After successive defeats in the past seven days, the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, has been dealt a further blow by injury setbacks to influential Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Though no surgery is required on his injured knee, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for up to eight weeks. While that was troubling enough, the loss of Cazorla for an indefinite period is potentially more damaging for Wenger as he attempts to rally his Arsenal side for the critical matches at home to Swansea tonight and at Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime.
Cazorla damaged a hamstring as he upped his recovery from the knee injury suffered at Norwich in November, with no date set for his return. “Santi is not doing too well, he has some Achilles problems. His knee is doing well but his Achilles has inflamed a little bit and we have to put him off impact,” Wenger said yesterday. “We have to see how he responds. He had always a little tendinitis on his Achilles and we have to see how he responds.”
There was better news for Wenger, and England, with the expected return to squad training this week of Jack Wilshere. Wenger said the midfielder should begin running again within days, with a view to returning to action by the end of the month. “Jack is doing quite well but has still not been outside yet. Running, I think, starts again this week,” he said.
Wenger dismissed the criticisms made of him and his team following two defeats, and promised Arsenal would rally over the remaining 11 Premier League matches. “We gave a lot against Barcelona and the disappointing outcome certainly had an impact on our belief against Manchester United,” he said. “We want to focus on the positives and recover from it. We want to give our best until the end of the season.”
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