By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

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Arsenal are braced for another shattering injury blow amid fears that Francis Coquelin could miss the rest of the season with sprained knee ligaments, Football Insider sources understand.

The midfielder limped off 14 minutes into the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat at West Brom on Saturday.

Coquelin was assessed by Arsenal’s medical team on Sunday and a senior Gunners source has told Football Insider that the Frenchman has sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee.

Arsenal are awaiting the results of scans before they can determine the precise extent of the injury but they fear Coquelin will be sidelined for between three and six months.

The worst-case scenario is that the Frenchman will not play for Arsene Wenger’s title challengers again this season.

Coquelin’s expected lengthy absence is a catastrophic blow for Arsenal as they attempt to maintain their Premier League title challenge and avoid elimination from the Champions League group stages.

The 24-year-old has been a bedrock of Wenger’s team in 2015, with his central midfield partnership with Santi Cazorla key to their improved form.

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger will face calls to sign a midfielder in January

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger will face calls to sign a midfielder in January

Coquelin has now joined Arsenal’s mounting casualty list, which already includes Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamerlai, Theo Walcott and long-term absentees Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky. Mikel Arteta, who was Coquelin’s replacement at the Hawthorns, also suffered a calf injury on Saturday and was substituted 35 minutes after coming on.

Wenger will now face further pressure to strengthen his already struggling squad in the forthcoming January transfer window to keep Arsenal’s title bid on track.

As revealed by Football Insider, Arsenal had already been weighing up a central midfield signing in the winter window.