Arsenal and Tottenham boosted with Robin van Persie and Jermain Defoe primed for derby return

October 28th, 2010

Ready to return: Robin van Persie should be fit to bolster Arsenal's striking options against rivals Spurs

Arsenal and Tottenham’s striking options for the upcoming north London derby have been given a boost with the news Robin van Persie and Jermain Defoe should both be ready.

Van Persie is almost over his latest injury, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger predicting he will be back in training next week.

The Holland striker was forced off 35 minutes into his first start of the season at the end of August after picking up an ankle injury in a challenge with Blackburn’s Phil Jones.

At first it was thought he would be back in a couple of weeks. Then his return was put back to the middle of this month. That date came and went but it now seems Van Persie has recuperated.

If all goes to plan, he will return just in time for a mouthwatering clash on November 20 at the Emirates.

The same goes for Spurs striker Defoe, who has not played since having surgery on his torn ankle ligaments in early September after he was carried off in England’s Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Switzerland.

Fit again: Tottenham expect to call upon Jermain Defoe for the derby against Arsenal

It was feared Defoe would not play again until Christmas but his recovery is ahead of schedule, and a role in the derby is a realistic possibility.

The news on Ledley King is less positive after it emerged the Spurs skipper suffered a torn groin muscle rather than just a strain in the win over Fulham a fortnight ago.

No return date has been set for King while boss Harry Redknapp, who is also without Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate, is growing more concerned about the defender’s chronic knee complaint.

Wenger has defensive injury problems too. Thomas Vermaelen remains sidelined with an achilles injury while Kieran Gibbs will be missing for at least three weeks after damaging medial knee ligaments in the 4-0 Carling Cup win over Newcastle on Wednesday night. Full back Gibbs will have a scan today.

In better news for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey is due to return to full training at the end of next week. The Wales player has not played since breaking the fibula and tibia of his right leg in a clash with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross at the end of February.

There is a chance he will play in a reserve game with Everton a week on Monday but a return to the first team is not expected until the new year.


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