Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League have suffered a major blow with the news that midfielder Abou Diaby won't play again in 2013 after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in training.
The French international, who has made 14 starts in all competitions this season amid a campaign hit by respective hamstring and hip injuries, will sit out the next nine months after suffering the injury during training on Wednesday.
A hamstring problem last season restricted Diaby to just four league appearances and his injury ravaged career has ended his year to leave Arsenal's midfield in desperate shape.
"The Club can confirm that Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament," an Arsenal statement read.
"Following consultations with specialists, Abou will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the near future. Abou is expected to be out for around eight to nine months.
"The thoughts and best wishes from everyone at Arsenal are with Abou, and we all wish him a successful recovery."
Jack Wilshere, who himself spent the whole of last season out with an ankle problem, remains on the side-lines for a further two weeks leaving manager Arsene Wenger with a selection dilemma ahead of the final nine games of the season.
Wenger confirmed Diaby had 'a little problem' during Thursday's press conference, but the injury appears to have manifested itself into an issue which ends the 26 year old's participation for the rest of the calendar year.
Arsenal sold Cameroon midfielder Alex Song in the summer to Barcelona, with Diaby regarded as the natural replacement having been compared by Wenger to former captain Patrick Vieira.
But a season again dominated by injuries has followed, and while Arsenal have benefitted from Diaby's presence sporadically this season, his infrequent appearances continue to frustrate.
The ex-Auxerre man claimed earlier this week that his injury problems were behind him.
"I have tried to look after myself a lot this season by having good treatment, a good recovery [period] and all the things that make a player better.
"I have improved my diet a lot, my lifestyle has always been OK because I don't go out too much and have always been a guy who stays at home and rests. I do all the exercises I need to improve my strength and my muscle weaknesses.
"I am still young and I know that I have many years left at the top level. I just need to look after myself every day and everything will be OK."