LONDON, Nov3 – Arsenal defender Gael Clichy will be sidelined for several weeks after suffering a back injury, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger revealed on Tuesday.Wenger fears the 24-year-old French left-back, who is due to go for scans later on Tuesday, has a stress fracture of his back which is likely to keep him out of action until December.
Clichy felt pain in his back after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Tottenham and is believed to have been suffering from the problem for some weeks.
The injury comes just three days after Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner was ruled out for at least four weeks with a groin problem.
Wenger will turn to young English defender Kieran Gibbs to deputise for Clichy in Wednesday’s Champions League clash against AZ Alkmaar at the Emirates Stadium.
"Bendtner is quite seriously injured and on top of that we have lost Gael Clichy with a back injury which was not expected," Wenger said on Tuesday.
"It looks like Clichy could be out for a while. We fear a stress facture of the back. We will know more about that tonight (Tuesday) but if that is the case he will be out for a few weeks.
"Nicklas we still don’t know yet (how long he will be out) but it will be at least four weeks."
Clichy’s Arsenal team-mate Abou Diaby admitted losing the defender was a significant blow.
"It is bad news for him and for the team as well," Diaby said. "He is a very important player in our squad and I feel very sorry for him that he has this injury."
Gibbs endured a Champions League nightmare last season when his slip allowed Manchester United’s Park Ji-sung to score a crucial early goal that sent the Gunners sliding to a semi-final second leg defeat.
Wenger acknowledges that the pressure is now on Gibbs but he is confident the 20-year-old can fulfil the expectations of those who claim he could win a surprise place in Fabio Capello’s England squad for the World Cup.
"I was very comfortable to have the solution to rest Clichy when needed and play Gibbs when neccessary," Wenger said.
"Now a huge stress will be on Gibbs to play in every game. Capello and England will be happy because they want him to play in every game but it is still a blow for us.
"But I have every confidence about Gibbs. I have said that many times."