Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla expected to miss rest of the season
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is not expected to play against this season as he recovers from ankle surgery.
The 32-year-old has not featured since being forced off during the second half of Arsenal's 6-0 Champions League group win against Ludogorets on October 19.
Following an operation on the plantaris tendon in the Spain international's right foot, the Premier League club expected his rehabilitation to take around three months.
However, Press Association Sport understands Cazorla is not set to recovery in time to be involved again this season.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had spoken of the importance of Cazorla to the squad following the news of his injury.
"The dressing room needs a balance between experience and youth-team players and you need to be guided as well by some experienced players as well when you go through difficult times," Wenger said.
"They help you always to keep your feet on the ground and keep focused."
Arsenal secured a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-0 fifth-round win at Sutton on Monday night and will face another non-league side Lincoln in the last eight.
The Gunners do not play again until March 4 when they head to Liverpool, where Wenger's squad will be aiming to keep themselves on course for another top-four finish.
After losing the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 clash 5-1 away at Bayern Munich, questions were again raised about the direction of the current squad and indeed the future of the manager.
Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, though, insists togetherness on the field and in the stands will help drive the team on towards a positive end to the campaign.
"We want to be able to respond for the fans," Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player.
"They want to win as much as we do. We're all in this together and we all want the same thing, so we've all got to stand up and be counted.
"People have been doubting us and it's important that we pick ourselves up to try to turn the tide into a more positive one."
England international Oxlade-Chamberlain accepts the players have to do their part to keep the supporters onside.
"Our fans are great home and away. They're very loud so we hear them when they're happy and when they're frustrated, but that's part and parcel of being at a massive club like Arsenal," he added.
"They want us to win the league, so when we're losing games and it seems like it's slipping out of our hands, it's going to be frustrating.
"That's understandable because we're a massive club and we've got a great team that is more than capable of competing for the title.
"They want to see us doing that just as much as we want to be doing it.
"We understand their frustration but we share the same frustrations as them.
"The only difference is that, as players, we have the direct opportunity to change things and make things happen.
"I think that, with the fans helping us by getting behind us, it will definitely help us do that."