April 23 2014 Latest news:

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Arsenal’s defenders have been criticised for gifting too many goals to the opposition this season, but there were cheers all round when they paid a visit to the Whittington Hospital to give away Christmas presents instead.

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Gunners skipper Thomas Vermaelen and fellow defenders Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou and André Santos arrived at the Archway hospital in Magdala Avenue with a bounty of presents for sick youngsters.

They brought some festive fun to the children’s ward as they met patients and handed out Arsenal kits, soft toys and board games.

Sheila Docherty, Whittington Hospital play service co-ordinator, who organised the visit, said: “We really appreciate the players taking time out of their training schedule to visit the Whittington. They were very generous with their gifts and the children were absolutely thrilled to spend time with their idols.

“It’s tough for sick children at Christmas knowing they will be spending the festive period in hospital, but Arsenal Football Club is really committed to spreading a little happiness to our youngest patients.”

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