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Dec 7, 2009

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal injury problems no coincidence

Arsene Wenger has conceded it may be no coincidence that Arsenal have suffered from persistent injury problems, even if he has not diagnosed the reasons behind the club's fitness issues.

The Gunners have seen a succession of star names suffer long-term injuries in recent seasons with Robin van Persie and Kieran Gibbs the latest victims. In addition, William Gallas (hamstring), Emmanuel Eboue (muscle), Armand Traore (hamstring), Andrei Arshavin (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (groin) all picked up injuries in Saturday's win over Stoke City.

Rosicky - who spent 18 months on the sidelines before returning to action at the start of the season - is now expected to be out for up to a month and Wenger is growing frustrated at the constant physical setbacks suffered by his side.

"We pick up more injuries than the other big teams, that is true," Wenger said. "You cannot say there is not a reason for it but we have not found it yet.

"It's the worst season for injuries for us. And they are all in the same area - in the offensive side. Last year it was in the defensive side."

"He's devastated and I am as well," Wenger said regarding Rosicky. "It's a vicious circle when you have been out for a long time. Eduardo had not played for 18 months, Tomas has not played for 18 months. When you come back, one or two games, your body has to get used to producing the energy levels again and it's difficult. Nobody masters that."

Arsenal were forced to field Arshavin as an emergency striker against Stoke and Wenger has already admitted he may have to enter the transfer market as he looks to replace Van Persie. But Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was a hate figure amongst Arsenal fans during his time with Manchester United, is unlikely to move to North London.

Wenger said: "It would not be the best of starts, bearing in mind our past relationship! You have my number - you can text me all the names you find!"

Former Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira, who had a number of scrapes with Van Nistelrooy and was dismissed following a clash with the Dutchman in the 2003-04 season, is also unlikely to return to the club, even if Wenger did show an interest in his compatriot over the summer.

"Vieira is not a striker," Wenger said. "I don't think we suffered in midfield (on Saturday) and we have (Abou) Diaby who can come back next week. I don't believe we are especially short there, but we are up front."

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