Arsenal will be without top scorer Samir Nasri when they welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
The French midfielder injured his hamstring in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, and manager Arsene Wenger confirmed he would be unavailable for the Premier League clash against David Moyes’ side.
“Nasri looks to have a serious hamstring injury,” Wenger said. “Usually it is three weeks (out), we have to see if it is a grade one (strain) because that can be two (weeks).”
“It is a big blow, how big I do not know because the results in the future will tell, but it is a big blow.”
Arsenal are still alive in four competitions this season and Tuesday’s clash with Everton could be pivotal to their hopes of winning the league for the first time since 2004.
The Gunners trail league leaders Manchester United by five points after 23 matches but Wenger said it would be tough to maintain their run in the Premier League, Champions League, Carling Cup and FA Cup.
“History shows it’s extremely difficult,” Wenger said. “It’s difficult to tell my players not to go for this competition and that competition now as we are in there.”
“It’s the important part of the season not to lose your players. When you go into the final sprint, it’s important you have all your best players available.”
Injuries could prove to be a hurdle for Arsenal, with Nasri joining Denilson, Barcary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen on the injury list.
Everton will arrive in London full of confidence after drawing 1-1 with defending champions Chelsea in their fourth-round FA Cup tie on Saturday.
Moyes’ side were unlucky not to win the match, with Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell dominant in the midfield and Louis Saha scoring his seventh goal in eight matches against Chelsea.
Everton have had a nasty habit of drawing winnable games this season, with a record of five wins, 12 draws and six losses in the Premier League so far this season.
They will be buoyed by the likely return of their top scorer Tim Cahill, who returns to the side on Tuesday after a month away with the Australian national side, who lost the final of the Asian Cup to Japan on Saturday.