Wenger's injury woes get worse: Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby ruled out for nine months

France international tears cruciate ligament in his left knee

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has been dealt a major blow after Abou Diaby was ruled out for nine months. The midfielder injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and scans have revealed that he has torn the anterior cruciate ligament, meaning he needs surgery and will be sidelined for the rest of the year.

Wenger had been resisting the temptation to rush Jack Wilshere back into action, despite a mounting shortage of midfielders at the club.

But the Diaby set-back leaves Arsenal with just Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin available for the central midfield berths.

Wilshere – who made his comeback in October after 17 months out injured – has not played since sustaining a badly bruised ankle in the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on 3 March and missed England's most recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Despite his absence, Arsenal have beaten Bayern Munich and Swansea City away in their only two fixtures since then. They have also moved to within four points of their north- London rivals Tottenham with a game in hand as they chase fourth place and Champions League qualification for a 16th successive season.

Yet with Diaby now sidelined after having played alongside Arteta against Swansea a fortnight ago, and Theo Walcott absent for tomorrow's meeting with Reading at the Emirates after picking up an injury on England duty, Wenger is taking a cautious approach with Wilshere due to concerns over his long-term future.

"We deferred his rehab a little bit by one week. We gave him one more week rest because it was wise medically to do it," Wenger said. "It was an inflammation of his bone and we had such history with him [that] we are a bit more cautious than we would be with you or with me.

"He will start his first run outside on Monday and six days after that will be too short. He's out for four weeks on Monday. He works very hard inside in the gym but it's not the same. He knows he has to take care of his future. Because he is a very young player, I think he accepts it."

Walcott is expected to be in contention for next week's visit to face West Bromwich Albion after pulling out of the England squad with a groin injury. He has failed to score in his last five appearances but Wenger was adamant that signing a new three and half year contract worth £100,000 a week in January has had nothing to do with his dip in form.

"I don't believe that. If he didn't play well and had not signed a contract, then people would say the opposite," he said. "I don't think that is linked especially with the fact that he has signed a contract or not. Because you can say as well he is more secure, he can express himself.

"I don't see any difference in attitude in training. He is a guy who loves football, who stays after training, works on his finishing. He was just a bit less decisive. He needs that fraction of a second to make the difference. He needs his pace."

Suggested Topics
News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?