Arsene Wenger fumes at the Spain international's mid-week trip to Panama for an international friendly and would have preferred to see the playmaker restedArsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he is facing a potential injury crisis ahead of the north London derby with Tottenham, indicating that the timing of international friendlies is not helpful.
The Gunners play host to their bitter rivals in the early kick-off on Saturday, with the Frenchman in need of a win after a dip in form that has seen them draw to Fulham and lose to Norwich and Manchester United in their last four league games.
As revealed by Goal.com on Thursday, Wojciech Szczesny and a number of others are nearing a return, with the former Monaco manager now indicating a host of names will face late tests.
The Emirates outfit are also sweating on the fitness of a number of key men, including Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud, while he admitted the problems, mixed with other longer-term injuries, are giving him a headache.
The 63-year-old told reporters: "Apart from long-term injuries I get a bit confused because we have so many players who come back with injuries or small injuries. We need to see how they are today.
"Szczesny, [Bacary] Sagna, Walcott, [Alex Oxlade] Chamberlain, Arteta, Giroud - there are so many - I think I will need a few doctors this morning.
"Arteta has a little hip problem and Giroud has come back with a hamstring and calf problem.
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Summer addition Santi Cazorla is another doubt for the visit of Spurs, after the midfielder travelled to Panama with Spain on international duty in mid-week. Wenger was glad that the 27-year didn't actually feature in the game, though the player is still not 100 per cent fit for Saturday.
"I believe he didn't need games," he continued. "He was overloaded with games so on that front I was happy that he got a little breather.
"It is not a complete breather because 20 hours travelling is of course not what we want. It's the advantage and the disadvantage of being called up in a squad. At least he didn't get injured and hopefully will recover before Saturday.
"They had 30 degrees there, so it was [good for] sunbathing!
"What do I make of it? At the moment, if you are selected you have to go, unless you say you're injured.
"I understand completely that in Spain, the competition is so high that if a guy turns it down and there is suspicion there, the next time he will not be called up.
"Could Cazorla have done without that trip? Of course. He could have got injured, so I personally don't complain, but he must not be very happy."