Cazorla possibly out for four months

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that Santi Cazorla could be out until March after suffering knee ligament damage in last weekend's Premier League draw at Norwich.

Alexis Sanchez is also set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury, although the timeframe for his return remains unclear.

"It's possible, yes," Wenger told a press conference yesterday when asked if Cazorla could be out of action until March as had been widely reported. "Until we have seen the specialist, I have no news."

The Frenchman has come under criticism for the club's injury crisis, with nine players sidelined but he insisted he had no problem taking the blame for it.

He will at least be boosted by the possible returns of Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott for today's Premier League clash against Sunderland at the Emirates.

Arsenal have not won in the league since Oct 31 when they beat Swansea 3-0.

Sunderland, in contrast, are gaining momentum under new manager Sam Allardyce, winning their last two games against Crystal Palace and Stoke without conceding.

"We will expect a tough game," Wenger said. "Tomorrow, we face a team who is well organised and has a strong defensive system."

Allardyce, however, has not beaten Arsenal since May 2010 and lost his previous eight matches against Wenger.

He also has a well-documented feud with the Frenchman, which was inspired largely by Wenger's accusation of attempted gamesmanship. But Allardyce was keen to put an end to the bad blood between them.

"It was about my life in the early years. I'm completely different now," he said.

"I had some good fun with Arsene in the early years. I got under his skin. Our meetings have been much more amicable since, on and off the field.

"I've always had a huge amount of respect for him. Winding up was just a procedure we used a long time ago but I'm not sure it makes a difference to players on the field."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'Cazorla possibly out for four months'. Subscribe