Arsene Wenger looks set to turn to Croatia marksman Eduardo as the new head of Arsenal's frontline after Robin van Persie was ruled out for at least six weeks with an ankle injury.
The loss of the Holland forward - who has scored eight goals and emerged as one of the Gunners' key figures during a 13-match unbeaten run - could not have come at a worse time for Wenger, who is already without Nicklas Bendtner until early December because of a groin problem.
While there is an outside chance England forward Theo Walcott could be in contention for the visit of Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea on November 29 after a knee injury, Eduardo is the most likely to be deployed as the central striker of what had been a free-scoring, fluid 4-3-3 system at Sunderland this weekend.
The Brazilian-born forward, who has battled back after spending almost a year on the sidelines with a broken ankle, scored twice in Croatia's 5-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein.
Eduardo replaced Bendtner in the 3-0 win over Tottenham and missed a couple of good chances to chalk up a first strike since mid-September.
Although the Croatian could be somewhat aggrieved not to have been credited with Arsenal's second goal at Wolves, when his chip was deflected in off defender Jody Craddock, he remains confident the rewards of continued hard work will come.
"Against Tottenham I missed one big chance in particular, when I was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Maybe I had too much time to think about what I had to do," the 26-year-old said.
"Sometimes it is better when you have less time to think and can act instinctively.
"But I will not worry about that chance, I feel strong in my head and my body.
"It is good that I was in the position to have the chance because if you keep doing that, then the goals will come."
Van Persie, 26, will return to London later this week to continue his rehabilitation.
However, even if all goes well, Wenger must count without the skilful Dutchman - who suffered the injury during the friendly against Italy on Saturday - until probably after Christmas, with FA Cup third-round weekend on January 2/3 a more realistic comeback date.
As well as the visit of Chelsea - whom Arsenal trail by five points but with a match in hand - van Persie will also be unavailable for the Carling Cup quarter-final clash against Manchester City, the potential Champions League Group H decider at Olympiacos as well as the trip to Liverpool and most likely the Boxing Day date against Aston Villa.
A statement from Arsenal read: "Following the care given to van Persie by the Dutch FA, he will travel back to London this week and continue his treatment with the Arsenal medical team at London Colney.
"Van Persie will be out of action for approximately six weeks."
While no specific timeframe has been set for Bendtner's rehabilitation, it is hoped the Denmark striker could return by early December.
Brazilian midfielder Denilson, who has been sidelined since mid-September by a back problem, is expected to be available after the international break, but defender Gael Clichy, who is recovering from a similar problem, needs more recovery time.
Arsenal had been linked with a move for Bordeaux forward Marouane Chamakh in the summer and could renew their interest in January should Wenger decide his squad is light in attack.
However, pacey youngsters Carlos Vela - who has impressed as an impact player and in the Carling Cup - and London-born Sanchez Watt, who has been involved with the first-team in Europe this season, already provide some cover.Reuse content