Arsene Wenger has inadvertently ruled Francis Coquelin out for the season after confirming the midfielder is suffering from a “short-term” knee problem.
The French midfielder was substituted at half-time in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after struggling with a knee injury, with Wenger admitting he ‘didn’t know’ how long Coquelin would be out for.
While the 24-year-old has been ruled out of a midweek Capital One Cup third round clash with Tottenham that he would surely not have featured in anyway, Wenger’s quotes on his Coq will evoke harrowing memories for Arsenal fans.
“Francis Coquelin will be out and we have no major problems for anybody else. It should be a similar squad,” Wenger told the club’s official website.
“His knee is swollen and he is being assessed but we hope it is just a short-term problem,” added Wenger, who initially ruled striker Danny Welbeck out for “weeks” back in August before it was revealed the Englishman would be out until closer to the new year.
After Wenger’s infuriating refusal to sign a striker was worsened with injury to Welbeck, one must fear that the same fate has befallen his decision not to sign at least a back-up for Coquelin this season.
Wenger did confirm that defender Per Mertesacker would be available for the north London derby cup tie, however.
“I want to keep the squad together,” he said.
“We go game by game so I will make changes, for sure. How many [youngsters will play]? I’ve not decided yet. It will be quite an experienced squad with one or two younger players.”