Arsenal have been dealt a potentially sizable fitness blow ahead of their derby clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.
According to The Guardian, midfielder Aaron Ramsey is not expected to make his return for the match against the Gunners' fiercest rivals, despite initially appearing to target it for his comeback and returning to first-team training at the start of last week.
It would appear that the Welsh international, who signed for Arsenal from Cardiff City back in 2008, is not yet reaching the desired fitness levels necessary for him to feature at the weekend.
23-year-old Ramsey started the season in truly magnificent form for Arsenal, scoring eight goals and providing six assists during his first 18 games of the new Premier League season and helping Arsene Wenger's side to bounce back from a dreadful opening day defeat to Aston Villa to establish themselves as genuine title contenders.
However, despite enjoying such an electric and prosperous start, Ramsey's stellar 2013/14 campaign - which up until that point had been a fine riposte to those Arsenal fans who had begun to seriously doubt his abilities - was cruelly interrupted after he suffered a thigh injury against West Ham on Boxing Day.
A Ramsey return would have presumably been most welcome for Wenger, with his midfield options depleted slightly by the news that German playmaker Mesut Ozil is set to miss around six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the second leg of Arsenal's Champions League last 16 tie against holders Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening.