London - Arsenal's Mathieu Debuchy is "destroyed" and "embarrassed" after his injury-plagued first season at the London club suffered another setback, his manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.
The France fullback, who has started less than half Arsenal's Premier League games since joining from Newcastle United, has been ruled out until April after shoulder surgery following last Sunday's victory over Stoke City.
"He is destroyed," Wenger told reporters. "He is such a keen player, so professional and so willing. "It is his first year here and of course he is embarrassed. But it is not his fault."
Wenger expressed his frustration that Debuchy's injury was caused by an unnecessary shove into the advertising hoardings by Stoke's Marko Arnautovic.
"The push was not needed," the manager added.
"Arnautovic did not have a chance to get the ball - I don't think it was malicious but he had no chance to get the ball so I'm saying it was not needed.
"It's not obvious what his intention was, I don't think he wanted to hurt him."
Wenger delivered brighter news for fans with a better prognosis for injured midfielder Mikel Arteta, who could be sidelined for six weeks rather than three months as previously suggested.
He also confirmed that Polish defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik was due to undergo a medical and a fee had been agreed with his club Legia Warsaw.
Arsenal visit champions Manchester City on Sunday with their top-four credentials under scrutiny.
A mixed start to the season has ended realistic hopes of claiming the title and left them outside the Champions League qualification spots after 21 games.
Defeat on Sunday would leave Wenger again facing questions about his stewardship of the club among an increasingly dissatisfied fanbase.
A fillip for those disgruntled supporters, however, has been the form of forward Alexis Sanchez, whose 12 league goals have kept them in the hunt for a top-four spot.
Sanchez was hailed by City manager and fellow Chilean Manuel Pellegrini this week as the best player in England at the moment, above his own leading light Sergio Aguero.
"It's a great compliment because Pellegrini knows football well," Wenger said.
"I agree with him - at the moment Sanchez is one of the top performers in the league."