Arsenal suffered the latest in series of injury problems yesterday when it was revealed that Samir Nasri will be out of action for around a month with a knee problem.
Arsène Wenger's team started the new Premier League campaign at Liverpool on Sunday with an already depleted squad but managed to salvage a 1-1 draw. However, Wenger must also now do without the versatile Nasri for probably the next five games, which also include the start of the Champions League campaign in mid-September.
A club statement read: "Samir Nasri will today undergo minor surgery on his knee following a meniscal injury sustained during the match against Liverpool on Sunday. Nasri, who has been in impressive form, will be out of action for a month."
The captain Cesc Fabregas missed the trip to Anfield because of illness, but the World Cup winner – now fully focused on Arsenal after a much-hyped, big-money summer move to Barcelona failed to materialise – is expected to be back in contention for the visit of Blackpool to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
However, with Alex Song hampered by a calf injury that kept the Cameroon midfielder on the bench at Liverpool, Denilson not making the trip to Merseyside at all because of an abdominal problem and Aaron Ramsey still some way from a return after his broken leg last season, England teenager Jack Wilshere could be in line for only his second Premier League start against the newly-promoted side.
Wenger, though, has more worries in the centre of defence. Summer signing Laurent Koscielny will serve a suspension after his sending-off for two late yellow cards at Anfield. If Johan Djourou, just back from a long-term knee injury, fails to makes a quick recovery from his hamstring problem, Song could be asked to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of Arsenal's back line.
The Arsenal manager, meanwhile, must also make a decision on his goalkeeper. Manuel Almunia, whose position asNo 1 has come under the spotlight, captained the side at Liverpool, but the Spaniard admits he would consider his future were the club to sign experienced competition such as Fulham's Mark Schwarzer or possibly Shay Given of Manchester City.
Wenger looks likeliest to move for Schwarzer, who is reported to have handed in a transfer request after Fulham rejected a £2m summer bid.
The former Arsenal and England goalkeeper David Seaman believes Schwarzer would be an improvement on both Almunia and his deputy Lukasz Fabianski. "Both Almunia and Fabianski did not end the season well," said Seaman. "They both made mistakes in high-profile games that effectively cost them the chance of some silverware. It means if the quality of someone like Mark Schwarzer becomes available, then Arsène needs to look at him. He is a great player, tried and tested, and can make saves that win you games."