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Premier League

Wenger laments international injuries

Arsene Wenger is keeping his fingers crossed the international schedule will not have robbed Arsenal of more key men after Russia playmaker Andrey Arshavin was ruled out for three matches.

The midfielder aggravated a groin problem playing against Wales on Wednesday night, which left the Gunners boss less than impressed having withdrawn him as a precaution during the last Barclays Premier League game at Manchester United.

Captain Cesc Fabregas, though, looks to have recovered from a hamstring problem as he played for Spain and so could come back into contention.

"We have to wait a bit to see what damage has been done by the international games, but we have lost Arshavin," Wenger said.

"We are upset because Arshavin should not have played against Wales. He was not in a condition where he could afford to play 90 minutes.

"We took him off against Manchester United because he was injured already at half-time.

"He will be out for Saturday, Wednesday and certainly next Saturday against Wigan."

Wenger lamented: "You can say a lot about it, but it does not do a lot."

Winger Tomas Rosicky made his comeback for the Czech Republic, but may be short of match fitness to feature at Manchester City tomorrow, where Arsenal will face former players Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure, both sold in the summer.

Theo Walcott, though, remains in recovery from a back problem, although could be included in the plans for next week's Champions League group opener at Standard Liege.

"Theo is rid of the injury now," said Wenger. "What is important now is to get him competitive again.

"He has not had any normal training sessions with the team, but I hope that will happen soon. He should be available next week."

Defender Johan Djourou, however, is set to miss the best part of the whole season after undergoing surgery on his knee.

Wenger has, meanwhile, backed Eduardo to beat the boo-boys, but accepted the striker faced more injustice from referees in the penalty area.

The Croatia marksman is facing a two-match European ban, which Arsenal are appealing, after UEFA ruled the Brazil-born forward had "deceived the referee" when he was awarded a controversial spot-kick during the Champions League qualifier against Celtic.

Eduardo was jeered by sections of the Wembley crowd during Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier, when England secured a place in South Africa with a resounding 5-1 victory - but also had what looked a strong penalty claim waved away when he was bundled over by Glen Johnson.

Wenger said: "Any situation you face as a top-level player you have to deal with, and you can only do that by being mentally strong.

"The situation has been created by the media impact of his case, but that is not the worst.

"The worst thing is that now he is not given penalties when they are penalties. That is much worse.

"The one against England was a penalty."

Wenger, however, maintained: "I do not believe it will affect his game.

"He is a player who has gone through much more difficult things than that.

"This is a minor event compared to what he has gone through before."