Date: 8th May 2009 at 8:07am
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Arsenal’s first-choice left-back Gael Clichy has been out injured after playing the full 90 minutes in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Villarreal at El Madrigal on 7th April. His young understudy, Kieran Gibbs, has played and impressed in most of the games since, while Emmanuel Eboue has also made two solid appearances as a back-up left-back.

The club has just confirmed that Clichy will stay out for the season to nurse his back injury. Arsene Wenger had hoped we could speed up his recovery a little bit for the run-in if necessary. But now that we’re no longer in the Champions League – and may I add that a top-four spot has been guaranteed – he has decided against risking Clichy and will give him the rest he needs.

‘It is finished [for Gael],’ said the Arsenal manager. ‘We would have put a little pressure on the recovery period had we gone to the Champions League Final. But now we will not take a gamble.’

On another note, the club has also announced that there’s ‘a slight doubt over Andrey Arshavin (flu) but the Russian is expected to feature’ against Chelsea in the next league game and that the team picked up no further injuries after the home game against Manchester United: ‘We have nobody really injured from Tuesday night,’ said Wenger. ‘Arshavin has some flu today so we sent him back home. But I believe he will be OK. So it will be the squad from Tuesday with Arshavin available.’ I think he meant the regular flu there!

A lot of Gooners have expressed their appreciation of Kieran’s performances so far and are keen to see him come back against Chelsea. I personally think he’s a strong boy who can pick himself up with the support from his manager and teammates. I’m sure the home crowd will also get behind him this Sunday. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the possibility of seeing our utility man, Eboue, in left-back, either.

Rest well Gael and see you again in August! (I believe we can safely say this.)