Arsenal Daily – Bad news and missed opportunities mark disappointing weekend for Wenger

On what was a weekend of missed opportunities for Arsenal, the North London club received more bad news. It seems that Johan Djourou’s knee injury is worse than previously anticipated, and he might be spending some time on the sidelines.

After scoring a powerful header early on in the game, the Swiss defender collided with Newcastle United striker Leon Best, and was taken off a few minutes into the second half. Another injury to a centre-back is the last thing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger wanted, and it seems now that a partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci will be in place against Barcelona for the Champions League Round of 16 first leg, the same partnership that was on the pitch while the Gunners threw away a four goal lead at St. James’ Park. Arsenal are already struggling with injuries with Alex Song, Thomas Vermaelen and Samir Nasri amongst the sidelined men at the moment and in a crucial month for the Gunners, they will be hoping their main men will be re-appearing sooner rather than later.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that About Diaby’s sending off was unnecessary, and that it changed the course of Saturday’s game. But the 61-year-old was also left perplexed by some of the decisions made by referee Phil Dowd. “[It was a] completely unnecessary sending off and I believe Barton was very lucky to stay on the pitch [because of] his tackle on Diaby. Certainly [the tackle changed the game], more psychologically than on the footballing side.” Wenger added: “We were worried too much on protecting our lead after that because we were down to ten men. Instead of continuing to play, we invited pressure. Afterwards we were very unlucky with some decisions as well. I cannot do anything about that.” Speaking about the penalty decisions Wenger was philosophical: “I was surprised by both decisions. But I am not the referee and I don’t think my opinion is very important now because we cannot come back and change it.”

Finally, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshire have received some good news this weekend. The pair have been called up to the England squad as they prepare to face Denmark on Wednesday. Walcott is no stranger to the international setup, having made 18 appearances already for the Three Lions, his first coming at the tender age of 17. Wilshire, on the other hand has only made one international appearance thus far, against Hungary in August. Both players will be hoping to make an impression on Fabio Capello and be regulars during England’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

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