Arsenal's Van Persie to miss cup tie with broken toe
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has been ruled out of tonight's Carling Cup semi-final tie at Wigan due to a broken toe.
But Arsene Wenger is hoping the injury, which the Dutchman was unaware of as he left Highbury after Saturday's FA Cup win against Cardiff, will not sideline him for too long.
Wenger is at least able to turn to Jose Antonio Reyes, who has recovered from the knock which forced him off at half-time during the 2-1 win against the Coca-Cola Championship side.
He revealed: 'We have lost Robin van Persie, who has a broken toe, but Jose Antonio Reyes should be available.'
The Arsenal boss is also without Sol Campbell, who is resting a slight knock, while Thierry Henry and Jens Lehmann will again be absent along with Lauren and Robert Pires.
Wenger's selection options are further restricted by the departure of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue for the African Nations' Cup tournament with the Ivory Coast.
However, he still has several first-team players in his squad, including Freddie Ljungberg, Gilberto, Reyes, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini.
Arsenal won at the JJB Stadium in the league in November, but that was one of just two victories in 10 away Barclays Premiership games so far this season.
Wenger declared: 'We know it will be a battle so we have to play players like Gilberto again. We are two games away from the final and you never neglect that.
'The second part of the season will be an interesting period for us. The Premiership remains our priority - to come back into a Champions League qualifying place - but we want to get into the Carling Cup final.'
The Gunners also face a testing away fixture in the FA Cup fourth round - at Bolton - and while they won in the sixth round at the Reebok Stadium last season, they have lost there in their last two Premiership visits.
But Chelsea's domination of the Premier League has led to several teams - including Arsenal - starting to take the domestic cup competitions rather more seriously.
'It looks like everyone is saying that the FA Cup is a big trophy. When we dominated the championship, it was like that as well,' added Wenger.
'Liverpool now want to play in the FA Cup. Maybe there is the attraction of Wembley too, but suddenly the FA Cup is in fashion again.
'We won at Bolton 1-0 in the FA Cup last year so we have good memories. We ill go there and try to do it again.'