Samir Nasri is set to miss the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona after he injured a hamstring in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Huddersfield Town.
Arsenal’s player of the season was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up as the manager Arsène Wenger rested most of his first-choice players, but he was forced off in the 33rd minute, when he felt the hamstring tighten in his left leg as he chased a long ball forward.
Nasri will undergo scans but Wenger said that he fears the worst. Even if the damage proves to be a minor tear, the midfielder would still be a doubt for the Barcelona game at Emirates on 16 February. The return leg is on 8 March at Camp Nou.
“Nasri looks [to have] a serious hamstring injury and usually it is three weeks,” Wenger said. “If it is a grade one [tear], it can be two weeks. It is a big blow. How big, I don’t know. The results will tell but it is a big blow. Will he miss Barcelona? Put three weeks on and you will know. I think yes.”
Wenger had wanted to start Tomas Rosicky in the attacking midfield role but the Czech was not fully fit after a virus.
“I have regrets now, yes,” Wenger said. “The plan was to play Rosicky but he was still too weak because he was so sick and so I took a gamble on Nasri. It backfired [but] he could come on and it could have happened because it was after 25-30 minutes. But, of course, we are at the stage where we play so many games and so to lose bodies is very difficult for us.”
Wenger admitted that his team had “looked a little bit tired” and the imperative now is to regroup ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League fixture against Everton at home. They played their fourth round FA Cup tie on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with Chelsea.
“Hopefully, we can recover,” Wenger said. “When you win, you recover more quickly. I have some players who did not play and who will be fresh, but we have only 48 hours.”
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