Mikel Arteta has revealed he could be without as many as eight first-team players when Arsenal travel to face Bournemouth on Saturday.
England pair Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice picked up injuries in the north London derby draw with Tottenham last weekend and since then both William Saliba and Fabio Vieira have suffered setbacks.
Those issues only add to Arteta’s concerns, with forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard missing the derby and Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey having been sidelined for some time.
The PA news agency understands Saka has a good chance of being involved at the Vitality Stadium but Arteta could have a number of selection headaches.
“They are all in the same pool,” he said of the right players who are doubtful.
“We have a few. We have to see and adapt to the situation because that’s a big number.
“Are they fit enough? Have they done enough to be able to be selected tomorrow and that’s the question mark.
“My hope is that everybody is fit and available, because we need them with the amount of games that we have already under the belt in the last two weeks and what is coming in the next seven to 10 days. We need them, so hopefully today we get some good news.
If Arsenal’s line-up on the south coast has an unfamiliar look to it, Arteta need only glance at the home dugout for someone he recognises well.
Bournemouth appointed Andoni Iraola as their new head coach in the summer, the 41-year-old having played in the same childhood team as Arteta as they grew up together in the Basque Country.
“We know each other really well. We played together, we had fantastic times together. We played together in Antiguoko, which is a team in San Sebastian that has produced a lot of players over the years,” said Arteta.
“That’s the beauty of football that 30 years later we are here together in the Premier League as managers. I’m really happy for that.
“He was better technically than everybody else. He used to play as a winger coming inside when he was younger. As he got older in his career, he played as a full-back.
“He would be an incredible inverted full-back today. It would be a dream for any manager to have a player like him. Really intelligent, really skilful.”
Asked if he had been in touch with Iraola since he joined the Cherries, Arteta added: “Yes, I did. He was really excited to come.
“He was really complimentary about the club and the support he was getting with players and staff. He was happy to be part of the league.”