Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Aaron Ramsey will miss the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on 15 February after suffering a calf strain in his side's 2-1 defeat by Watford. The Welshman had to be substituted early in the first half against Walter Mazzarri's men and his injury leaves Arsenal's central midfield options incredibly threadbare ahead of their visit to Chelsea on Saturday.
Wenger says Ramsey will be out for approximately 21 days – he could return for the Gunners' FA Cup fifth-round clash against Sutton United on 20 February – but was positive about Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's chances of facing the league leaders. The Arsenal boss revealed that the pair are having tests on the knocks they suffered against Watford in midweek but is confident of having the attackers at his disposal against Chelsea.
He also hinted at a recall for Danny Welbeck, who scored twice against Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend but was left out of the squad that lost to Watford as the club continue to manage his recovery from a long-term knee injury.
"We lost Ramsey and Giroud has a test but he should be alright," Wenger said in his pre-match press conference. "Welbeck may come back into the group and that is it. Chamberlain has a test today but I think he'll be alright. Ramsey will be out for 21 days."
With Ramsey and Santi Cazorla injured, Granit Xhaka suspended and Mohamed Elneny away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Frances Coquelin is the only recognised first-team central midfielder currently available to Wenger. The Frenchman attempted to play down the issue surrounding his engine room and believes young starlets like Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles can take the step up.
"We are a bit short [in midfield] at the moment but we have young players who can do well," Wenger added. "We have Adelaide, Maitland Niles, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi can play there and Elneny will come back after Sunday."