Arsene Wenger has revealed that the absence of Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey will serve as a big blow for Arsenal as they dropped points at Southampton.
The Gunners are currently top of the table but have played one more game than their closest rivals and are two ahead points of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Ramsey has been out of action since the end of December and while he returned to training for the side on Monday Wenger has confirmed the worst, admitting that the Wales international suffered another setback.
"Aaron Ramsey is out for longer than we expected because he had a little setback in training yesterday," he told Arsenal media. "So I couldn't bring him here [to play Southampton]. It's the same muscle he did a bit again so we have to be cautious this time."
Meanwhile Flamini will miss three games after being shown a red card in the game with Southampton, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
While Wenger believes that the decision from the referee was harsh he says the side will cope with the situation as they face more problems in their midfield department.
"To me it looked harsh," the manager explained. "He got the ball. At the some stage you have all the feet off the ground, when you want to run you need to put your feet off the ground.
"If you say that every time a guy who makes two-footed tackle it is a red card, he deserves a red card. If you say was it a violent tackle, I would say no because he played the ball. But the referee made this decision and we have to cope with it."
But asked if it was a big blow being without Flamini and Ramsey, Wenger responded: "Yes."