By Joe Brewin

Thomas Vermaelen believes the return of Abou Diaby will provide Arsenal with a timely boost as they look to tie up third place in the Premier League.

Diaby returned from injury against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, featuring for 25 minutes as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw.

And, with Mikel Arteta ruled out for Arsenal’s remaining three fixtures, Vermaelen says Diaby is capable of filling the void. 

“It is good for him that he is now back and has put a difficult period behind him,” said the Belgian. “He can be really valuable for us I think. Mikel is injured now but Abou brings some physical presence in midfield as well. He is a good player for us so I am happy he is back.

“Mikel, as you have seen, has been important for us over the whole season. He is a leader on the pitch and outside the pitch and has a lot of experience. It is a big loss that he is not on the pitch anymore.”

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22 Apr 2012