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The numbers behind Arsenal's striker search

By ESPN Staff

Arsenal face injury crisis ahead of Liverpool test

Arsenal will start the new Premier League season with the same old injury problems as Arsene Wenger faces up to a selection headache ahead of Sunday's trip to Liverpool.

Wenger will leave it as late as possible to decide whether World Cup final duo Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are fit enough to feature at Anfield.

However, the Gunners are already without centre-half Johan Djourou (hamstring) and striker Nicklas Bendtner (groin). Midfielder Alex Song (calf) is doubtful while Denilson (abdominal) and Abou Diaby (calf) face fitness tests.

With Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey still recovering from a broken leg, Wenger could be left with little option but to throw 18-year-olds Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong into the centre of midfield, although it would seem more likely Samir Nasri would move across as he did for spells last season.

At the back, Arsenal are also short and so untested summer recruit Laurent Koscielny looks set to partner Thomas Vermaelen in what would be a dream, but hardly ideal debut for the young Frenchman.

"We have some problems with Bendtner and Djourou," Wenger said. "Bendtner will be out for four weeks I think with a groin problem, but we have Ramsey who is coming back in November now.

"All the rest of the injuries are short term. Alex Song has a calf problem and will be short. Denilson will have a test on Friday or Saturday on an abdominal problem. Diaby has a calf problem, but he is back in full training. He might be available and Andrey Arshavin is all right, but I still have to make a decision about whether I will include Van Persie and Fabregas in the squad.''

It remains to be seen who will start the new campaign as Wenger's number one, with Lukasz Fabianski looking to oust Manuel Almunia. Marouane Chamakh may make his debut for the Gunners if Van Persie is not fit for action.


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