Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen faces missing the Premier League kickoff.

The Daily Mail says Vermaelen's hopes of forcing his way back into Arsene Wenger's starting XI are being scuppered by a chronic back problem.

The Belgium international is set to miss the start of the new season after the aggravating the injury whilst on international duty in May.

Vermaelen, who is also carrying a slight thigh problem, has returned to the club's London Colney HQ for pre-season but has not participated in full training.

He is receiving treatment on the injury and hopes to resume light training in the next few days.