Two weeks out from Arsenal's 2016/17 Premier League opener against Liverpool, Arsene Wenger's options in midfield appear to be dwindling by the day.
The Frenchman has already admitted Arsenal's Euro 2016 contingent - including Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey - are unlikely to be ready for the game against Liverpool, while Jack Wilshere's fitness concerns resurfaced during last night's pre-season game against Chivas.
And now Wenger has revealed that another midfielder is set to miss the start of the Premier League campaign due to his own struggles for full fitness.
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"At the moment he is not completely there on the fitness front," the Arsenal boss said of Santi Cazorla, via ESPN. "That's why I took him off at half-time (against Chivas).
"He's a bit behind the others physically but I think he will be alright, maybe not on Aug. 15, but at the end of August he should be alright."
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With the opening day fixture coming against a Liverpool side who, under Jurgen Klopp, appear ready to make big strides after a couple of disappointing seasons, the idea of Cazorla also sitting out the game will concern Arsenal fans.
If the Spaniard were to be unavailable, it would leave Arsenal without three would-be starters in midfield as they welcome Liverpool to the Emirates on August 15, as well as Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny.
Cazorla, of course, is coming back from knee and Achilles problems that limited him to just one appearance - on the last day of last season - in the final five months of the 2015/16 campaign.
It was hoped, though, that the 31-year-old would be fully fit and raring to go for the new season after the summer to recover and a good pre-season under his belt.
With several key figures likely to be limited in the first weeks of the new campaign, it will put further pressure on those who are fit and available for Wenger to choose from.
Fans of the north London club will, therefore, be hoping that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can carry his excellent pre-season form into competitive games.
The winger scored another impressive goal as Arsenal beat Chivas 3-1 on Sunday night, and Wenger admitted this year was a very important one for him.
"It's a very important season for him. He has been out for a long, long time," the long-serving manager said. "[He gives us] power, penetration. He has it all, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain."
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