English Premiership

Arsenal injuries worry Wenger

2014-09-28 08:05
Arsene Wenger (AFP)

London - Arsene Wenger has said his Arsenal side are in the middle of an injury crisis ahead of their Champions League group game with Galatasaray and the meeting with Premier League leaders Chelsea that follows soon after.

On Saturday, the Frenchman saw the Gunners come back from a goal scored against the run of play by Nacer Chadli to share a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain firing in Arsenal's equaliser.

But that point came at a cost as both Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey were forced off before half-time with injuries and will play no part in either of the next two fixtures. Arteta sustained a calf injury, while Ramsey suffered a hamstring problem.

That has limited Arsenal manager Wenger's choices in midfield, especially as Jack Wilshere was also hurt in the derby, suffering an ankle injury.

The England international was substituted just after the hour mark and is a doubt for the Galatasaray game at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

"There is no chance," Wenger said when asked about Arteta and Ramsey's prospects of being involved in Sunday's trip to Chelsea, who are currently six points ahead of his team.

"If it is a muscular problem I don't see how they can be fit in five or six days time," he added.

"I don't know how long they'll be out but they will be out until next week. Suddenly we are short because if we lost three players today and let's not forgot that we already have two out long-term (Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy) plus (Theo) Walcott, that's six. (Abou) Diaby is not ready so it starts to become a worry."

Ramsey and Wilshere have both been troubled by injuries in the past but Wenger insisted he was at a loss to explain the latest setbacks.

"Wilshere, if you look at the incident again, has been tackled and turned his ankle over," he said.

"Ramsey is a concern that he did his hamstring. I don't understand because he had a good rest this week, I didn't play him (in the League Cup) against Southampton on Tuesday night. It's a surprise because he's usually a resistant boy."

Wenger also accused Tottenham of time-wasting, with defender Danny Rose shown a yellow card for taking too long to resume play following a free-kick award.

"They took every second they could again, to make the game last as little as possible," an exasperated Wenger said. "I would like to see the referee deal with that in the proper way for once."

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino was keen to heap praise on his players in his first north London derby rather than engage in a war of words with Wenger on that particular subject.

"It is a good point," he said. "Arsenal managed the ball and the territory and possession but we were compact in our defensive line and we were able to get the ball forward quickly to surprise Arsenal.

"Today we competed on the pitch. We have been in charge for three months and we have travelled far. We needed to compete with one of the best teams in the world. We are starting to deliver our philosophy."

Tottenham are also in European action in the next few days, hosting Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday before taking on Southampton, the club former Argentina defender Pochettino left in pre-season to take over at White Hart Lane.

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