By Richard Clarke

Arsenal will be without six first-team players for their return to Premier League against Wigan on Saturday.

The leaders are likely to have five midfielders unavailable - Alex Hleb (hamstring), Mathieu Flamini (thigh), Cesc Fabregas (suspended), Abou Diaby (back) and Gilberto (fatigue). Philippe Senderos is back but Robin van Persie's long-standing knee problem has not healed sufficiently for him to return.

The Dutchman last played for Arsenal against Sunderland on October 7. He picked up his injury during the  international break that followed that game. It appears the most recent one has cost Arsenal a couple more players this time.

"Hleb came back with a hamstring injury," Wenger told Arsenal.com on Thursday afternoon. "So once again we lose someone during this [international] period. I think he'll be out for 21 days. Flamini came back with a little thigh problem too. That will be one week maximum.

"Senderos is available but Cesc is suspended. Diaby has a back problem from the Slavia Prague game and he'll be out for three weeks. Robin van Persie is not back and he will not be back for Sevilla either. Gilberto will return very, very late. In fact he only comes back on Friday. So, as for the rest of the squad, we'll see."

For the best build up to the Wigan game, please check Arsenal.com on Friday morning.

 

Copyright 2014 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 Richard Clarke 22 Nov 2007