Arsenal injury news: Santi Cazorla out for the season
Familiar frustration for Gunners fans as player expected to miss two games ends up sidelined for more than six months
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It must feel like Groundhog Day for Arsenal fans as the club's injury jinx returned a week after the Gunners were humiliated in Europe by Bayern Munich and fans came to blows over the future of manager Arsene Wenger.
Midfielder Santi Cazorla, who was expected to return to the Gunners line up next month after picking up an ankle injury in October, has been ruled out for the rest of the season. He may never play for Arsenal again, after he was linked with a move back to Spain earlier in the season.
"The Spaniard plays an essential role linking midfield to attack but has not played since October," says the Daily Mail. "He was expected to return in March before another setback occurred.
"The injury first occurred in Arsenal's Champions League match against Ludogorets, with manager Arsene Wenger optimistic Cazorla would miss no more than a couple of matches."
That prognosis turned out to be optimistic. The player had surgery on his foot in December and will now focus on returning to fitness by the start of the summer.
The news will be "a major source of frustration to Arsenal supporters", says the paper. Cazorla also missed six months of last season, and appears to have inherited the mantle of perpetually crocked playmaker from Jack Wilshere.
Cynical Gunners may also point out that Wilshere has stayed fit since leaving the Emirates.
To make matters even worse, "the news comes in the wake of another midfield blow with Mohamed Elneny expected to miss key upcoming matches against Liverpool and Bayern Munich", reports The Times.
"The Egyptian midfielder suffered an ankle injury during the 2-0 FA Cup victory against Sutton United on Monday and was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at half-time. The absence of Cazorla and Elneny means that Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin are in line to start at Anfield a week on Saturday."
Arsenal injury news: Ramsey and Giroud to miss Chelsea match
After a shock defeat at home to Watford and with a season-defining clash against Chelsea looming, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given his troops a two day break, even though they have only two Premier League fixtures this month.
"Wenger accused his players of complacency and having half an eye on the Chelsea game in the dressing room after the Watford defeat, but despite this lack of focus has not opted to increase their workload or the intensity of training," reports The Times. "His main concern appears to be ensuring his players gain ample rest and recuperation. All the players who appeared against Watford have been given two days of light recovery sessions in the gym and will not touch a ball until tomorrow."
However, the time off will not be enough for two key players, who are now set to miss the showdown at Stamford Bridge.
"Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out of the game after sustaining a calf injury against Watford, while Olivier Giroud is a doubt after taking a knock on an ankle that led to him being substituted," says the paper.
In Ramsey's absence Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will play in central midfield. The 23-year-old harbours ambitions in that position, despite being mainly used as a winger, according to the London Evening Standard, which says that Wenger has little alternative to playing him there.
"The Gunners have few other midfield options with Mohamed Elneny away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Granit Xhaka suspended, Santi Cazorla injured and Jack Wilshere on loan at Bournemouth," says the paper.
Arsenal injury news: Coquelin, Cazorla, Elneny are out for weeks
Arsenal face a midfield injury crisis after Francis Coquelin was ruled out for four weeks with a hamstring problem. Arsene Wenger has also confirmed that Santi Cazorla will not be fit for at least another month, days after Mohamed Elneny flew out to join Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Coquelin limped off during the first half of the game against Bournemouth, which ended 3-3. He is likely to miss the games against Swansea, Burnley and Watford as well as the FA Cup tie with Preston.
But although the fixtures do not appear too daunting the injury news means Wenger "has only two remaining fit central midfielders", notes the Daily Telegraph.
With Coquelin and Cazorla injured, Elneny on international duty and Jack Wilshere on loan at Bournemouth, "Wenger's only two senior specialists in the central midfield positions are Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey", says the paper.
Wenger's main concern will be that the situation has not changed by the time Arsenal face Chelsea in a huge match on 4 February.
The Arsenal boss has also admitted that the Gunners "might have a problem with Lucas Perez" after he hurt his ankle against Bournemouth. But this could open the door for Danny Welbeck to return to first team action.
The England striker has not yet played this season but is close to a return after a knee injury, says the London Evening Standard. However, the paper notes that Welbeck is unlikely to start against Preston.
With injuries mounting, Wenger may be grateful that the cup starts this weekend as he is also likely to be without Mesut Ozil, who has missed the past two games through illness, and Theo Walcott, who has a calf problem. The two players are likely to be available once the league programme resumes.
Arsenal injury news: Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey return
Arsenal have been handed a Christmas boost after striker Danny Welbeck returned to full training after seven months out, and Aaron Ramsey was passed fit for the Gunners' festive fixtures.
However, manager Arsene Wenger said he was being cautious about the returns of the pair given their history with injuries.
"Ramsey has started just two matches this season after injuring his hamstring in the club's season opener against Liverpool and he has suffered several setbacks," says Mail Online. "But the midfielder is in contention to play some part of their Boxing Day fixture against West Bromwich Albion."
Welbeck has been out since May with a "serious knee injury" says ESPN, which notes that he picked up that injury soon after returning from another nine-month absence caused by a problem with his other knee.
"And while Welbeck still needs time to regain match fitness, Wenger agreed that both he and Ramsey will be like new signings for Arsenal," adds ESPN, noting that Wenger has ruled out signing any players in January.
However, there was some bad news for Arsenal fans, with Wenger confirming that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the game against West Brom. However, there is a silver lining with the player expected back in "days rather than weeks", according to the French manager.
The Gunners' other notable absentee at the moment is Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard has an achilles problem and is not expected back until March.
Arsenal injury news: Sanchez 'fit', Bellerin and Cazorla out
After giving the Gunners palpitations by playing for Chile against Uruguay on Tuesday with his thigh heavily strapped after a "low-grade muscle tear", Alexis Sanchez has declared himself fit to face Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime. But there is bad news about defender Hector Bellerin, who will be out for a month with an ankle injury.
Sanchez returned to England this week and was set to be assessed by the Arsenal medical team, who have not seen him since he picked up the problem training with Chile last week.
The injury kept him out of the game against Colombia last week, but despite a warning from Arsene Wenger that playing him against Uruguay could be "suicidal", the winger produced a virtuoso performance, scoring twice in a 3-1 win.
Sanchez came off after 84 minutes and appeared to emerge unscathed from the game, but Thursday will be D-Day for the player, says the Daily Mirror.
"The Gunners are optimistic he will be fit for Saturday's lunchtime trip to Old Trafford. But they will wait until they have performed their own checks on Sanchez and know how his injury has reacted before making a call on his fitness."
There is less positive news on full-back Bellerin, who picked up an ankle injury during a clash with his Spurs opposite number, Danny Rose, during the north London derby. And there are fears that Arsenal's injury woes could be growing.
"The Spaniard was hopeful the problem would resolve itself as he trained with the Spanish Under-21s during the international break, but it has not cleared up and he could now face a month on the sidelines," reports the Daily Mail.
Bellerin will miss Saturday's game against Manchester United as well as the Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, and he could also be forced to miss the game against Manchester City at the Emirates on 18 December if there are problems with his recovery.
It means Carl Jenkinson, who has not played a league match for the Gunners since 2014, is set to replace Bellerin, says Sky Sports.
Another concern is the absence of Santi Cazorla. He "is yet to take part in training a month after suffering a recurrence of his Achilles trouble... [and] Arsenal have failed to win two of their three league games since the Spain midfielder was injured," says Sky.
Arsenal injury news: Alexis Sanchez leave straining with calf tear
Arsenal's November nightmare has yet to materialise, but there may be some furrowed brows at the Emirates after they dropped two points at home against Spurs on Sunday and star striker Alexis Sanchez was injured on international duty with Chile.
The Gunners do not play again until 19 November, when they face Manchester United at Old Trafford. However, they now face "an anxious wait" over Sanchez, reports Sky Sports, who "was forced to the sidelines during a session at Chile's training camp with what appeared to be a calf problem".
The forward "could miss pivotal matches" for the London side, reports The Guardian. After the game against United, Arsenal face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on 23 November.
The Football Federation of Chile said Sanchez had "a low-grade muscle tear" and would remain in Santiago for "treatment and evaluation" ahead of the game against Uruguay next Tuesday. He will definitely miss Thursday's match against Colombia.
The Sun strikes a positive note from the announcement, however, and claims Arsenal's "worst injury fears look to have been eased as it was revealed Alexis Sanchez should be fit to face Manchester United".
Arsenal injury news: Sanchez is fit, but who will replace Cazorla?
Fears that Arsenal's 6-0 Champions League drubbing of Ludogorets could be marred by an injury to Alexis Sanchez have been allayed - but there are concerns over the fitness of another key Gunner ahead of Sunday's game against Middlesbrough.
Sanchez was taken off after 73 minutes on Wednesday, prompting concerns he had picked up an injury, but the Daily Star reports manager Arsene Wenger has soothed fans' fears.
"When asked why he substituted Sanchez, Wenger said: 'I just wanted to give him a breather. He looks alright physically.'" says the paper.
The news is "reassuring", says the Arsenal Station blog.
However, another of Wenger's key lieutenants, Santi Cazorla, could be facing an injury lay-off after he was also substituted on Wednesday.
"Wenger has revealed Santi Cazorla suffered an Achilles tendon injury which forced him to come off," says the Daily Express. "The Spaniard's struggled with the problem during the summer and Wenger admitted he took the 31-year-old off as soon as possible."
But fortune is smiling on the Gunners at the moment and if the Spaniard is ruled out of this weekend's game, Aaron Ramsey could be in position to replace him.
The Welsh midfielder has been out since the first day of the season, but is in line for a comeback and has "resumed full training", reports the London Evening Standard.
"He and Olivier Giroud undertook drills away from the rest of the Arsenal squad in the build-up to Wednesday's Champions League clash," says the paper. "Ramsey has his sights set on returning to the pitch sooner rather than later".
Arsenal injury news: Ramsey and Coquelin close to a return
Arsenal have received a boost with the news that several of their injured stars are on the road to recovery and some could feature against Swansea at the weekend.
Among those close to a comeback is Aaron Ramsey, who has been out of action since the first match of the season, when he suffered a hamstring injury that prompted fierce criticism of manager Arsene Wenger.
The Welshman has "resumed on-field training at Arsenal", reports the Daily Telegraph, "but remains unlikely to return against Swansea City on Saturday." Ramsey is taking a "longer-term approach" to his comeback and will not be rushed back into action.
There is more positive news about Frenchman Francis Coquelin, who damaged a knee in the impressive 3-0 win over Chelsea last month.
"The return of Coquelin is a boost amid initial fears that he might be facing a lengthy lay-off and he will be immediately competing with Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla for a starting place but the ongoing absence of Ramsey remains a concern," says the Telegraph.
Summer signing Lucas Perez could also be available on Saturday, says the Daily Mirror. He missed the win at Burnley before the international break due to a knee injury picked up in training, but is "making good progress and should be ready to face the Swans at the Emirates".