By Chris Harris
Gilberto will pay a heavy price for his red card at Blackburn but Arsène Wenger believes that his team can cope with the loss of their influential midfielder.
The Brazilian will miss the Premiership clash with Manchester United, the Carling Cup Semi Final first leg at Tottenham and the FA Cup tie against Bolton. However Wenger is confident that his squad will rise to the occasion once again.
"Gilberto will be missing but we feel that with the spirit and quality we have we can cope with that," he said. "We have had three different teams in our last three games but produced the same quality. We are very proud of that at the Club."
Wenger described Gilberto's dismissal at Ewood Park as "harsh" but praised Robbie Savage following reports that the Rovers midfielder, whose foul provoked the Brazilian's reaction, asked referee Rob Styles not to send the Arsenal midfielder off.
"It is very fair from him and if he has done that I thank him because from the outside the red card looked harsh," said Wenger. "You have to accept it because Gilberto retaliated and really he should not have retalitated at all.
"Savage could have stayed on his feet but I think he realised he made more of it than he should have. He said to the referee 'don't send him off' because I think he realised he should not have gone down.
"But if you ask the referee he will tell you he sent Gilberto off for retaliating and he will gain his case at the FA because [the rules say] it is a red-card offence."
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 15 Jan 2007