ARSENAL'S appeal against Thomas Vermaelen's red card during the game with West Ham on Saturday has been rejected by the FA.

The Belgian defender was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson for a foul on striker Guillermo Franco, with the referee deeming that the centre-back had prevented the Mexican from a goal-scoring opportunity.

Arsenal appealed the decision but the red card has been upstood and Vermaelen will now miss the Gunners' trip to Birmingham City on Saturday.

The game at St Andrew's represents a potential banana skin for Arsene Wenger's men, as they go in search of their first Premier League title in six seasons.

Arsenal sit two points behind Manchester United and are a point above third-placed Chelsea, although the Blues will play their game in hand against bottom side Portsmouth at Fratton Park tonight.