Red alert: Cazorla is hoping to return to first-team action within weeks

By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Santi Cazorla is facing another month on the sidelines as he battles to play for Arsenal again this season, Football Insider sources understand.

Cazorla has been out since late November, initially with knee ligament damage but then he suffered an achilles injury in the final stages of his rehabilitation.

The midfielder claimed on his Twitter account at the start of March that he would “be ready on 1st April” but that has proved to be an overly optimistic assessment.

An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that Cazorla’s comeback has once again been delayed and he is not expected to be available for the first team until the start of May.

The Spaniard now faces a race against time to kick a ball again this season in what is a blow for Arsene Wenger’s team in their against-the-odds Premier League title quest.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Arsenal are 11 points behind leaders Leicester with a game in hand as they prepare to host Watford in Saturday’s clash at Emirates Stadium.

Cazorla had initially been pencilled in for a return in early March but he suffered an Achilles problem just as he was on the verge of completing his recovery from a knee injury.

The Spaniard reacted to reports that he had suffered a setback by claiming on his official Twitter account that he hoped to be back within a month.

Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from and Wenger admitted before the international break that Cazorla was not close to a first-team return.

“Cazorla[’s recovery] is slow,” explained the manager. “Cazorla’s knee is perfect. He has a little achilles problem.”

In other Arsenal injury news, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out until the end of April with a knee injury sustained last month.