AFP - Arsenal defender William Gallas has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a medial knee ligament injury, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday.
Gallas suffered the injury during Arsenal's 1-1 draw against Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-final first leg in Spain on Tuesday.
Losing the experienced France centre-back at such a crucial stage of the campaign is a major blow to Wenger.
His side are bidding to hold onto fourth place in the Premier League as well as aiming to finish off Villarreal next Wednesday to earn a semi-final against Manchester United or Porto.
The north London club also face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on April 18.
"Gallas is a quick recoverer but we think he will be short to come back before the end of the season," Wenger said at a press conference. "It's a big, big blow but that's where the squad come in."
Wenger is likely to use Swiss defender Johan Djourou as Gallas's replacement.
As if that wasn't bad enough for Wenger, he will also be without Manuel Almunia for three weeks after the goalkeeper suffered an ankle injury that forced him to limp off against Villarreal.
French left-back Gael Clichy will miss two weeks with a back injury, while Robin van Persie and Eduardo will undergo fitness tests on Friday before Saturday's Premier League match at Wigan.
"I believe as well we have lost Manuel Almunia for three weeks and we lost Gael Clichy for two weeks with a back problem," Wenger admitteed. "We lost three players on Tuesday so we have to once again rely on the depth in the squad - that is quite strong.
"As well we have to rely on our mental strength because until now we have dealt well with all our injury problems.
"Robin van Persie and Eduardo will have tests on Friday morning. They might be available. And of course we have Andrey Arshavin available for Saturday."
Wenger also confirmed Czech Republic winger Tomas Rosicky is still not fully recovered from a groin injury which has sidelined him since January 2008.
"Tomas Rosicky, at the moment, is not close to coming back. We have to be very patient there as well," Wenger said.