Arsenal are preparing for the lengthy absence of one of the squad’s key players, heading into a decisive period in the season.

Arsene Wenger’s men secured their second straight victory in the Premier League, their fourth in the last five league games, as a late penalty-kick from Alexis Sanchez grabbed all the three points against Burnley after a late scare.

However, the win over Sean Dyche’s side, which took the Gunners back into second place for the first time since mid-December, came at a price.

Wenger will not be able to call upon Granit Xhaka for the daunting trip to Chelsea next month after the midfielder’s red card this weekend.

The 24-year-old was sent off by referee Jonathan Moss for the second time this season following an aggressive tackle on Steven Defour in the 65th minute.

Barring an appeal from Arsenal against the red card, Xhaka will be handed a three-match suspension along with an extra one-match ban since it is a repeated offense.

Indeed, the Switzerland international will not be eligible to feature in a league game for Arsenal during the entire month of February.

With Mohamed Elneny currently out on duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, the absence of Xhaka will certainly be felt.

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