Gunners clash

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has been ruled out of Tuesday's Champions League game against Arsenal.

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Puyol has been out of action since the middle of January with a knee problem but, having returned to training, there was hope he would be available for Tuesday's game at the Camp Nou.

Following Barca's 1-0 victory over Real Zaragoza on Saturday, assistant coach Tito Vilanova said: "He's a lot better and we didn't play him tonight more out of precaution than anything else. We'll see how he is in training on Sunday and Monday."

However, it was decided on Sunday that he would not be fit for the match and, with Gerard Pique absent through suspension, Barca will be without both their first-choice central defenders.

Although Vilanova handled the post-match press conference, Pep Guardiola had recovered sufficiently from his slipped disc to take his place on the touchline for Saturday's game and he is expected to be available for Tuesday's game.

"I hope he will be available on Tuesday against Arsenal," Vilanova said. "I thought he looked a lot better than against Valencia. We all know he has made a great effort and we are all very grateful to him for that. Let's hope he continues to get better."

However, Guardiola missed Sunday's training session and will spend a fifth successive night in hospital. He is still scheduled to attend Monday's press conference at the Camp Nou alongside Sergio Busquets.

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