Arsenal suffer double injury blow

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Arsenal suffer double injury blow

Post  Admin on Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:20 am

Arsenal will be without defenders Johan Djourou and Gael Clichy for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Villarreal on Wednesday.

Djourou and Clichy's absence due to knee and back injuries respectively further weakens the Gunners backline in the absence of William Gallas (knee).

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia's ankle rules him out but Abou Diaby is available.

Villarreal will be without influential midfielder Marcos Senna who limped off at the weekend with a hamstring injury.

Swiss international Djourou, 22, was stretchered off during Arsenal's 4-1 win at Wigan on Saturday.

Mikael Silvestre, just back from a thigh injury himself, replaced Djourou at the JJB Stadium and is likely to do so again.

Clichy is likely to be out for three weeks, meaning he will not only miss Wednesday's game at the Emirates but is also a major doubt for the FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea a week on Saturday.

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In such circumstances, versatile midfielder Diaby's return to fitness after recovering from a thigh injury sustained on international duty with France last month is a timely boost.

Villareal's Spain international Senna, 32, suffered his injury in Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Malaga.

It is not known how long Senna will be sidelined but the Villarreal website confirmed he will miss the game.

Senna scored Villarreal's goal as they drew the first leg 1-1 with Arsenal.

The Primera Liga side could be severely under-strength in midfield, with Santi Cazorla an absentee and wingers Cani and Mati Fernandez also doubtful.

BIG MATCH STATS

Arsenal and Villarreal have only been drawn against each other twice in European competition.

The first leg of the quarter-final of this season's Champions League, resulted in a 1-1 draw. Marcos Senna scored the opener for Villarreal, Emmanuel Adebayor equalised.

They previously came face to face in the semi-finals of the Champions League three seasons ago. The Gunners won the first match at home (1-0), through a goal from Kolo Toure on 19 April 2006. The return, a week later, was a goalless draw. Riquelme missed a 90th minute penalty which would have taken the tie into extra time.

That season was the most successful for both clubs in the Champions League. Arsenal eventually lost the final against Barcelona (2-1) on 17 May 2006.

The Londoners have won six of their 10 home matches against Spanish opponents in European football (drawing two, and losing two). Arsenal's last home defeat to a Spanish club was against Deportivo La Coruna in a Champions League group match on 12 March 2002 (0-2).

In four away matches, Villarreal have won just once against opponents from England (drawing two, and losing one). Their solitary victory was against Everton in a Champions League qualification match on 9 August 2005.

CLUB FORM

ARSENAL

Unbeaten in 23 home matches in the Champions League. This is the longest active run in the CL and the second longest such sequence behind Bayern Munich's streak of 29 unbeaten home matches set between 1998 and 2002.

Kept clean sheets in the last four home CL matches. This is the club's second best defensive display. Between November 2005 and November 2006, they managed seven successive shut-outs.

VILLARREAL

Drawn 57% of their matches in the Champions League. RC Genk is the only club to have drawn a higher percentage (67%), but they have only played six CL matches. These two are the only teams to have drawn more than half of their matches in the competition. In CL history, 26% of the matches have been drawn.

Can become the sixth club to reach at least the semi-finals on both of their first two CL participations. AC Milan, Ajax, Juventus, AS Monaco and Valencia have also achieved such a feat.

Finished second in their group of this season's CL, as have Arsenal.

KEY PLAYER NOTES

Denilson is the only player to have played every minute for Arsenal during this season's Champions League.

Emmanuel Adebayor is clubs top scorer in the competition with four goals.

Robin van Persie, Alexandre Song, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri face suspension if booked.

Substitutes have scored six of Villarreal's CL goals this season. Club top scorer Joseba Llorente came off the bench to score all of his four goals. That is the most of all players in this season's CL campaign. Last season, Dutchman Ryan Babel scored a record five goals as a substitute for Liverpool.

Pascal Cygan and Robert Pires played for Arsenal before they joined Villarreal in 2006. Pires played 63 CL matches for the Gunners, scoring 11 goals. Cygan played 20 CL matches for the North Londoners. Pires played in both matches against Villarreal in the semi-finals of the 2005-06 CL.

Ariel Ibagaza, Marcos Senna, Angel and Guillermo Franco will be suspended if booked.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS FACTS

Arsenal's 1-1 away draw in the first leg has given them a statistical edge of 77% of knocking out Villarreal and advancing to the last four, when previous CL performances are taken into consideration.

Definitions of terms used:-

Champions League (CL) - only group phase matches and beyond of this competition which began in 1992-93.
Champions Cup/Champions League - all matches played since it began in 1955-56 including qualification matches.
European matches - all matches played in the major European tournaments (Fairs Cup, Uefa Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Champions Cup, Champions League).
Uefa Super Cups, Intertoto Cups and the old Intercontinental Cup competition are excluded.

Big Match Stats source: Infostrada Sports

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