By Nick Teale
Arsène Wenger admits Arsenal have been hit hard by injuries this season.
The Gunners have been without several key players at various stages of the campaign, and the manager believes that has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the squad.
Robin van Persie missed five months before returning at Tottenham on Wednesday, Aaron Ramsey has been missing since the end of February due to a broken leg and players including Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen aren't expected to feature again this season.
In addition to that Johan Djourou hasn't featured yet this term while Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song are also currently on the treatment table.
With eight players currently sidelined and Denilson a further doubt for Sunday's trip to Wigan, Wenger has been left frustrated by the way his players have picked up their injuries and says it has left his squad stretched.
"We got the injury of Cesc, which was the consequence of a bad tackle," he said. "The injury of Ramsey is the consequence of a bad tackle, the injury of Gibbs is the consequence of a bad tackle.
"We got hit hard. Once you get a few injuries you cannot rotate any more and the players like Vermaelen, who is injured now, played 33 league games out of 34.
"You look at the other teams that play at the top in the Champions League and the Premier League. Ferdinand, Vidic, Terry or Carvalho, the centre-backs, they have been injured as well.
"For Vermaelen to play 33 out of 34 games is for me, for a first season, outstanding."

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16 Apr 2010