By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has revealed the true cost of Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Tuesday night.
The Frenchman was delighted with his team's gutsy comeback at El Madrigal but he lost three established players in the process. William Gallas is expected to miss the rest of the season after damaging medial knee ligaments, Manuel Almunia has been ruled out for three weeks with an ankle problem and Gael Clichy - who completed the game in Spain - is also out for two weeks after hurting his back.
With 60 per cent of his first-choice back five on the sidelines, Wenger will have to shuffle his pack ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Wigan. But the Arsenal manager could have Robin van Persie and Eduardo fit again after groin injuries.
"Gallas is a quick recoverer but we think he will be short to come back before the end of the season," said Wenger at his pre-match press conference. "It’s a big, big blow but that’s where the squad come in.
"I believe as well we have lost Manuel Almunia for three weeks and we lost Gael Clichy for two weeks with a back problem. We lost three players on Tuesday night so we have to once again rely on the depth in the squad - that is quite strong. As well we have to rely on our mental strength because until now we have dealt well with all our injury problems.
"Robin van Persie and Eduardo will have tests tomorrow morning. They might be available. And of course we have Andrey Arshavin available for Saturday."
One player who will have to wait a little longer for his comeback is Tomas Rosicky. The Czech star was rumoured to be returning for the Reserves against Tottenham this evening but he has yet to shrug off his groin injury.
"Tomas Rosicky, at the moment, is not close to coming back. We have to be very patient there as well," said Wenger.Copyright 2013 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 9 Apr 2009