Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praises two-goal hero Danny Welbeck and reveals Henrikh Mkhitaryan ‘could still play before end of season’

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal (pic Tim Goode/PA)

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal (pic Tim Goode/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal Wenger has revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be miss at least three games and possibly more, but says there is a chance for the Armenian Player of the Year to return before the end of the season. He also took the time to praise two goal hero Danny Welbeck after clinching three points against Mark Hughes Southampton.

Wenger hailed the former Manchester United striker for his brace that put paid to battling Southampton’s efforts to grab at least a point in North London.

Wenger had previously hinted the Longsight-born forward has had to endure mental as well as physical challenges as he looked to recover from a serious knee injury which saw him miss nearly 18 months of his career.

The Frenchman said: “Danny has been looking sharper. He is coming back to his best. I’m happy and pleased for him. He deserves everything he gets.

“He also saved some great headers on the near post today.”

Wenger also talked about another former United player, Mkhitaryan, who has been in good form since arriving at the Emirates in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez in January.

The forward picked up a knee ligament injury during the match with CSKA Moscow at the Emirates on Thursday and the long-serving Frenchman, speaking after his side’s 3-2 victory over Southampton on Sunday afternoon, said: “Mkhitaryan has a medial knee ligament damage.

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“He will not be available for Thursday [Moscow], or Newcastle or the week after [against West Ham at the Emirates].

“He could still play at the end of the season.”

A brace from Danny Welbeck sandwiched by a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finish saw the Gunners always in control despite Shane Long and Charlie Austin levelling.

Saints’ Jack Stephens was sent off late in the game for indiscipline following a spat with Jack Wilshere. Mohamed Elneny was also sent off, for raising his hands to Cedric in the 93rd minute.

Wenger said he would review Elneny’s action before deciding whether to appeal on Monday.

However the manager wanted to highlight his side’s attacking prowess and was full of praise for his side.

He said: “We have an offensive team. That means as well the defenders are not in the best possible conditions to defend.

“Thursday night physically it was at a high level. Players like [Hector] Bellerin, [Shkodran] Mustafi looked a bit heavy legged.

“I’m very proud. We have gone through a difficult patch.

“To recover from that you need solidarity which they have shown.”