Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that striker Danny Welbeck's injury situation has worsened and does not expect the player to return until February.
The 25-year-old sustained a knee injury in April and was initially pencilled in for a return to action at the turn of the year.
However, the England international's injury situation has not improved significantly, with Wenger suggesting that Welbeck's knee problem has in fact 'deteriorated'.
"Unfortunately he was injured at the end of April and we are now at the end of December and he is still not available because of a bone bruising," Wenger said.
"That deteriorated and it is a big blow to us. Especially now we cannot rotate."
The news of Welbeck's injury will be a cause of concern for Gunners supporters, especially in the continued absence of Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere.
The games will come thick and fast over the festive period, starting with Monday's highly anticipated clash with fellow title hopefuls Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.