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The key Spaniard has suffered a small tear on his injured calf which Arsenal expect to keep him out for "two to three weeks", with a return against Liverpool a possibility

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal are hopeful that Mikel Arteta could be back in action by the end of January after receiving the results of the scan on his injured calf.

Goal.com understands that the scan undertaken on Monday showed the Spaniard has suffered a small tear to his calf and the timeline put on his return is "two to three weeks".

Arteta will miss Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Swansea City and the Premier League fixtures against Chelsea on Sunday and West Ham United on the following Wednesday but there is a possibility that he could be fit to feature against Liverpool on January 30.

The midfielder pulled up in training on Friday and missed Arsenal's 2-0 defeat against Manchester City on Sunday, the first Premier League match that he has not started this season.

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It is understood that he was he in too much pain to even undertake a pre-match fitness test last Sunday and was seen hobbling around the Emirates Stadium later in the day.

Arteta first felt pain in his calf ahead of the Capital One Cup tie against Bradford City in December and was an unused substitute in a game which Arsenal dismally lost on penalties.

But tests have shown that there is no long-term damage and the key midfielder should be back training before the end of the month, which is in line with Arsene Wenger's prediction on Sunday that he would be out for around three weeks.

The Frenchman is preparing to select a near-full-strength team for Wednesday night's cup replay.

There is a possibility that he could rest a couple of senior players, with Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Bacary Sagna among those being considered for a break.

The likes of Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson are on stand-by to start the match.

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