Szczesny set to miss six weeks

The 20-year-old Pole – who started the season as the Gunners’ third

choice – suffered a dislocated finger in Tuesday night’s Champions

League defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp when he was hurt saving

Dani Alves’ 16th-minute free-kick. Former number one Manuel

Almunia, 33, came on to make some eye-catching saves as the Catalan

side ran out 3-1 winners to end Arsenal’s European hopes for

another season. However, with Lukasz Fabianski already ruled out

for the rest of the season after shoulder surgery and Vito Mannone

troubled by a thigh injury while on loan at Hull, Wenger looks set

to ask the Premier League for permission to bring in experienced

cover, with youngsters James Shea, 19, and Damian Martinez, 18, the

only other fit keepers. “We need now an experienced goalkeeper as

cover for Almunia because Mannone is out for six weeks so we cannot

call on him,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. “Mannone is here at

the training ground having treatment, but he cannot play for the

next six weeks. “We can call him back [from Hull], but he is not

available. “We have Wojciech out – in my opinion for six weeks. We

have Fabianski out for the rest of the season. We absolutely need

some cover in goal.” Almunia had looked set to leave Arsenal during

the January transfer window, but the Spaniard now finds himself

thrust back into the first-team picture ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup

quarter-final at Manchester United. Wenger has been impressed with

Almunia’s approach to the situation. “He is very professional, [has

a] very dignified attitude and overall he has done very well,” the

Arsenal boss said. “Yes, he has done quite well when he came on

[against Barcelona] and was quite busy in the final part of the

game and he did very well.” Wenger does not expect any of his

senior squad to be happy just warming the bench. “When I took Jens

Lehmann out, who [had] made only one mistake, and put Almunia in,

Lehmann came in the next day and fought even harder,” said the

Frenchman. “That’s what I believe our job is about.”