Arsenal midfielder Arteta a 'massive doubt' for end-of-season clash against Newcastle, reveals Wenger

The Spanish playmaker was substituted in stoppage time against Wigan, replaced by Thomas Vermaelen, and could miss the Gunners’ trip to St James’ Park with a calf problem

Arsenal have been handed a blow in their quest for Champions League qualification after Mikel Arteta picked up a calf injury in the Gunners’ 4-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday evening.

The midfielder was withdrawn in stoppage time, replaced by Thomas Vermaelen, and now faces a race against time to be fit for Arsenal’s final day match against Newcastle.

“Arteta is not alright,” revealed Arsene Wenger after the match. “Arteta pulled his calf, so that could be a problem for Sunday. We don’t know, we have to wait 24 hours. He will be a massive doubt for Sunday.”

Though the Spaniard is likely to miss his side’s trip to St James’ Park, Wenger remains confident that his side can claim the victory they need to seal a place in next season’s Champions League.

“It’s all open. But it depends on our result. Even third place is not out of sight if we win our game,” the French boss continued.

“I am confident, because we have experience. Because we play for a long time now under massive pressure and have always found solutions for the problems we’ve faced, so I’m confident.”

Wigan needed to win the match in order to keep their survival hopes alive but after Theo Walcott’s 63rd-minute goal the Latics imploded, and Wenger believes the FA Cup winners will be missed next year.

“When we scored the second goal it was a massive blow for Wigan and they never recovered from that and then it became a comfortable game, we scored three and four,” conceded Wenger.

“It’s sad that Wigan are going down, because they are a good team. They play good football and is an intelligent team, with good players, if they stay together they will certainly come up again.”

The Arsenal boss also praised the influence of his “big” players, with Santi Cazorla assisting four goals and Lukas Podolski claiming two of them, but Wenger reserved special praise for Walcott.

“They produced, they scored the goals,” added the Frenchman. “Walcott had a great night. From the start, out of the blocks, he was always the guy that was dangerous. They all stepped up and produced quality again.”

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