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
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices