Vermaelen is facing a maximum of three weeks on the sidelines.

Under no pressure in his own half, Arsenal’s centre-back booted the ball out of play, went down on his knees and called for the physio after just 18 minutes of Wednesday’s match.

Vermalen – who had only missed one league game this season – looked to have suffered a severe injury and his immediate replacement Mikael Silvestre is now likely to deputize for the remainder of the season.

Arsene Wenger revealed the 24-year-old will be out for more than a fortnight after sustaining an injury similar to the one which saw William Gallas hobble off against Barcelona just two weeks ago.

“Certainly it is a calf strain (that he suffered). He will miss two to three weeks.” Wenger said.

With less than a month and just four games left in the campaign, Vermaelen is unlikely to be risked should he recover.

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