Arsenal star’s comeback delayed by fresh injury blow

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla - Credit: Archant

Influential midfielder Santi Cazorla could miss much of Arsenal’s title run-in after suffering a setback in his recovery from knee surgery.

Cazorla, who has been out of action since he tore knee ligaments in the Gunners’ 1-1 draw at Norwich three months ago, had been pencilled in to return over the next few weeks.

However, the Spaniard’s comeback has now been delayed due to an inflamed Achilles tendon, while team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be out until the end of April.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed that Oxlade-Chamberlain would not be needing surgery on the knee injury he sustained during the recent Champions League tie against Barcelona.

Nevertheless, the England international will be absent for six to eight weeks and Jack Wilshere – who has missed the entire season so far through injury – is also unlikely to be available until April.

“We feared surgery at some stage [for Oxlade-Chamberlain] before we saw the MRI,” Wenger admitted. “In the end we got, on that front, positive news.

“Santi is not doing too well – he has some Achilles problems. His knee is doing well, but his Achilles is inflamed a little bit and we have to put him off impact.

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“He has always had a little tendonitis on his Achilles. We have to see how he responds.

“Jack is doing quite well but he’s still not been outside yet. I think he’ll start running again later this week.”

Arsenal host Swansea on Wednesday night before making the short trip to White Hart Lane for Saturday’s crucial north London derby, with Tottenham currently holding the upper hand as the pair challenge for the Premier League crown.

The Frenchman urged Gunners fans to keep faith with their team despite recent setbacks and cited Arsenal’s strong finishes in previous years as grounds for optimism over the coming weeks.

Wenger added: “I think we have been consistently strong in the final part of the season.

“We did fight with Tottenham many times and won. It’s down to us – we influence our future ourselves.

“I believe we need our fans to be behind the team – it’s important we have that. Opinions are opinions, like the weather forecast, and I know that opinions change.”

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