Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal will be without key man Aaron Ramsey throughout the festive period, with the Welshman potentially missing huge clashes with Liverpool and Chelsea in the coming weeks.
Speaking to the Independent, Wenger stated that the hamstring strain suffered by the Welsh international during Sunday's game at Southampton is worse than previously thought.
He said: "Of course Aaron Ramsey will not be available. I said that he will be out for a little longer and that will be maybe three weeks that he is not in contention."
Ramsey's injury woes could not have came at a worse time for Arsenal. As well as missing this weekend's game at home to Newcastle United and the Gunners' trips to West Brom and Crystal Palace, Ramsey is, as previously stated, due to be sidelined for two crucial games in the race for top four.
Arsenal's meeting with Liverpool takes place on 22nd December, while the key game against inner-city rivals Chelsea occurs on 3rd January.
The 26-year-old has been one of Arsenal's star performers this season; chipping in with an impressive three goals and six assists in 14 English Premier League games.
Ramsey also provided the Premier League with one of it's most astonishing feats of skill this season, deftly laying the ball into the path of Alexandre Lacazette when he was clean through on goal in Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at the start of December.
Ramsey's injury will likely give England international Jack Wilshere a chance to stake his claim for a regular starting berth at the Emirates. Dogged by injuries in recent years, Wilshere has struggled to live up to his projected potential.
After an unsuccessful loan spell at Bournemouth however, the 25-year-old has found himself in the Arsenal squad and without injury woes for the first time in a number of years.
Wenger will undoubtedly need Wilshere to perform well in Ramsey's absence if the Gunners are going to have a chance of finishing in the top four this season.