LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Mikel Arteta of Arsenal challenges Luka Modric of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on February 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
According to the Guardian, midfield maestro and hair extraordinaire Mikel Arteta is out for the rest of the season after suffering ligament damage to his ankle during last Monday's 2-1 defeat to Wigan. The injury hits Arsenal hard for this weekend's fixture against Chelsea, as Yossi Benayoun is ineligible to play against his parent Club, while it is believed that neither Abou Diaby nor Francis Coquelin are fit enough to start.
The obvious, and likely replacement for Arteta is Aaron Ramsey, who replaced Arteta against Wigan. Ramsey, though, is in a horrible run of form, and failed to impress against Wigan. He also failed to strike up a rapport with Alex Song, something that had been a vital feature of Arteta's midfield play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also come into a central midfield position, but he's a raw talent, and for a game this vital, he'd be better off playing left wing.
Ramsey is likely to get the nod, but perhaps Tomas Rosicky should be the player who takes a deeper role. He's shown himself to be a fairly good tackler of the ball, and, like Arteta, is a very intelligent player. Of Arsenal's fit midfielders, he alone seems to be the one who can dictate the tempo of Arsenal's game. Playing Rosicky will mean that Alex Song will have to sit (No, sit Alex, sit. Stay. Good boy!), but as Rosicky is a bit more creative than Arteta, it might not affect Arsenal that badly. The biggest difference will be defensively; Rosicky and Song will have to work out their positioning and press effectively. If they can do that, they can mitigate the loss of Arteta.