Arsene Wenger has admitted he fears summer signing Mathieu Debuchy will be out for some time after being stretchered off during the 2-2 draw against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
No other player was near the former Newcastle United star when he crumpled to the ground after trying to bring the ball out of the air, with replays showing a nasty turn on his ankle and sparked fears he may have broken something.
Arsenal’s manager confirmed after the match that the injury was “a bad sprain”, relieving fears that serious ligament damage had occurred or that a bone had been broken.
However, the French tactician was not confident about the coming diagnosis and said Gunners medical staff would not be able to fully assess the damage for a while yet.
"Debuchy has a badly strained ankle," Wenger told reporters after the match.
"It's very difficult [to tell how long he will be out]. Medical people told me they need 24 hours more to assess him really well."
Despite him not being able to reveal too much about the injury to Debuchy, but he did admit that the state of the player meant it “does not look good” going forward – the France international did look in a lot of pain while on the floor.
It is an injury that many Arsenal fans were dreading and one that will only increase criticism of the Emirates Stadium boss for not further reinforcing the defensive ranks in the summer transfer window.
The Gunners had only six first team defenders once the transfer window closed after failing to find enough replacements for the departed Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen and Ignasi Miquel.
Injection of experience
Debuchy was purchased to provide experience in place of Sagna, who joined Manchester City on a free transfer, but the options behind the 29-year-old are limited.
Another summer signing, Calum Chambers, replaced him during the match and has impressed since joining the Gunners, but the youngster has limited experience in the Premier League and Under-21 right-back Hector Bellerin has never appeared in it.
Big games coming up
Experience will be key when Wenger takes his team to Borussia Dortmund for their first Champions League group match of the season, but Chambers will likely have to play there.
It was an entertaining contest at Emirates Satdium and while Wenger will be disappointed his side let in a late equaliser after coming from behind to lead, he will have been enthused by the Arsenal stars dominating large parts of the game against the reigning Premier League champions.