Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy have been ruled out for three months each following injuries to ankle and shoulder respectively.
Arteta has had surgery to remove a bony spur in his ankle, reports Arsenal.com, and now begins a rehabilitation process.
On Debuchy, Arsene Wenger said:
It’s very unfortunate for Mathieu, it’s unbelievable because he’s had two surgeries in the same season. He just came back, he played seven games and he’s out again. I count three months out for Mathieu because contact will be a problem for the shoulder.
It’s a real blow as an Arsenal fan, for both players would be near certainties to start in Arsene Wenger’s first choice XI if everyone is fit, but the one positive is that the news comes in the January transfer window rather than in February when we wouldn’t be able to replace them.
In the absence of Arteta, we recalled Francis Coquelin from his loan to Charlton Athletic, and while he has performed credibly, it’s hard not to hope that we sign an upgrade on him and his French compatriot Mathieu Flamini this month.