Arsenal will have to compete for the remaining Champions League spots without the services of Mikel Arteta, who suffered an ankle ligament injury during Monday’s 1-2 home defeat to Wigan.
The Spanish midfielder rolled his ankle when trying to cross the ball during the opening minutes of a defeat which could have a big impact on Arsenal’s final placing at the end of the season.
The 30 year-old was having his injury treated off the pitch when Wigan scored their second goal of the game on Monday night (in the eighth minute of that game) but he was unable to continue thereafter.
Scans have since revealed no break but the ligament damage is serious enough to keep the man who joined the Gunners from Everton out of action for the rest of the campaign.
The news comes at a bad time for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as Arteta has become a vital cog in the Arsenal midfield this season having signed on transfer deadline day for £10million last summer.
Wenger is now faced with a selection headache as Jack Wilshere will not play again this campaign, while Abou Diaby is not yet fully recovered from injury.
With Yossi Benayoun unable to play against his parent club, Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey is the most likely available option to come in for Arteta.
Arsenal are currently third in the Premier League table with 64 points; five points clear of Tottenham and Newcastle in the battle for the remaining Champions League places. The Gunners opponents on Saturday; Chelsea are on 57 points and still well in the hunt for that final Champions League berth.
Arsenal have four games still to play this season, their rivals immediately below them (that is Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea) all have five more games.