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Premier League

Van Persie is looking 'sharp' says Wenger

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said yesterday that his Dutch striker Robin van Persie is looking "very sharp" and that he hopes he will be back before the end of the season. The 26 year-old has been missing since suffering ankle ligament damage in an international friendly last November.

Wenger is keen not to rush his recovery but said he could be back by the end of April. "He looks very sharp, but we aim at least to wait a month. We sent our fitness coach out to Holland where Robin has been having his rehabilitation. I think he will be back with the club this week."

The Football Association has dismissed Arsenal's appeal against Thomas Vermaelen's red card in Saturday's victory over West Ham. An FA hearing upheld the decision yesterday meaning the Belgium defender will now serve a one-match ban: Saturday's league match at Birmingham City. Fellow centre-backs William Gallas and Johan Djourou are also out.