Friday, January 25, 2008

Kolo Toure Injured In Ivory Coast Match

Arsenal and Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure may have picked up a long term injury on international duty with his country. The center back was stretchered off on the stroke of half time as his country defeated Benin 4-1 in the African Cup of Nations.

Toure set up a goal for his brother, Barcelona's Yaya Toure, in the 44th minute, but was stretchered off holding his groin minutes later. The injury is suspected to be a groin strain, which could keep the defender out for two to three weeks.

With the African Cup of Nations due to end on February 10th, Kolo Toure is unlikely to feature again for the Ivory Coast in this tournament. Due to the nature of his injury, Toure could be out for as long as six or more weeks, making him a major doubt for the Gunners February 11th fixture against Blackburn even in the unlikely situation that his country fails to make it far into the tournament.

More importantly, Toure could miss Arsenal's Champions League knockout stage match against AC Milan at the Emirates on February 20th.

The central defender, one of the most important figures in the Arsenal squad, has already been sorely missed during his Cup of Nations absence. His presence could be one of the key factors in Arsenal's chances of progression to the next round.

Although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos, and Alex Song to replace Toure at center back, Gunners fans will feel far more secure as soon as their first-choice central defensive pairing is ready to play.

Wenger will be hoping that Toure's injury is not as serious as expected, as the defender's injury could, in part, decide this season's Premier League winners.