Gunners Gutted By Double Injury Blow
It has been a week of injury worries for Arsenal as star players Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie both suffered fitness setbacks in recent matches.
The injuries have left manager Arsene Wenger desperately short of forward power, as Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is still recovering from a groin injury.
Van Persie injured an ankle during the first half of Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers and had to be taken off after 35 minutes of his first start of the season.
The Dutch striker has been beset by injuries throughout his six-year Gunners career, but particularly in the last year, since damaging ankle ligaments while on international duty last autumn.
The 27-year-old missed five months of the season as a result of both the injury and, allegedly, an initial misdiagnosis by the Dutch team’s medical staff.
He is likely to be out until mid-October and will miss Arsenal’s London derby trips to Tottenham and EPL leaders Chelsea, as well as the Gunners’ first two UEFA Champions League matches, at home to Portuguese side SC Braga and away to Belgrade’s FC Partizan.
International duty also did for Walcott this week. The 21-year-old took a clip on the ankle from Swiss defender Yves Oehri immediately before England’s opening goal in their 3-1 Euro 2012 success in Basel.
Walcott will be out for a similar period to Van Persie. Wenger said on Thursday: “I thought (his absence) would be three or four days or four to six weeks – unfortunately it will be four to six weeks.”
Walcott had made a dynamic start to the EPL season, including an impressive opening goal at Ewood Park, which set up Arsenal’s victory.
Mame Diouf soon equalised for Rovers. But Andrei Arshavin’s second half strike clinched victory for the Gunners in a fixture that has often been difficult in the past.
There was better news on the injury front for Wenger with a sooner than expected return for French midfielder Samir Nasri.
The 23-year-old was expected to be out for at least a month after injuring his knee during Arsenal’s opening day 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
However, the club announced this week that Nasri “will return to training in the next few days” to bolster Arsenal’s depleted resources.
The Gunners were unable to hit their important transfer targets prior to the closing of the summer transfer window, including prime target Mark Schwarzer, Fulham’s highly-rated Australian international goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, two defenders have left the Emirates. Out-of-contract French left-back Mikael Silvestre has joined Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on a two-year deal.
And 20-year-old compatriot Armand Traore has been loaned to Serie A giants Juventus for the season. Traore only made nine EPL appearances for the Gunners last term.
The Carling Cup draw has given another departed French defender the chance to come back and haunt his former colleagues.
Arsenal have been drawn away to bitter North London rivals Tottenham, who signed former Gunners captain William Gallas last month. The game will take place on September 21st.
Tags: Arsenal, Theo Walcott, Robin Van Persie, Arsene Wenger, UEFA Champions League, EPL, Samir Nasri, Gunners