LONDON (Reuters) – Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla could be out until March although manager Arsene Wenger was reluctant to commit to a time frame for the injured midfielder until he hears from a specialist.
Cazorla hurt his knee in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Sunday, but stayed on the pitch as Wenger had already used up his substitutions, with the Frenchman saying the Spaniard had ended the game “on one leg”.
“It’s possible, yes,” Wenger told reporters on Friday 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.”
Forward Alexis Sanchez was also injured against Norwich, but Wenger denied that the injury could have been prevented.
“Sanchez is a hamstring but I don’t know how long it will take, because usually he’s a quick one to recover,” Wenger said.
“Sanchez had four weeks holiday. He was rested in some games. He had all the medical science (saying it was okay for him) to play before the game. We had five days between Dinamo and Norwich.
“If you want to blame me with the injuries, I have no problem with it.”
Arsenal host Sunderland on Saturday and Wenger touched on the defensive organisation of their opponents, who have won their last two games under new manager Sam Allardyce without conceding a goal to climb clear of the relegation zone.
“We will expect a tough game,” Wenger said.
“Tomorrow we face a team who is well organised, has a strong defensive system, has confidence in their system as well.”
Arsenal have suffered a dip in the league and failing to win in their past three game has seen them slip to fourth in the table.
“We are still only two off the top. The whole pack is tight and compact. We are in there,” Wenger said.
“Mathematically lots of teams can win it, realistically five or six.”
Defender Laurent Koscielny is set to return against Sunderland, despite being withdrawn early in the game against Norwich, while striker Theo Walcott faces a late fitness test.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Ed Osmond)