Aaron Ramsey out for three weeks as Arsenal midfield crisis worsens

LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Aaron Ramsey will miss three weeks with a calf strain, deepening the Gunners' midfield crisis at a crucial stage of the season.

Ramsey had to come off 20 minutes into Tuesday's damaging 2-1 home loss to Watford and will miss Sunday's key match at Chelsea along with the first leg of the Champions League knockout tie against Bayern Munich in two weeks. It adds to an absentee list that also includes the injured Santi Cazorla, suspended Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, whose Egypt side have made the final of the African Nations Cup.

It means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to play centrally next to Francis Coquelin at Chelsea. Oxlade-Chamberlain took a kick to the knee against Watford and faced a fitness test after Friday's news conference, but Wenger said: "I think he will be all right."

Wenger said Danny Welbeck could also come back into the squad after being rested against Watford, while striker Olivier Giroud also faced a fitness test but was expected to be fit.

The Arsenal boss insisted he still has quality options to choose from in central midfield.

"We are a bit short at the moment, but I think we have young players who can do well in there," he said. "We have Jeff Reine-Adelaide, we have of course Ainsley Maitland-Niles, we have Oxlade-Chamberlain. Alex Iwobi can play in there. Elneny will come back after Sunday. So we still have, I think, some strength."

Arsenal are also without Jack Wilshere this season after sending him on loan to Bournemouth without the option to recall him in January. Wenger admitted that his team could use Wilshere at the moment, but once again said he does not regret the loan move.

"I would like to reiterate here that we didn't push him out. He wanted to go somewhere and play, and I agreed with that," Wenger said. "He wanted to go because he saw the level of competitive players we had in midfield -- and let's not forget that we have as well Xhaka at the moment suspended, so there's a huge level of competition. And I accepted to let him go and we have to deal with the consequences of that."