Arsenal are hopeful Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can hand them a New Year boost by returning from injury for the clash against Crystal Palace on 1 January.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that the Gunners attacker had suffered a muscular injury during Arsenal's 2-1 loss to Manchester City on 18 December and was replaced by Mohamed Elneny just 13 minutes after he came on in place of Alex Iwobi. Oxlade-Chamberlain was in good form prior to his injury and the Frenchman will hope that he can carry on when he makes his return against the Eagles.
The London Evening Standard said that the north London club are hopeful that he can take some part during the festive period. He is certain to miss the Boxing Day clash against West Bromwich Albion, but with Arsenal facing back-to-back games against Palace and Bournemouth on 1 and 4 January respectively; Oxlade-Chamberlain's return will provide a timely boost to the manager.
Wenger's team is coming off of a bad week in the league as back-to-back losses to Everton and City have seen them drop to fourth place in the league and they are currently nine points behind leaders Chelsea. The French coach will be keen to take maximum points from their next three games during the Christmas and New Year period to stay in touch in the title race.
Arsenal are also without Shkodran Mustafi, who suffered a hamstring injury during their win over Stoke City and has missed the last two games. The Germany international had formed a strong partnership with Laurent Koscielny and is expected to be out until 2017.
Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla are the other absentees from the first-team squad. The former two have returned from long-term injuries and are currently closing in on a return to full training with the rest of the squad, while the latter is a more long-term absentee after recently undergoing surgery to correct a long standing Achilles injury.