Arsenal are reportedly sweating on the fitness of another midfield player as they access severity of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's groin injury in the next couple of days.
The 21-year-old was handed a start by manger Arsene Wenger during Arsenal's 4-1 win against Newcastle United on Saturday despite the midfielder having an inflammation in his groin.
Wenger's decision to start Oxlade-Chamberlain proved to be a big gamble as his injury worsened and the midfielder was forced out of the pitch towards the end of the game.
"I wanted to take him off and then he takes the ball and crosses the whole pitch and cannot run anymore," said Wenger, on being asked why he did not remove Oxlade-Chamberlain earlier, according to ESPN.
As Arsenal already have the likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey on the sidelines, a long-term injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain would certainly prove to be a big blow especially during the hectic schedule in the festive season.
"We cannot afford to lose him at the moment," said Wenger, adding that he may have overplayed the England midfielder last week. "He's got a pain in his groin. I took him to Galatasaray [last Tuesday] and maybe two games was a lot for him."
The 65-year-old revealed that he has given a three day Christmas break to his players so they can rest and recharge their batteries ahead of their hectic schedule towards the end of December, where they play three Premier League fixtures within a single week.
"I've given the players some days off for their Christmas and we come back on Wednesday to prepare for Sunday," he added. "Most of them will stay in England because their families are here. When you count the number of games, including the Champions League, it's important to have a break."
Meanwhile, Wenger praised the performances of Olivier Giroud, who recently returned to the squad, following his brace against Newcastle United on Sunday.
"He is like an English centre forward," said Wenger. "He has had a positive mental impact as well as a positive physical impact. He gives us different options because we can go for a longer ball."