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Arsenal's Vieira ruled out of Chelsea crunch
Updated: 2004-11-30 09:15

Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira will miss the champions' crunch game against Premiership leaders Chelsea next month through suspension.

Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira, seen here 16 November 2004, urged Arsenal to overcome the November blues in the Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven where defeat would make life difficult for the depleted Premiership champions. [AFP]

Vieira collected his fifth yellow card in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and will receive an automatic one-match ban FA to rule him out of the Highbury match with Chelsea on December 12.

The Frenchman's suspension, the latest blow to be dealt Arsene Wenger's faltering side, will take effect after this weekend's home game against Birmingham City.

Vieira's absence for such a telling game will be an even bigger setback as fellow central midfielders Edu and Gilberto of Brazil will both miss it through injury.

Only Spaniard Francesc Fabregas, 17, and 20-year-old French newcomer Mathieu Flamini are left to face a likely battle with Chelsea's Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard.

Arsenal's slump in form has left them second in the table, five points behind Chelsea, and with only six points to show for their last six league games.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's personal hearing with the Football Association to answer a charge of improper conduct will be held on December 16.

Wenger has denied the charge, which was brought after his comments about Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy in an interview following Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford on October 24.

The Arsenal manager was particularly incensed by the Dutchman's knee-high challenge on Ashley Cole, which subsequently resulted in the striker being banned for three matches.

Wenger had said in a BBC TV interview: 'We know how Ruud van Nistelrooy behaves. He can only cheat people - we know him very well.'

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