Mikel Arteta is likely to be out for several more weeks...

Arsène Wenger has come to accept that the gunner's captain Mikel Arteta will be on the injury list in the long term, he is continuing to struggle with calf and ankle issues. It is impossible to predict exactly when the midfielder will be fit to return but it is likely to be many more weeks.

Arteta has not played since 26 November, when he damaged a calf in the 2-0 Champions League home win over Borussia Dortmund. It was the third time this season he had injured the muscle and amid the general sense of frustration, Wenger said Arteta would be out for between three and four weeks.

Arteta, though, suffered a related setback in the ankle and his prospects are now rather more bleak. The 32-year-old is known as a tremendous professional who looks after himself well and it has only made the setbacks and the length of the layoff harder to take.

Wenger is also braced to be without the defender Mathieu Debuchy for the next three months because it appears he will need an operation to repair the shoulder he dislocated in Arsenal's 3-0 home win over Stoke City.

Debuchy has been in consultation with various specialists this week and the injury represents a second serious setback of his season following the three-month layoff he endured after ankle-ligament surgery last September. The £12m summer signing from Newcastle United suffered that problem in the 2-2 home draw against Manchester City.

Wenger is preparing for the gunners return fixture with City at the Etihad Stadium and he has a selection doubt over Danny Welbeck. The striker has missed the past three matches with thigh trouble but if he does not make the trip to City he should be available for the FA Cup tie at Brighton & Hove Albion on 25 January.

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