Sol short for Spurs showdown
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sol Campbell has been ruled out of Saturday's crunch clash against Tottenham.
Arsenal have confirmed that England international defender Sol Campbell has been ruled out of Saturday's crunch clash against his former side Tottenham.
The World Cup hopeful has played just once for The Gunners since walking out of Highbury at half time of the 3-2 defeat to West Ham in February, and his comeback game against Portsmouth saw him suffer a broken nose.
Whilst Campbell was initially ruled out of the Premiership game with West Brom and Wednesday night's 1-0 victory over Villarreal, The Gunners have now confirmed his absence will be extended to Saturday and the summit meeting with Spurs in the battle for fourth place.
Campbell is still a figure of hate at White Hart Lane for the sensational manner in which he crossed North London on a free transfer in 2001, and he will be denied the chance to figure against his former employers after failing to recover from surgery on his nose in time.
However, Arsene Wenger believes that Campbell will return in time for the second leg tie with Villarreal, meaning he should just have enough time to prove his fitness to Sven Goran Eriksson with the World Cup fast approaching.
"Sol is not back for Saturday but he should be involved for Tuesday," Wenger told the club's official website.
Arsenal are currently four points behind their North London rivals, with a game in hand, and are hoping for a victory to help snatch fourth place in the game at Highbury, live on Sky Sports 1.
Meanwhile Wenger has also confirmed that fellow England hopeful Ashley Cole is expected to be out for a further two weeks despite completing 90 minutes for the reserves on Wednesday.
Cole would be Eriksson's first choice left-back if free of injury, but he has played just an hour of football since October after initially suffering a fractured foot then struggling with his recovery.
Wenger's admission that Cole will be out for a further fortnight means he may only be able to make the last two games of the Premiership season, as well as the UEFA Champions League final if Arsenal can progress past Villarreal.
However French youngster Gael Clichy, Cole's regular understudy before the surprise emergence of compatriot Mathieu Flamini, may be free to made a speedier return to first team action after recovering from another foot fracture sustained in November.
"Gael Clichy looks ready but I don't know how much he is free pain-wise in his foot," Wenger added.
"Ashley looks completely free pain-wise but looks to be behind Gael fitness-wise.
"Let's give him two more weeks before he is completely ready to play."