Arsenal have been rocked by the news that midfield maestro Jack Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture to the navicular bone in his left foot on international duty last night, ruling him out for a minimum of six weeks.
Wilshere was caught by a late challenge from Liverpool defender Daniel Agger on England duty against Denmark at Wembley yesterday, but still managed to complete 59 minutes before hobbling off to be replaced by Adam Lallana.
Gunners fans may have thought his presence on the pitch in the second half was a positive sign, but scans conducted by the FA coupled with further investigation by Arsenal's medical team this morning have revealed otherwise.
Arsenal's official website have this afternoon have confirmed that the 22-year-old will need six weeks' rehabilitation before being considered ready to resume first-team football, dealing the Gunners another cruel blow to their fading title hopes.
Wing wizard Theo Walcott has already been ruled out for the rest of the campaign, while Aaron Ramsey has not featured since Boxing Day following persistent thigh trouble.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will now be without an influential midfielder for a tough run of games ahead, which includes a run of four Premier League clashes which sees the title chasers face Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in quick succession.
Wenger will hope to have both Ramsey and Kim Kallstrom available at the earliest possible opportunity, with cup clashes against Everton and Bayern Munich looming large in the space of three days.