Unai Emery has confirmed that Shkodran Mustafi only suffered a 'small injury' in Arsenal's win over Fulham on New Year's Day and will not spend much time on the sidelines.
Mustafi was replaced by Lucas Torreira at half time with Arsenal 1-0 up, causing considerable concern. The Gunners are already short staffed in defence, with Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin all recovering from injuries.
Arsenal went on to win 4-1 and Emery allayed concerns over Mustafi's injury after the match, explaining that the substitution had been merely a precautionary measure.
"It’s a small injury, a small problem," said the Spaniard, quoted by football.london. "He didn’t feel well after the first half and said for us to change. It’s not a big injury.
"He wanted to play today to help us, so maybe we can give him a few days rest to help us," added Emery, who confirmed that it was a hamstring injury which had forced Mustafi off early.
This is a recurrence of the hamstring injury which saw Mustafi miss Arsenal's fixtures against Burnley and Brighton last month. Prior to that, the German had started every Premier League match for which he was available since Emery arrived in the summer.
Mustafi is likely to be one of many first team players who are rested for next week's trip to Blackpool as Emery takes advantage of the FA Cup third round to give his key players a rest.
The Gunners are not back in Premier League action until they visit West Ham on 12 January, by which time Mustafi should have made a full recovery.