Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla will miss the Champions League visit of Paris Saint-Germain and is still two weeks away from returning from a long-running Achilles tendon injury. The Spain international has missed the last six games with the problem at the back of his foot.
There is better news for forward Lucas Perez, however, who is ahead of schedule in his recovery from an ankle injury that has kept him out since Octobers English Football League Cup win over Reading. The former Villarreal striker was not expected to return until deep into December. However he has now resumed training, albeit away from the first team squad.
Despite a more specific timeline emerging over a potential return for Cazorla and Perez, neither player is in contention to face PSG on Wednesday (23 November). Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Per Mertesacker also remain out, but manager Arsene Wenger can at least welcome back two injury victims in time for the busy festive period.
Well basically everyone recovered from Saturday, Wenger told reporters. Weve left Walcott in and Ramsey in on recovery but they should be alright for tomorrow. [Perez] is back training already but not with the squad. He is ahead of schedule. At the moment Ive given up a little bit. I dont know how far Santi is. He looks to me like he is making progress but he is still not in full-time training. It is very difficult to set targets.
Its not a big injury that will harm his future but it is an inflammation at the back of his achilles and it is always very difficult on inflammations to set a time. My gut feeling is that it will be short now, two weeks but when the player comes back to full training it still takes two weeks to be ready to play again.
One player who does remain available despite a series of fitness concerns is Alexis Sanchez, who played the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Manchester United after having suffered from a thigh tear. Wenger later admitted he played Sanchez knowing he was injured, however the French coach has insisted he would never go against advice from his medical team.
He recovered completely, Wenger claimed. He had a bandage before the game because he had a little bit of tightness in his hamstring. It was checked before the game. I follow the instructions of the medical staff and the player and after I make my decision I stick with it; if I think he is capable of playing and he thinks he is capable of playing,
I never in my whole life forced any player to play. I never demanded anyone to reject to play. If the player says he is 100% after I make my decision. Suggestions we push him to play when he is not fit are completely wrong.