Arsenal have been handed a significant injury blow ahead of their clash with Aston Villa at Saturday Lunchtime as it looks increasingly unlikely that Takehiro Tomiyasu will be fit to play any part in the encounter.
The Japanese defender has been missing from action since the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, in which Arsenal fell to a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool. Having been rushed back from a thigh injury to play some part in the tie, the Arsenal man picked up another injury in his other thigh, that has kept him sidelined for the six weeks since.
And now, the most telling evidence that he may not be fit enough for the trip against Aston Villa has emerged as the defender has been left out of Japan's international squad for their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers with Australia and Vietnam.
It means that, while he won't go and join up with fellow Premier League player Takumi Minamino in the Japan squad, he will be able to boost his fitness at London Colney before Arsenal's trip to Crystal Palace at the beginning of April.
Arsenal facing rare fixture pile up
In a season that doesn't contain European football, and in which Arsenal have just one competition left to play in, it is odd to hear a manager complaining about fixtures. However, that is precisely what Mikel Arteta did following his side's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in a game that was bizarrely handed an 8.15 Kick off.
'Thank you so much to the Premier League to do that', he said sarcastically, when asked about the quick turnaround.
'And they’ve done it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United.'
'So if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today, thank you so much for doing that.'
He will be hoping that his youthful side can continue their energetic performances despite the lack of rest.