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Oct 1, 2012

Injuries give France midfield headache

France coach Didier Deschamps is facing a midfield headache as he prepares to name his squad for the October 12 friendly against Japan and the World Cup qualifier against Spain four days later.

With Arsenal's Abou Diaby and Lille's Rio Mavuba injured, Deschamps must find other ways to attempt to counter the Spanish midfield.

Diaby suffered a thigh injury early in Arsenal's defeat by Chelsea on Saturday and will be out for around three weeks, according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. Mavuba has suffered a knee injury and will be on the sidelines for between six and eight weeks.

The absences mean much will depend on Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye, while Etienne Capoue, who scored against Belarus in September, Blaise Matuidi, who has impressed with PSG, and Maxime Gonalons, of Lyon, are also contenders for key roles.

Deschamps could also call up Toulouse forward Wissam Ben Yedder, Ligue 1's second top scorer - but the striker, who has played for France at youth level, could also choose to represent Tunisia.

"I had some interviews with the Tunisia coach [Sami Trabelsi], but that stays between him and me," Yedder said. "For now, I am focusing on Toulouse and the France youth team. I want to go step by step."

Meanwhile, Wenger has admitted selling Alex Song to Barcelona and not bringing in a replacement, preferring to put his faith in the fitness of Diaby, was a gamble that could cost his side.

"Diaby's injury record is not good," Wenger said. "I was concerned about him, of course. It was a gamble but I was calculating as well that Jack Wilshere was coming back.

"Francis Coquelin is here but was sick and Emmanuel Frimpong is back, while Tomas Rosicky is coming back. We have many midfield players. We don't have many physical players.

"But Mikel Arteta has shown he can be a great defensive midfield player. We'll see overall if it was a good or bad decision at the end of the season."

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