Blow for Arsenal as Ceballos ruled out until mid-December

The 23-year-old picked up a hamstring injury against Vitoria on November 6 but is likely to be fit for the busy festive schedule
The 23-year-old picked up a hamstring injury against Vitoria on November 6 but is likely to be fit for the busy festive schedule

Arsenal have been dealt an injury blow following news that midfielder Dani Ceballos will remain on the sidelines until mid-December.

The Spain international picked up a hamstring injury against Vitoria on November 6 and sat out the Gunners' defeat to Leicester City ahead of the international break.

It has now been confirmed, however, that the Real Madrid loanee faces a further period out, though it is hoped he will return ahead of the busy festive run of fixtures.

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Ceballos has become a fan favourite at the Emirates Stadium since his arrival from the Spanish capital on a season-long deal over the summer.

The 23-year-old has made 17 appearances in all competitions for Unai Emery's side, scoring his only goal for the club against Standard Liege in October.

He is now likely to miss Premier League clashes with Southampton, Norwich City, Brighton and West Ham in the coming weeks as well as the Europa League meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt on November 28.

The return fixture against Standard Liege may also prove too early on December 12, though there will be hope he can face defending Premier League champions Manchester City three days later.

Arsenal's fixtures around Christmas include a trip to Everton on December 21 as well as successive home matches against Chelsea and Manchester United on December 29 and January 1 respectively.

The only other fitness issue facing Emery's side ahead of Saturday's meeting with Southampton is whether Sead Kolasinac will be available after returning from international duty with Bosnia-Herzegovina with a tight left hamstring.

The full-back is being assessed ahead of the fixture at the Emirates Stadium, with Emery in need of a win to ease the pressure that has built on the Spanish coach in recent weeks.

Arsenal have won just two of their last 10 league matches, leaving them sixth in the table and eight points off the top four after just 12 games.

With a return to the Champions League imperative, there are concerns among supporters that ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery is not the man to take them back to Europe's premier club competition.

The club have offered the coach a public vote of confidence during the international break, but a continuation of their recent poor form may see the board forced into action before the year is out.

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