Injury woes blight Gunners win

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal have been plunged into a defensive crisis after Johan Djorou joined the Gunners casualty list during a 4-1 win.

updated: April 12, 2009 16:35 IST
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Wigan, England:

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal have been plunged into a defensive crisis after Swiss defender Johan Djorou joined the Gunners casualty list during a 4-1 win at Wigan.

Second-half goals from Theo Walcott, Mikael Silvestre, Andriy Arshavin and Alex Song claimed a fifth straight Premier League win for the Gunners after Egypt striker Mido had put Wigan ahead in the first-half.

But with Djorou being stretchered off midway through the first-half, he now joins French defender William Gallas on the sidelines as Arsenal prepare for the biggest week of their season, with Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Villarreal followed by Saturday's Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Arsenal boss Wenger said: "Djorou has a knee problem and that is the bad news of the day. It looks like he will be out on Wednesday.

"That is two central defenders I have lost in two games, with Gallas on Tuesday, so that is not good for us."

Wigan were unlucky not to deny Arsenal the points, however, and the game could have ended in their favour had youngster Kieran Gibbs been sent off for fouling Ecuadorean midfielder Antonio Valencia and seemingly denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Wenger said: "I was scared that it could be a red. I also felt that it could be a yellow and that's what happened.

"In my opinion, Mikael Silvestre was behind Gilbert and I also believe that the goalkeeper would have collected the ball, because their player had knocked it too long. I still think it was a yellow card."

Wigan boss Steve Bruce was not so charitable towards referee Alan Wiley, though, and he insisted that the decision to issue only a yellow card was wrong.

Bruce said: "I can't go along with the referee saying that he didn't think that Antonio was in control of the situation.

"He is the quickest player on the pitch and he had a two-yard start on the goalkeeper, so there was only going to be one winner in that situation.

"We might still have gone on to lose the game even if their player had been sent off, but what I can say for certain is that it is a damn sight easier to play against ten Arsenal players than eleven.

"There were one or two turning points in the game. Ben Watson hit the post with the free-kick and we then had one cleared off the line.

"Maybe Arsene will say that the turning point was when he brought his big guns on, but we did really well for an hour and them gifted Arsenal the win.

"That's hard to take and all of the lads are shell-shocked."

Arsenal's first-half display was disappointing, but with the Russian playmaker Arshavin increasingly influential, the visitors emerged with the points.

Wenger said: "At half-time, I was worried because Wigan were very strong, committed and well organised in the first-half. All of the 50-50s went their way.

"But in the second-half, I felt that our technique would take over and we looked very dangerous once that happened.

"Even if we had gone down to ten men, we would have tried very hard to get back into the game. The players have great character and mental strength."