Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has been passed fit and available for selection to face Chelsea on Saturday.

The news is a major boost to the Gunners, who would have feared the worst when the Belgian international centre back limped off in the later stages of yesterday's Carling Cup win over Bolton Wanderers.

"It was great to be back and to get time on the pitch. I felt fresh, I’m OK and am available for Saturday," he told the official Arsenal website post-match.

It's been confirmed that cramp was the reason behind the player's premature exit at the Emirates, unsurprising given his return after two-months out with an Achilles injury.

With a trip to Stamford Bridge around the corner, concerns over the player's match-fitness quickly resurfaced in the later stages of the 2-1 victory in the last 16 of the competition.

However, Vermaelen dismissed the theory that players lack 'match sharpness' when returning to competitive action after a spell on the sidelines, and is confident he'll be able to settle straight back into the side.

“I feel great. I trained Monday with the team and I felt good straight away so I felt confident for the game," he told Arsenal Player.

“Personally I don't believe in that [needing games to regain sharpness]. If I come back from injury after a long time I don't believe in coming back and getting rhythm.

“I think it is just in your head and a mental thing - if you are a football player you have to be there straight away. That's why I wanted to play today and I think it's good. It was a good game for us, we fought hard and it was a deserved win for us I think.”

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Arsenal
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Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League