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Van Persie facing months out

Arsenal have been dealt a huge injury blow with the news that star striker Robin van Persie could face several months on the sidelines after tearing his ankle ligaments on international duty.

The Dutchman was withdrawn after just 15 minutes of the Netherlands' 0-0 draw with reigning world champions Italy, after being brought down by Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini while chasing a through ball.

Van Persie looked in some discomfort and a stretcher was required as he clutched his right ankle.

Coach Bert van Marwijk said after the game: "The first diagnosis is a bad ankle injury. We are waiting for X-rays in hospital. It's terrible for Robin and is not good for Holland or his club."

And a Dutch football official confirmed the bad news. "The ankle ligaments are definitely torn," the official told BBC Sport. "After the match our medical staff did not mention a break in the bone but the doctors will be able to tell us for sure. It does not look too good."

The injury could keep the striker sidelined for up to three months, and is a huge blow to the Gunners' title dreams. Van Persie, who has netted seven league goals so far this season, is certain to miss next weekend's crunch Premier League clash with leaders Chelsea.

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