Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is today reflecting on his gamble to play Patrick Vieira against Valencia.

Vieira, Arsenal’s captain limped off after 37 minutes of last night’s Champions League game at Highbury, which ended 0-0. He is expected to miss Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham. ‘Patrick was insistent on playing and felt good,’ Wenger said.

‘Medically he got the green light, and I decided to give him a test on the pitch. I took the gamble to takehim off if he didn’t feel good in the warm-up. But he felt good, so that’s all you can want.

‘It’s strange that he injured his leg on the other side but in exactly the same place and in the same muscle. Maybe he was over-protecting his leg,’ Wenger suggested.

‘I took the same gamble in Rome with Oleg Luzhny, and it worked. You have to accept it when you take these kind of decisions. Of course, after the game it does not look the best of decisions. But you know that, psychologically, Patrick has an influence on the team.

‘For the other players to feel him there at the start of the game is important.’ As well as the Spurs game, Vieira may also miss Christmas games against ÿ Middlesbrough, West Brom, Liverpool and Chelsea. ‘It is difficult to predict how long he will be out for,’ Wenger said.

‘There is not yet any clear answer from the doctors, although it looks like he will certainly be out this weekend.

‘That’s certainly not ideal, but we have afew days now to reflect on it and for him to recover. Maybe we will have a positive surprise.’