Wenger upbeat over injured Arsenal trio


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave a positive early assessment of three injuries to key players following Tuesday's 4-0 FA Cup victory over Hull City at Emirates Stadium.

Having gone into the game missing centre-back Laurent Koscielny through injury, Arsenal then lost fellow defender Per Mertesacker during the first half due to a cut head, Brazilian stopper Gabriel in the second half with a muscle problem, and midfielder Aaron Ramsey later in the game.

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott scored two apiece to secure Arsenal an FA Cup quarter-final against Watford, after which they will face Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Champions League.

Wenger told BT Sport: "I'm in shock because we lost our two centre-backs and then Ramsey. 

"Mertesacker just has a concussion and Gabriel looks alright. Ramsey has a thigh injury, so I'm a bit more concerned about him."

The result ended a run of five winless games for Arsenal and ensured they continue to compete for silverware on three fronts this season.

Arsenal won 3-0 at Vicarage Road in October and the triumph over promotion-chasing Hull left Wenger confident that his players are performing well enough to ensure a repeat of that result.

"Apart from the injuries, we played well," he said.

"Watford are a good side and it will be an interesting tie. Let's see if we can recover one or two injuries and play the way we played here."

Giroud's double ended a run of 11 Arsenal appearances without a goal and Wenger was quick to congratulate the 29-year-old, saying: "We have great confidence in the squad. Giroud's goal will help him and give him euphoria.

"I made the decision to play him because he always wants to play."

Giroud, who welcomed the birth of his second child on the eve of the game, said: "My wife had a delivery yesterday, but I wanted to play this game and I'm very happy for the team. We played a good game and got a clean sheet, so we are very pleased.

"I'm pleased to be back on the score sheet, and I feel well on the pitch. We had good team cohesion, and we want to win our third FA Cup in a row."

Despite the win, there were still signs of unrest among the home fans, with a banner unfurled at full-time which demanded the Frenchman leave the club.