Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will miss the rest of the festive period after suffering a thigh strain against West Ham.
Ramsey was forced off after 64 minutes at Upton Park, with his withdrawal actually aiding the Gunners -- the Welshman’s replacement Lukas Podolski scoring one and setting up another as Arsenal claimed a 3-1 come-from-behind victory.
News of the injury to Ramsey, who was celebrating his birthday, will nevertheless be a blow for Arsene Wenger as the midfielder has been his outstanding player this season.
“It looks like a thigh strain,'' Wenger said. “For me, I don't know how serious the thigh strain is but the Christmas period is certainly over for him. It was his birthday today.
“I don't know how long it will be. We will have to see tomorrow [Friday]morning. He knew straight away, but we have to see.''
Ramsey appears certain to miss Sunday’s game against Newcastle and next Wednesday’s clash with Cardiff, with Arsenal fans likely to be keeping their fingers crossed he will be ready to return for next weekend’s FA Cup third round showdown with Tottenham.
Wenger was delighted with the resilience his team showed to fight back against West Ham, with the victory taking the Gunners back to the top of the Premier League table.
“I was delighted,'' the Frenchman said. “Overall, I feel we controlled the game but felt we had a difficult period where the game could have changed.
“That was in the first 10 minutes of the second half when West Ham scored and they had a header from a cross, which could have been 2-0. That was certainly the turning point of that game and after that we had plenty of chances.
“We couldn't take our chances in the first half and we responded very well in second half, in the end winning the game in a convincing way.
“I have confidence in my team - I have confidence but I also worry. That is the nature of the game, you always worry. I am proud of the character of this team because they are always focused and try to do well. They responded, but football is football.''