Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a hamstring problem, boss Arsene Wenger revealed on Thursday.
Coquelin lasted just 26 minutes of Tuesday’s pulsating 3-3 draw at Bournemouth before limping off and Wenger says he may not play again this month.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Preston North End, the Frenchman revealed: “Coquelin is out for three to four weeks with a hamstring problem. He has a scan today.”
Striker Lucas Perez is also doubtful for the trip to Deepdale while Alexis Sanchez, Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny will be rested. Striker Danny Welbeck is back in training while Theo Walcott is close to a return but will not feature this weekend.
Wenger said: “I have not decided yet whether Welbeck will play against Preston. His fitness is at a good level but we want to give him a few games with the Under-23s first.
“It also depends on Lucas Perez’s situation as well – he has an ankle injury.
“Coming back, Walcott is closest but not ready.
“We play with 90 per cent of the squad. We rest Ksocielny because he came off with problems in his thigh.
“Ospina will play, but maybe Sanchez I will rest as well, but everyone else will play.”
Mesut Ozil has not played since the Boxing Day win over West Brom due to illness and Wenger says the Germany midfielder needs further assessment before his comeback date will be known.
“Mesut Ozil is coming in today and will be assessed by the doctor,” he added.
“He has been in bed for two weeks. I cannot imagine we will involve him on Saturday.
“It’s a flu he has had, a throat infection. I don’t know exactly.”
In a further blow for Wenger, Santi Cazorla’s rehabilitation from ankle surgery has not gone as well as hoped and the Spanish midfielder is not close to a comeback, having sat out almost three months of action already.
Wenger added: “Cazorla is still far away from a return.
“It is not going as quick as I was hoping. He could be out a bit longer than expected. He will not return in January.
“It is frustrating. He started the season in a tremendous way and was dominating play, then we suddenly lost him.”
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