AFCON calling imminently
Now in November, Arsenal are one month and two days away from their African stars departing for the African Cup of Nations, which they are due to do on Boxing day.
For the Gunners, this will see them lose both Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from their forward line.
It is in midfield, however, that the problems begin to mount. Both Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are due to be away for up to month, and miss up to seven Arsenal fixtures depending on how far their respective nations get in the competition.
At present then, this will leave Arsenal with just Ainsley Maitland-Niles and summer signing Sambi Lokonga as senior options in central midfield, thanks to a Granit Xhaka injury sustained in the North London derby victory at the end of September.
Or will it?
Granit Xhaka issues positive update
There were fears Granit Xhaka could be out for the season when he limped off the pitch against Tottenham, following an innocuous challenge with Lucas Moura just before the Spurs goal.
However, these fears have been somewhat allayed by the club, who revealed that Xhaka is aiming to be back in full training by January.
Xhaka, however, has provided even better news. Speaking to a Borussia Monchenglabach fan podcast (relayed via Blick), the Switzerland captain revealed:
“I hope to celebrate my comeback as soon as possible. I’ve been gone seven weeks and a few days now.”
He then offered a comeback plan, saying:
“The bone was also broken twice. The problem with the bone is that it takes so long. I hope to be back in the next three or four weeks.”
This will come as music to the ears of Arsenal fans, with four weeks being around the time that they are set to lose their African players.
Xhaka would be a welcome return.