Cesc Fabregas is a major doubt for Arsenal’s highly important Premier League clash at the start of October against Chelsea because of an injured hamstring.
The influential captain limped off in the recent draw with Sunderland and Arsenal have confirmed that he faces up to three weeks on the sidelines.
This means that Fabregas will definitely miss the Carling Cup game with north London rivals Tottenham, the Champions League game away at Partizan Belgrade and the league fixture at home to West Brom.
Manager Arsene Wenger may think that his team can cope without their playmaker for these games, but he will be sweating that Fabregas is fit to return against arguably their chief Premier League title rivals on October 3rd.
Arsenal are currently second in the Premier League table after three wins and two draws from their opening five games and are 6/1 to win the title come the end of the season.
If Fabregas is unable to return, then Wenger will be forced into assessing his other options as Arsenal look to bridge the current four-point gap on Chelsea.
The less creative but more combative Abou Diaby with the inexperienced Jack Wilshere in the middle of the midfield is one possibility.
Meanwhile, Samir Nasri comes close to matching Fabregas in terms of creativity, but may lack the tenacity to compete with the physical and all-action approach of Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Jon Obi Mikel in the middle of the park.
Wenger can test out some of these partnerships in the three games leading up to Chelsea, especially in their next league game against West Brom.
They are 1/6 to beat West Brom and have won the last five meetings between the two teams. See the whole Arsenal vs West Brom betting market.