By Chris Harris

Gael Clichy's back injury is almost identical to the one which ruled him out for the final 11 games of last season.

The French defender completed 90 minutes against Tottenham on Saturday but has since been ruled out for "a few weeks" with a suspected stress fracture.

Clichy sat out the business end of last term after suffering back trouble in the Champions League Quarter-Final at Villarreal and Arsène Wenger believes the two injuries are related.

"Yes, but it is on the other side, his vertebrae," explained the manager at his pre-match press conference.

"He had a stress fracture on one side and it has happened on the other side. Normally it happens on both sides but his happened [before] on one side. It was a gradual thing.

"He said during the [Tottenham] game that he could play on pain-free but the pain after every game became worse so we made a scan on Monday and we found a little fracture."

Clichy was missing for the final seven weeks of the 2008/09 campaign and had to watch from the sidelines as his team exit the FA Cup and the Champions League at the Semi-Final stage. So how much did the left-back's absence affect the outcome of Arsenal's season?

"It is difficult to know because we lost Gallas as well together," said Wenger. "We lost a lot of experience and it is very difficult to know how much it affected our defence.

"I don't like to change too much at the back. I change the full backs sometimes but the centre backs do not change around much."

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4 Nov 2009