Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for two months with knee ligament damage sustained in the Premier League defeat to West Bromwich Albion. The Frenchman was replaced on 14 minutes after a challenge with Claudio Yacob and will be unavailable until the new year, starting with the Champions League visit of Dinamo Zagreb.
Mikel Arteta, who initially replaced Coquelin during the 2-1 loss at The Hawthorns, is also out of the European group game with a calf problem. The double blow sees the Gunners' injury list swell to seven with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all longer-term absentees. Aaron Ramsey has, however, returned from his hamstring problem.
"Coquelin and Arteta are out," Wenger lamented, according to The Mirror. "Arteta is short-term, Coquelin is longer. He has a scan today – we will know how long this afternoon. Coquelin is out for at least two months. We have had so many bad surprises on the scans, so I don't want to speculate more. I must say we have been hit very hard in November. We have lost a few players."
The extensive list of injuries Arsenal are currently beset with raises the tantalising question of whether Wenger will cave to pressure and sign players during the upcoming January transfer window. The north London club were the only team inside the top five divisions in Europe to not sign an outfield player during the summer, but Wenger has committed to "do what is needed".
"We have players that can play in [Coquelin's] position," he stated. "[Calum] Chambers has been educated in that position. I will do what is needed in January knowing that it is not an ideal market."
Following the thrashing by Bayern Munich, Arsenal's hopes of reaching the knock-out phase of the Champions League hang by a thread heading into the fifth round of games. Wenger's side must defeat Dinamo and hope that second-place Olympiakos are beaten by Bayern to stand any chance of progressing ahead of the final round of games.
"We were unlucky on the day as we played with ten men but we should have got a better result," Wenger said of the 2-1 defeat in the Croatian capital earlier in the season. "The players like to compete at the top. We have the ability in the squad to do that."