Belfast Telegraph

Van Persie misses Arsenal's Barcelona showdown

Arsenal's hopes of repeating their Champions League upset against Barcelona have been hit by the loss of Robin van Persie to a knee injury.

Van Persie has been ruled out for at least three weeks, preventing him from playing in next Tuesday's round of 16, second leg showdown at the Nou Camp.

However, his loss has been slightly tempered by a positive update on captain Cesc Fabregas, who could be fit to face the Spanish champions. “Unfortunately, we had bad news on the scan and Robin will be out for the next three weeks for sure,” Wenger said.

“It could be longer. The shortest delay we can imagine is three weeks, so he is definitely out for Barcelona.

“Cesc is looking possible [for that game]. He is making quick and good progress. It is possible.”

Losing van Persie is a huge blow to Arsenal's hopes of progressing into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The in-form Holland striker sustained the injury in the act of scoring Arsenal's equaliser during Sunday's 2-1 Carling Cup final defeat by Birmingham.

The goal was his 13th in 11 games, a haul that includes the equaliser against Barcelona in the first leg, which the Gunners edged 2-1. Alex Song incurred a knee problem against Birmingham and will sit out the Orient game, but should return for Barcelona.

“Alex Song has a knee problem. From his scan we had good news, it is only blood from a kick on the outside of his knee,” said Wenger.

“He is out for Leyton Orient and has a very small chance for Saturday.

“But he has a good chance for Barcelona.”

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