Arsenal have received mixed injury news ahead of next Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second-leg trip to Barcelona.
The Gunners take a 2-1 lead to Camp Nou and could regain the services of captain Cesc Fabregas after recovery from a hamstring injury. Countering that good news, however, is that Robin van Persie has definitely been ruled out.
While Arsenal’s immediate attentions are with Wednesday’s fifth-round FA Cup replay against Leyton Orient at the Emirates, manager Arsene Wenger must plan to face Barcelona without the services of the Dutch striker.
Van Persie was injured scoring Arsenal’s equaliser in Sunday’s 2-1 Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham, with the club revealing on Tuesday that he would miss at least three weeks.
“Unfortunately, we had bad news on the scan and he will be out for the next three weeks for sure,” said Wenger, who is already without fellow forward Theo Walcott.
“It could be longer. The shortest delay we can imagine is three weeks (so) he is definitely out for Barcelona.”
But the loss could be offset with the return of talismanic captain Fabregas, who is fighting to recover from a hamstring injury picked up in the 1-0 win over Stoke in the English Premier League last Wednesday.
“Cesc is looking possible (for Barcelona),” Wenger said.
“He is making quick and good progress. It is possible.”
Versatile midfielder Alex Song was also injured in the loss to Birmingham and will miss Leyton Orient’s visit, but should be fit for the trip to Barcelona.
Defender Laurent Koscielny will be rested for the Orient game due to a minor hamstring complaint, while Manuel Almunia will likely start in goal ahead of Wojciech Szczesny and Abou Diaby is pushing for a start.