Santi out till Christ­mas

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY JACK PITT-BROOKE

SANTI CA­ZORLA is un­likely to play again be­fore Christ­mas as he has to wait to re­cover from his Achilles in­flam­ma­tion.

Arsene Wenger con­firmed at his press con­fer­ence that he did not know when Ca­zorla would re­turn to the first team, and that it was dif­fi­cult to set time-lines on that type of in­jury.

The Span­ish mid­fielder has not played for Arse­nal for one month, since the de­feat of Lu­do­gorets on 19 Oc­to­ber, and Wenger can­not see him play­ing again for at least an­other month.

The most op­ti­mistic sce­nario is that he will re­turn to train­ing in two weeks’ time, but how­ever long it takes, he will need an­other two weeks of train­ing be­fore he can play. That would take Ca­zorla up un­til Christ­mas, al­though he is at risk of need­ing more time than that.

“I’ve given a bit up on [pre­dict­ing Ca­zorla’s re­turn date], I don’t know how far he is,” said a down­beat Wenger on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“He looks like he’s mak­ing progress, but as long as the player is not in full-time train­ing with the squad it’s dif­fi­cult to set tar­gets.”

Wenger said that Ca­zorla’s long-term fu­ture would not be af­fected by the in­jury, but said that he may not re­turn to train­ing un­til mid-De­cem­ber, which would mean he may not be ready to play un­til into the Christ­mas fix­tures.

“It’s not a big in­jury that will harm his fu­ture, but it’s an in­flam­ma­tion at the back of his Achil- les,”

Wenger ex­plained. “It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult with in­flam­ma­tions to give a set time. My gut sign­ing is it will be short, two weeks. But when a player comes back to full train­ing it still takes two weeks for a player to be ready to play again.”

That would rule Ca­zorla out of three cru­cial Premier League away games, at the London Sta­dium ( 3 Dem­cem­ber), at Good­i­son Park (13 De­cem­ber) and at the Eti­had Sta­dium (18 De­cem­ber).

Arse­nal’s Christ­mas games are gen­tler, against West Bromwich Al­bion, Crys­tal Palace and Bournemouth, be­fore their FA Cup third round tie.

Welsh mid­fielder Aaron Ram­sey also missed train­ing on Tues­day as he man­ages a bro­ken toe.

Wenger an­grily in­sisted that he did not force Alexis Sanchez to play at Old Traf­ford on Satur­day af­ter­noon, less than 48 hours af­ter he landed back in London af­ter play­ing for Chile dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional break.

Sanchez played through a tight ham­string but in­sisted that he was ready to play, and Wenger force­fully de­nied he had put pres­sure on the player to play.

“He was checked be­fore the game, I fol­lowed the in­struc­tions of the med­i­cal staff and the player,” Wenger said.

“I have never forced any­one to play in my life. I’ve never de­manded any­one should be in­jected to play. If a player is 100%, I make a de­ci­sion. But the sug­ges­tions I have forced him to play are wrong, com­pletely wrong.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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