Van Persie surgery a success
Robin van Persie's surgery on his right ankle was successful, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed.
Van Persie, 26, suffered the injury while on international duty with the Netherlands and will be out for around five months, with Wenger relieved there were no complications with his operation. Frenchman Wenger also had positive news about left-back Kieran Gibbs, who has gone under the knife for his fractured foot.
"Kieran is doing very well," said Wenger. "I had him on the phone and it looked to be completely fine. I have not talked to Robin yet but there again the news I got from the surgery was it went very, very well. There was a lot of disturbance on our side recently [about his injury] but the surgery went well."
Van Persie's absence as a central striker cannot be filled against Stoke tomorrow by Theo Walcott as the England international has picked up a hamstring injury. Walcott, 20, played the second half of the 3-0 Premier League defeat by Chelsea on Sunday, with Gunners manager Wenger then selecting his fringe players for the League Cup loss to Manchester City by the same scoreline.
The hamstring complaint is described by Arsenal as "short term", and Walcott will be desperate to return as soon as possible as he is yet to complete a match this season after shoulder and knee problems. Wenger also has Alex Song suspended for the Stoke game at the Emirates Stadium but right-back Bacary Sagna has recovered from his ankle injury.
"We had Sagna out injured but, normally, he will be available," said Wenger. "However, Theo Walcott will not be available. He has a hamstring injury. As for the other players we had injured, the long-term ones I do not even speak about. But the players who looked to be shorter - like (Gael) Clichy, (Abou) Diaby and (Nicklas) Bendtner - will not be available. And, of course, Song is suspended for the weekend."
Van Persie's injury has been part of a controversial fortnight for Wenger. The Frenchman was upset with the Dutch FA for the handling of Van Persie's injury and in the last two weeks there has also been a defeat to Sunderland, a bizarre outburst over players looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup™ and his assertion that Didier Drogba "does not do a lot" after scoring twice against Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Andrey Arshavin has highlighted the problem of holding the ball up in attack without Van Persie. The Russian playmaker told L'Equipe: "Since the injury to Van Persie, we have scored only two goals in three matches. No-one is able to keep hold of the ball."