By Richard Clarke

Manuel Almunia has been playing through the pain barrier for the past few weeks.

The Arsenal keeper has not travelled to Porto for this evening’s Champions League tie after suffering a second injury to his hand. The problem is likely to keep him out for the weekend game against Sunderland too and, in his pre-match press conference, Arsène Wenger also revealed that, but for pain-killing injections, the Spaniard would have missed most of this month.

“At first he twisted the top of his finger [above the joint],” said the manager.

“But then he did the other, lower part of the finger in training three or four days ago.

“He had an injection to play against Manchester United, and played through the pain against Chelsea and Liverpool.

“I don’t think the injury hampered him. As long as it’s only the top part of the finger, you can use the finger. But when it’s the lower joint, you can’t play with that.

“He himself wanted to play in this game. He was keen. But the ball flies so much, particularly the Champions League ball, you need that flexibility in the finger to parry it.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Feb 2010