Aaron Ramsey appears to be facing a race against time to be fit for the Carabao Cup final showdown with Manchester City on 25 February after being ruled out of both of Arsenal's Europa League last-32 matches against Swedish minnows Ostersunds FK.
Ramsey netted the first hat-trick of his Gunners career in the 5-1 Premier League thrashing of Everton on 3 February, but missed the subsequent north London derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur due to a groin injury that was initially described as "minor" by the club.
It was the latest setback of an increasingly stop-start campaign for the Welsh international, who recently missed a month of action with a hamstring problem and was also bothered by a calf complaint at the beginning of the season.
Providing an update on Ramsey during a press conference held in advance of that first encounter with Ostersunds at the 9,000-capacity Jamtkraft Arena in northern Sweden on Thursday (14 February), Arsene Wenger admitted that his recovery was not progressing as quickly as expected and that he would not play in either contest.
With their pitiful FA Cup defence ended by a shock third-round defeat at the hands of Championship side Nottingham Forest in early January, Arsenal have no fixture in between their first Europa League knockout ties, meaning they have no need to rest players as they did throughout the group stages.
The Carabao Cup final at Wembley comes just three days after the second leg in north London.
"Ramsey is a little bit of a sensitive case," the manager told reporters, as relayed by The Mirror. "He doesn't move forward as quickly as I expected. Today I would say certainly he will not be available for the second game against Ostersunds. Maybe for the cup final."
With £56m ($78.3m) January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible for Europa League duty as the result of former club Borussia Dortmund's involvement in the competition, Arsenal's preparations for Ostersunds were dealt a further blow earlier this week after previous record signing Alexandre Lacazette was ruled out for between four and six weeks after undergoing an arthroscopy on his left knee.
Long-term absentee Santi Cazorla (achilles) remains sidelined, while Wenger confirmed that goalkeeper Petr Cech, defensive stalwart Laurent Koscielny and midfielder Jack Wilshere had all been left at home.
"Of course you have heard about Lacazette," he said. "Apart from that Wilshere, Koscielny, Cech have stayed behind. Everyone else has travelled."
The Arsenal boss, yet to settle on a captain for the first leg with Per Mertesacker unlikely to feature and Koscielny out, defended his decision to train at London Colney and not in Sweden ahead of the game that will take place in plummeting temperatures on an artificial pitch.
He also labelled the game as a good chance for Danny Welbeck - Arsenal's only fit and available senior forward with Aubameyang and Lacazette out and Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott having all left the club in January - to impress.
"It's where I prefer him," he said. "It's an opportunity for him to do well. I have seen today he is sharper than a long time."