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Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Friday, 11 March 2011

Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny ruled out for six weeks

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (left) sustains a hand injury
Szczesny (left) has impressed for Arsenal this season

Arsenal expect to be without Wojciech Szczesny for around six weeks after the goalkeeper dislocated his finger during the defeat by Barcelona on Tuesday.

Manuel Almunia came on for Szczesny, but the injury has left Arsenal woefully short of goalkeeping cover.

They are already without Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone and may have to arrange an emergency loan signing.

"We need an experienced goalkeeper as cover for Almunia," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Pole Szczesny was hurt saving Dani Alves's 16th-minute free-kick and was replaced by Almunia after treatment.

The injury is a particular concern for Wenger given that Szczesny's compatriot Fabianski has been ruled out for the rest of the season following shoulder surgery resulting from an injury sustained saving a shot by Szczesny in a pre-match warm-up in January.

He is very professional, has a very dignified attitude and overall he has done very well

Wenger on Almunia

Mannone, meanwhile, has been troubled by a thigh injury while on loan at Hull City and is out for six weeks.

"We can call Mannone back from Hull, but he is not available," Wenger added. "We have Wojciech out. We have Fabianski out for the rest of the season. We absolutely need some cover in goal."

Outside of the transfer window the club would have to apply to the Premier League for special dispensation for any such signing.

It is quite a turnaround of fortunes for Almunia who had looked set to leave the Gunners in the January transfer window having fallen out of favour with Wenger.

But the Spaniard now finds himself as Wenger's number one with the Frenchman impressed with his fighting spirit.

"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 - he was quite busy in the final part of the game and he did very well."

"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. That's what I believe our job is about."

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see also
Arsenal berate referee after exit
09 Mar 11 |  Europe
Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (agg 4-3)
08 Mar 11 |  Europe
Tuesday's football photos
08 Mar 11 |  Football
Tuesday football as it happened
08 Mar 11 |  Football
Fabianski out for rest of season
03 Feb 11 |  Arsenal

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