Arsenal have been dealt a blow ahead of their Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Sunday with Aaron Ramsey ruled out for several more weeks with a thigh injury. Ramsey has not played since getting hurt against West Ham United on Boxing Day. And, while it was initially expected that the Welshman would be out for a short time, manager Arsene Wenger explained that there has been a delay in his recuperation.

“Ramsey will be out for longer because he had a setback and it doesn't look too good,” Wenger said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “It is matter of some weeks for him.”

The news comes as a major blow with Ramsey having arguably been Arsenal’s leading performer in their exceptional first half of the season. The 23-year-old had 10 goals to his name before being ruled out.

The man who had been providing the forward thrust from central midfield in Ramsey’s absence also remains on the sidelines. Jack Wilshere has not played since the 2-0 victory over Fulham almost two weeks ago and Wenger has confirmed that the England international will again be out on Sunday with an ankle injury. He could instead be back for the Premier League trip to take on Liverpool at Anfield the following weekend.

Arsenal are facing something of a midfield crisis against Palace, with Mathieu Flamini also unavailable through suspension after being sent off for a two-footed tackle in the 2-2 draw with Southampton on Tuesday. Some good news for the Gunners comes with there being no fresh injuries and Tomas Rosicky set to return after a recent broken nose.

“We have no problems apart from Flamini who we lose through suspension,” Wenger added. “Everybody else should be available. We could have Rosicky back again for Sunday. He had problems after surgery on his nose. So we lose Flamini but we gain Rosicky.”

Arsenal have been strongly linked with Schalke’s Julian Draxler in the last days of the transfer window with the Germany international potentially able to provide cover in midfield, while Wenger is also believed to be intending to convert him into a striker. That deal, though, now appears unlikely to happen this month.

Arsenal will be desperate to return to winning ways against London rivals Palace after the disappointing draw at Southampton saw Wenger’s side lose their long-held position at the top of the Premier League table. But a win on Sunday would see them return to the summit with one or both of their title rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea, set to drop points when they meet at the Etihad on Monday evening.

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