Arsenal have been dealt another major blow with the news that Thomas Vermaelen will be out of action for up to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on his ankle.
The 25-year-old Belgian defender has endured an injury plagued two-year spell with the Gunners, after missing the majority of the last campaign with a prolonged achilles problem.
The fresh injury, this time sustained on his left side, was picked up in the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Udinese in Italy, and later ruled him out of the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Manchester United.
It is understood that Arsene Wenger opted to send the crocked star to Sweden to quickly begin rehabilitation, with Vermaelen going under the knife in Stockholm yesterday.
The latest setback only adds to Arsenal's injury woes, after news broke over the weekend that Jack Wilshere will be out of action for two to three months because of an ankle problem picked up in pre-season.
As the Gunners prepare to face Swansea at the Emirates Stadium this weekend, Wenger will also be without the services of Emmanuel Frimpong, Gervinho and Alex Song, who are all ruled out with Barclays Premier League suspensions.
Deadline day deals for Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker will go some way to filling the Gunners' injury-ravaged back line, as Arsenal look to banish their poor early season form and resurrect their fledgling domestic campaign.