Arsenal will be without Thomas Partey for their crucial Boxing Day clash against Chelsea.
The midfielder has failed to recover from the thigh injury he picked up against Tottenham earlier this month.
Mikel Arteta was hopeful Partey would be fit to play some part against the Blues with Arsenal desperate for a result amid their dismal run.
However, an update on the Gunners’ official website stated Partey was ruled out, and explained: “Thomas is currently unavailable, but is progressing well to now working outside on close ball work, together with the continued focus on his overall fitness rehabilitation.”
Partey was one of three players who were touch and go for the meeting at The Emirates on Saturday.
While the 27-year-old will not be involved, both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli could still feature.
Arsenal’s captain has missed the last two fixtures with a calf strain but looks set to return to action in time to face Frank Lampard’s side.
“Auba is working hard with our medical team in order to regain full fitness as soon as possible,” Arsenal’s update read.
“[He] has now joined outside drills and will continue to be assessed regarding availability ahead of Saturday.”
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Martinelli only made his return to action following a six-month injury layoff on Wednesday, before going off with an injury.
“Sustained heavy impact and bruising to right shin during our match against Manchester City on Tuesday,” said the report.
“Gabi is recovering well and we hope he will be able to participate in full training ahead of Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Arteta has been urged to drop Willian against his former club, by Gunners legend Paul Merson.
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Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson said: “He’s been shocking. I’m a big fan of Willian and at Chelsea he was unbelievable. At times, he was unplayable but he is a shadow of his former self and I don’t know what it is.
“He’s the only one you can ask and again it must come down to confidence. I’m not sure he will play. He’s had enough chances to play, more than the other younger players.
“Arsenal’s big-name players haven’t been performing over the past six weeks or so and this is the problem Arteta has been having.
“[Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang scored the other day, but he’s not really looked like scoring. His body language hasn’t been great, Nicolas Pepe is not even starting all the time and Willian just looks like he’s being carried.”