Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will miss the Premier League visit of Manchester City on Sunday [2 April] as he continued to nurse a calf injury. The Czech Republic stopper, who has been ever-present in the top flight this season, limped off during the defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the club’s last domestic outing but has been unable to recover in time for the key top four clash. He will miss both the visit of Tony Pulis’ men and the mid-week clash with West Ham United, but could return against Crystal Palace.
Striker Lucas Perez will also miss the game with a thigh injury which kept him out of the 3-1 loss at The Hawthorns, while Santi Cazorla is out for the rest of the season as he continues to recover from two bouts of ankle surgery. The Spain international went under the knife in December but a setback in his recuperation has delayed his return.
Forward Alexis Sanchez is also set to be fit despite having played twice for Chile during the international break with an ankle injury. The 28-year-old was withdrawn with the issue against The Baggies and suffered a kick to the area during the 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela, but has not picked up ligament damage. Mesut Ozil is also in contention with a combination of illness and injury keeping him out of Arsenal’s last two league games. Kieran Gibbs remains sidelined.
“We have lost Petr Cech and he will not be fit for Sunday,” Wenger told reporters ahead of the visit of City. “Apart from that Cazorla, Perez as well is not fit. That should basically be it. [Cech has] a thigh problem. I think he could miss Sunday, Wednesday against West Ham and maybe available again after.
“We got a message from him [Sanchez]. It was a kick, it was swollen. We didn’t know if the ligament was touched or not. It was just a kick and when the swelling went down and the bone bruising out. He could normally play. Unfortunately no [Cazorla can’t play], I think the season is over for him. He (Ozil) is in contention to start again. He played 20 minutes with Germany in Azerbaijan. And he came back focused and has worked very hard this week.”
Despite just two months of the campaign remaining, Wenger is set yet to publicly reveal whether he will sign a new contract at Arsenal, though the Frenchman admits he has reached a decision. The 67-year-old is in his 21st year in north London and though he is expected to extend his deal, he remains coy over any imminent resolution.
“I am very clear in my mind,” the Arsenal boss added. “Do I stay two months or two years? My commitment will be exactly same. The time I spent here does not influence my attitude. I’ve always been clear in my mind and I will remain like that. It’s a subject that is not sorted completely. I have nothing more to add to that.
“I believe the priority in life is to focus on what is important. Not to look for excuses. The results aren’t going as we want. The priority is on the pitch. The big professional is to perform on the football pitch.”