Arsenal can cope without Van Persie says Wenger

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal have the strength to cope without injured frontman Robin van Persie.

The Dutch striker had been in fine form before the international break, with his eight goals and countless assists helping the Gunners go on an unbeaten 13-match run through all competitions which has left them second in the Barclays Premier League table.

However, Wenger must now do without the skilful Holland forward - who travelled to Serbia for some radical treatment which involved massage with fluid from a horse placenta - for at least six weeks, with probably early January a more likely return date.

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is still sidelined by a groin problem which needed surgery and with England forward Theo Walcott (knee) short of full match fitness, Croatia marksman Eduardo - who this week agreed a new long-term deal - looks set to take Van Persie's place at the head of the Arsenal attack at Sunderland tomorrow.

Wenger believes the Gunners have the quality to pull through.

"Of course it is a disappointment and something we did not want, but I feel we have enough strength to compensate for his absence for a while," the Arsenal manager said.

"We knew when Robin came out with this injury, that he would be out for a long time, but frankly I feared it would be more because the first news was very, very bad. So it was a relief that he would be out for six weeks.

"It will also allow him to be fresh for when he comes back."

Nearly all the Gunners squad have been away around the globe during the last fortnight, which ended in World Cup joy for William Gallas as his controversial goal put pay to the Republic of Ireland in Paris but midfielder Andrey Arshavin was left disappointed as Russia failed to make it through the play-offs.

The prognosis on the foot injury to England Under-21 defender Kieran Gibbs is, meanwhile, also now more positive.

"Our medical staff called me saying he was in hospital in Lithuania with a suspected broken metatarsal. Later on it, was much better news," said Wenger.

"He will still be out for Sunderland, but maybe we could have him back for Standard Liege on Tuesday."

Gibbs had been pencilled in to replace Gael Clichy (back) on the left side of defence, but that role is now likely to be filled by veteran Mikael Silvestre.

Wenger, though, has been boosted by the availability of midfielder Denilson, the young Brazilian having been out of action since mid-September with a back problem.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, Mexican striker Carlos Vela and defender Armand Traore have also all left a busy treatment room during the international break.

However, England Under-21 midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) remains unavailable and Abou Diaby, who returned early from the France camp, is still troubled by a calf problem.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen