'Stupid' tackle puts Perez out for weeks

LONDON • Arsene Wenger says Lucas Perez will be out of action for up to eight weeks, after the Arsenal striker was targeted by a "stupid" challenge from Reading's Danzell Gravenberch.

The Arsenal manager is furious that the Dutchman clattered Perez in the London football club's 2-0 League Cup victory at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

The Spanish forward will now miss a significant portion of Arsenal's campaign with an ankle problem and Wenger is frustrated that Gravenberch avoided punishment for the challenge.

Wenger likened the Reading defender's tackle to the incident that led to a red card for Arsenal's Granit Xhaka in a 3-2 win over Swansea earlier this month.

"It's very frustrating, of course he (Perez) is absolutely gutted. It's an injury coming from nowhere, and a stupid one, because it was a deliberate kick," he said yesterday.

"It's a similar tackle to Xhaka, but there was no red card. But the red card would not have helped Perez. What is important is that he's out for six to eight weeks."

There was better news for Wenger regarding the fitness of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey, who will both be available for Arsenal's Premier League trip to bottom-team Sunderland today.

Wenger's side will head to the Stadium of Light level on points with Manchester City and Liverpool, losing just once all season.

Sunderland have a habit of conceding late goals this season, but the Frenchman will know that an early strike by Arsenal could prove decisive because of the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light.

A section of their supporters are already calling for David Moyes' brief reign to be terminated and patience is certainly wearing thin among others who are dismayed by yet another relegation struggle.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline ''Stupid' tackle puts Perez out for weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe