Nasri setback for Arsenal
Arsene Wenger was left counting the cost of a selection gamble which backfired in Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round win over Huddersfield after Samir Nasri suffered a hamstring injury which looks to have ruled the French playmaker out of the Champions League showdown with Barcelona.
The Gunners made sweeping changes from the side which had booked a place at Wembley with their midweek Carling Cup semi-final second leg win over Ipswich for the visit of the npower League One side.
However, because of concerns over the fitness of Tomas Rosicky, who has been troubled by a virus, Wenger elected to put Nasri in the starting XI.
It had all been going to plan when Nicklas Bendtner's angled shot deflected off Terriers skipper Peter Clarke to put the Gunners ahead on 22 minutes.
However, Nasri then limped off with a hamstring problem after half an hour as he chased a long kick from Manuel Almunia.
The full extent of the injury is expected to be confirmed by scans later today, but Wenger is pessimistic about the 23-year-old's chances of facing Barcelona in the first leg of their last 16 European tie at Emirates Stadium on February 16.
"Usually it is three weeks, we have to see if it is a Grade One [strain] because that can be two [weeks]," Wenger said.
"Put three weeks to Sunday's game and you will know [if he misses the Barcelona game]. I think yes."
Wenger continued: "It is a big blow, how big I do not know because the results in the future will tell.
"I have regrets now, yes, because the plan was first to play Tomas Rosicky but he was still too weak because he was sick.
"So I took the gamble on Nasri and it backfired - but it could have happened as well if he comes on.
"We are at the stage of the season where we play so many games that to lose bodies is very difficult for us."
Sebastien Squillaci will now miss tomorrow's Barclays Premier League game against Everton through suspension after he was shown a red card by referee Mark Clattenburg for blocking Jack Hunt's surging run just before half-time.
Alan Lee headed a deserved equaliser for the Terriers, but captain Cesc Fabregas came off the bench and netted a late penalty after Jamie McCombe was adjudged to have pushed Bendtner over which secured safe passage into the last 16, where the Gunners will now face another League One side after being drawn away at Leyton Orient.
Arsenal had also struggled to get past Leeds here in the third round, when Fabregas also netted a late spot-kick to earn a replay, which the Gunners went on to win comfortably.
"It was tough, tough, tough and had all the ingredients of a typical cup tie," said Wenger, who felt the red card for Squillaci, just back from a hamstring injury, was "harsh".
"We played a bit below par, and Huddersfield are a good team, they were efficient, dangerous on set-pieces and crosses.
"But we play so many games at the moment that of course sometimes we are not as sharp as you want to be."
Terriers boss Lee Clark revealed pride at his team's efforts and challenged them to now go on and secure promotion to the Championship.
"Our goal will now be to go and get promoted and take this performance into the league," he said.
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