Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he'll finally learn the full extent of Jack Wilshere's ankle injury later today, with the midfielder booked in to see a specialist in a meeting that could well shape the club's stuttering season.
Wilshere suffered the fresh injury blow in last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, a match which largely tells the frustrating story of the England international's career over the last few years.
The 22-year-old started brightly before missing an absolute sitter from close range, was fortunate not to be sent off after leaning his head into Marouane Fellaini and then limped off after being brought down by Paddy McNair.
Wenger facing anxious 24 hours
Thankfully for Wenger and Arsenal fans Wilshere wasn't missed during last night's Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund, a match which saw the Gunners produce their best display of the season in a 2-0 win which guarantees a place in the knockout stages for the 15th successive season.
Despite producing a vastly-improved performance Arsenal suffered another cruel injury blow, which Mikel Arteta picking up what looks like a serious calf problem. With Arteta facing another spell on the sidelines Arsenal desperately need a favourable diagnosis on Wilshere, but one way or the other will learn how long their midfield maestro is likely to be sidelined later today.
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Will Wilshere need an operation?
Following a successful night's work against Dortmund the Arsenal boss was asked if tabloid reports earlier this week suggesting Wilshere will need surgery hold any weight.
Wenger offered a swift response, with the true answer to that question likely to become public knowledge by the end of this week.
The Frenchman told reporters: "The specialist will decide that. Wilshere sees a specialist [on Thursday], then we'll know more."
Midfield options bare for West Brom
Whatever the specialist's diagnosis Wenger will definitely have to plan for this Saturday's trip to the Hawthorns without both Wilshere and Arteta, which central midfield options looking worryingly thin.
Mathieu Flamini looks a safe bet to take Arteta's place alongside Aaron Ramsey against West Bromwich Albion, while the largely peripheral Tomas Rosicky may be required to play a more active role over the next few weeks.
Arsenal simply cannot afford a third successive Premier League defeat and will be hoping to build on the morale-boosting win over Dortmund, but past that fixture the disappointment surrounding Wilshere's continued struggles with injury must be a major concern for Wenger.
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