Arsene Wenger has described the tackle which injured Lucas Perez as “stupid” and compared it to the challenge which saw Granit Xhaka sent off against Swansea City. Perez picked up the knock in the midweek match against Reading and will now miss up to two months with injury.
It was a bitter blow when Lucas Perez was ruled out for the next six to eight weeks and Arsene Wenger has spoken about the injury for the first time. Perez was hit by a late challenge from Reading defender Danzell Gravenberch and was subbed off just a few minutes later. Wenger used his pre-match press conference to criticise the challenge.
“No, it was not needed but I think it was the more frustrated reaction from the player, he had no chance of getting the ball,” Wenger told the press, “sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you get a bad injury, but in this case it’s unfortunate.”
“It was a kick, a deliberate kick and it was a similar tackle to Xhaka but it was no red card but anyway, the red card would not have helped Perez.”
The parallel between the Gravenberch tackle and the Xhaka red card is interesting. There was another example from the Reading match when defender Liam Moore cynically brought down Olivier Giroud with no chance of winning the ball and was awarded a yellow card. Wenger certainly still feels aggrieved by the Xhaka sending off which begs the question, why didn’t the club appeal?
Regardless of that, Wenger certainly seemed angrier with the challenge in Perez, and frankly, who can blame him? There was no attempt to win the ball from Gravenberch who had only been on the field for a few minutes before the tackle. Losing the Spaniard at a time when he was so close to breaking into the starting lineup is a big blow, and Wenger seems aware of it.
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“Yes, it’s very frustrating. He worked very hard to get there and now he is close, he’s absolutely gutted because it’s an injury coming from nowhere and a stupid one.”
Hopefully, Perez can work hard to come back and break into the first team before the end of the New Year. Arsenal will undoubtedly need options up front going into the Christmas period and the forward’s return could come at a good time.