Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin will be out for at least two months after suffering knee ligament damage in Saturday's defeat at West Brom, manager Arsene Wenger has announced.
The Gunners missed the opportunity to move to the top of the Premier League as they slipped to a 2-1 loss at the Hawthorns - with the serious injury to Coquelin now leaving Wenger without a mainstay of his side over the busy festive period.
The 24-year-old has developed into a first-team regular at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger is hoping a scan later on Monday does not rule the France international out for even longer.
"I'm always a bit cautious," he said when asked about the seriousness of Coquelin's injury.
"It is a least two months but I'm cautious as we had so many bad surprises on scans that I do not want to speculate more than that. Certainly for the next two months we play without Coquelin."