When Arsenal signed Mikel Arteta prior to the season, he wasn't supposed to be so vital to the team's success. He was a good player, no doubt, but the plan was for Arteta to be a complimentary piece in the Gunners' midfield. That didn't turn out to be the case, though.
In large part because of the injury to Jack Wilshere, but also because of a few other reasons, Arteta has become instrumental to the Gunners' success. It was not a coincidence that when Arsenal made a run in the last two months and jumped up to third place, it was while Arteta was playing fantastically. Unfortunately for them, he is injured today.
An ankle injury has sidelined Arteta for the remainder of the season. This comes at a crucial time for the Gunners. Their lead on Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea is still slim and they have to take on the Blues on Saturday.
With Arteta out, Aaron Ramsey will be called upon to take his place. That's not exactly ideal for Arsene Wenger, who has gone to Ramsey less and less in the last three months for good reason. The Welshman has been in a horrible run of form and he has given Wenger no reason to even consider playing him.
When Ramsey did get a chance on Monday against Wigan in place of the injured Arteta, he failed to impress. Maybe even worse off was his inability to combine with Alex Song. The two were out of step time and time again, which will have to give Wenger pause before putting Ramsey next to him again. Instead, maybe he plays Tomas Rosicky in a deeper role, next to Song with the hope that he can control the tempo some, and then pushing Wenger into a more attacking role in front of them.
Whatever Wenger decides to do with regards to where exactly Ramsey plays, the reality is that Ramsey is going to have to play and he's going to have to play well. That's not going to be very comforting to Wenger, or Arsenal supporters.