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Arsene Wenger's first-choice shot-stopper is up to three weeks away from a return, while his understudy has been left devastated after rupturing his ankle ligaments in training

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal's goalkeeper crisis deepened on Wednesday after Lukasz Fabianski was ruled out for three months with ruptured ankle ligaments, while Wojciech Szczesny suffered a setback in his return from an ankle injury.

Goal.com has learned that Fabianski suffered the injury in training on Tuesday, just as he was closing in on a first-team comeback.

Szczesny has been wearing a protective boot for around 10 days as he steps up his recovery from the ankle injury which has kept him out for month, but Goal.com understands that he is still two to three weeks away from a return to training.

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It deepens Arsenal’s keeper injury crisis ahead of a glut of fixtures, beginning with Saturday’s Premier League trip to Norwich and next Wednesday’s crucial Champions League match against Schalke.

Fabianski has not played for Arsenal since their FA Cup elimination at the hands of Sunderland in February after struggling with shoulder injuries.

However, he remains Wenger’s second-choice keeper and, after working his way back to fitness, was set to be named in the squad for the meeting with the Canaries.

The latest setback for the luckless 27-year-old means that Vito Mannone, who began the season third in the pecking order, will continue in goal with Argentinian Damien Martinez and youngster James Shea serving as back-up.

Mannone has played in seven of Arsenal’s 10 matches this season, while Szczesny and Martinez have stood between the sticks in two and one games respectively.

Wenger may now be forced to reinforce his goalkeeping resources in the January window by adding some experienced back-up.

Fabianski, who has 20 caps for his country, joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw five years ago but has struggled with injury and made only 62 first-team appearances.

After losing his No.1 status to compatriot Szczesny at the end of the 2011-12 season following an injury, he has failed to win it back and said he wanted to quit Emirates Stadium after figuring in just six matches last season.

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