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Page last updated at 19:56 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Arsenal insist Johan Djourou will miss rest of season

Johan Djourou injured against Manchester United
Djourou was injured in a collision with team-mate Bacary Sagna

By David Ornstein

Arsenal have reiterated their belief that Johan Djourou will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

The Swiss Football Association said the 24-year-old's problem was not as bad as first feared and that he was confident of returning to action this month.

But Arsenal told BBC Sport this was "inaccurate" and that the centre-back would see a specialist on Thursday.

The club expect the Swiss international to undergo surgery and to be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

Djourou hurt his right shoulder in a collision with team-mate Bacary Sagna during Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Manchester United.

After the match, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: "Unfortunately we lost Johan Djourou for the rest of the season - dislocated shoulder - season over."

Johan Djourou
Arsenal have not lost a league game with Djourou in the side since 2008

But on Monday night, Djourou informed his national association that he hoped to be fit for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on 26 March after responding well to treatment.

"The shoulder injury to Johan Djourou is less serious than feared on Saturday and announced by the coach of his club," the Swiss FA said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

"The Arsenal defender and member of the Switzerland national team was submitted to thorough medical examinations on Monday.

"At the end of a long exhausting day, Johan Djourou had new hope that his season is not over yet."

Djourou was of the opinion that there were no broken bones or torn ligaments in his damaged joint, but Arsenal moved to clarify the situation on Tuesday afternoon following further tests and the Swiss FA amended their story.

It leaves Laurent Koscielny and Sebastian Squillaci as the Gunners' only fit senior central defenders, with Thomas Vermaelen still out because of an Achilles tendon problem.

Wenger's side have endured a bitterly disappointing fortnight in which they lost the Carling Cup final to Birmingham, were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona and fell to United in the FA Cup.

Their last hope of winning a first piece of silverware since 2005 comes via the Premier League and they are three points adrift of leaders United with a game in hand.

Arsenal travel to West Brom on Saturday and then host Blackburn on 2 April after the international break.

Djourou has made 31 appearances in all competitions this season and Arsenal have not lost a league game with him in the team since a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on 22 November 2008.

He had a loan spell at Birmingham City in 2007-08 but featured in only one game last season because of a serious knee injury.

He scored his first goal for the club in the 4-4 draw at Newcastle in February.

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see also
Arsenal close in on Lehmann deal
15 Mar 11 |  Arsenal
Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
12 Mar 11 |  FA Cup
Djourou calms knee injury fears
08 Feb 11 |  Arsenal
Arsenal rocked by Djourou knee op
06 Sep 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal's Djourou signs new deal
01 Nov 06 |  Arsenal
Djourou completes Birmingham move
10 Aug 07 |  Birmingham

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