By Richard Clarke
William Gallas is a "big question mark" for Sunday's clash with Chelsea. The defender's eye is still so swollen that he cannot even put in his contact lenses.
The Frenchman got a nasty bash to his face during Tuesday's victory over Standard Liege. In his attempt to nod home a cross from Cesc Fabregas on the half-hour, Gallas clashed heads with team-mate Andrey Arshavin.
Both players needed lengthy treatment. The Russian suffered a nasty gash to the top of his head but played on. Gallas went off the break with an ankle injury in addition to that facial problem.
When Arsène Wenger spoke to Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon the swelling was still a problem.
"There is a big question mark about him at the moment," said Wenger. "Today I cannot say that William Gallas will play, unfortunately. The ankle should be alright but the eye is still very, very, very swollen.
"He wears contact lenses and at the moment he would not get them in. We hope on Sunday it will be better. He is not comfortable but I am optimistic because we still have three days. It is Thursday today and we play on Sunday afternoon so, we are confident he can make it. Arshavin is OK. He was shocked but he is OK."
The Liege game has already cost Arsenal the services of Kieran Gibbs. The left back fractured a metatarsal bone in the dying minutes and will be sidelined for around three months. Thankfully Gibbs and Gallas are the extent of the injuries for now and, in addition, a couple of key players are on their way back
"Apart from Gibbs no-one is out or in from Tuesday," said Wenger. "Everybody else should be normally available.
"Diaby and Bendtner will be the first to come back. They will be out for the same time now. I think it will take another two weeks for both of them to be back in full training."
TV Online subscribers will be able to see the full video interview on Friday morning. In it Wenger talks about:
- Ancelotti's influence at Chelsea
- Chelsea's prowess this season
- the Anelka / Drogba partnership
- the hype machine surrounding big games
- Alex Song's new contract
- the role he can play on Sunday