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Arsenal striker Robin van Persie to miss three weeks with knee injury

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Dutch international and Arsenal forward Robin van Persie will miss three weeks with knee ligament damage, according to an interview with Arsène Wenger on the club's official website:

"We got bad news yesterday on the scan...he will be out for the next three weeks for sure...the shortest delay we can imagine is three weeks...it could even be longer...definitely out for Barcelona."

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas is making "quick and good progress" and is "possible" for Barcelona match.  Theo Walcott, on the other hand, is out for Barcelona, and will miss at least two more weeks.

Alex Song also has a knee problem, but is in better shape overall.  He will not play against Leyton Orient tomorrow, but has a "good chance" for Barcelona, according to the manager.  Abou Diaby will play tomorrow night, and indeed could have played against Birmingham City, but Wenger said "I did not want to risk him for the intensity of the cup final".

Losing van Persie is obviously a big blow for the match at Nou Camp, and it looks as if he will miss a possible FA Cup sixth round match against Manchester United, too, should Arsenal advance.  Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh will have to deputize in his place, and although neither offer the false nine play and structure that van Persie can, hopefully one or the other can re-discover their scoring form.

If Fabregas can play at Barcelona, it will be a big boost, as his absence leaves Arsenal without an incisive passing threat in the middle, at least on the evidence of the past few matches that the club has played without him.  Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, and Jack Wilshere would be the expected candidates to take his place, in no particular order, although Nasri seems to feature mainly on the wings these days.