Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he does not know when injury plagued star Abou Diaby will return to action, saying he is in “no man’s land”.
The France international started the season in good form and was a key component in the Gunners solid early season form.
However, he was forced to be withdrawn early in the loss to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium at the end of September with a thigh complaint and has been out since.
Wenger appeared frustrated with the situation, which has seen Diaby miss the Gunners’ last 17 games.
While it may not be directly attributable to Diaby’s absence, Arsenal’s form began to falter from around that time and Wenger admitted medical staff at the club would not put a date on his return to action as they could not be certain, all they knew was that it would not be in the near future.
“Slow progress. I cannot give you any fixed date because we are a bit in no man's land on that front,” he told the official Arsenal website.
“He is working. We are waiting for him to come back but he is not ready. Over Christmas? Certainly not.”
Arsenal’s training ground is unlikely to have been the happiest of places in the past few days, as the fallout from the humiliating penalty shoot-out defeat to Bradford City in the League Cup quarter-final has lead to unprecedented scrutiny on Wenger’s future as manager.
The Gunners will have to wait a few days before they can get themselves back on track, however, as their next fixture is the Premier League clash away to Reading on Monday night.