Arsenal were dealt a major blow on Friday when it was confirmed that star forward Alexandre Lacazette will be out until October while he recovers from a left ankle injury.
Details of the Frenchman's ongoing ailment were provided on the club's official website: "After assessments to an ongoing ankle issue, we have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness. Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks. He is likely to be back in action in October."
Lacazette has been dealing with the problem since limping out of a game against former club Lyon in the pre-season Emirates Cup tournament. At the time, head coach Unai Emery played down the injury as "not serious."
There was also an issue for Lacazette during the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby on September 1. He was withdrawn with a suspected hamstring injury, but it was soon reported as "cramp."
Being without Lacazette will stymie Emery's plans to unleash a Liverpool-style front three on opponents this season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe started alongside Lacazette against Spurs, with the France international playing a key role in the middle.
The 28-year-old scored for the second time in three matches and was also effective dropping out of the middle to forage for possession and leave space for Aubameyang and former Lille winger Pepe to makes runs from out to in.
It's similar to the way Roberto Firmino complements the pace and movement of Liverpool wide forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Lacazette's significance was underlined by the praise he received recently from team-mate Dani Ceballos, during the Real Madrid loanee's interview with the Guardian's Sid Lowe: "And (Alexandre) Lacazette, for me, is the best player: he understands the game perfectly and, if he’s 100 percent, he’s going to give us so much."
Starting with Sunday's trip to Watford, the onus will now be on Aubameyang, who has scored three times already this season, to carry the load through the middle. He shared the Golden Boot with Salah and Mane as the division's top scorer last season on 22 goals, so Arsenal's attack should continue to click with the 30-year-old leading the line.
Depth is an issue, though, with only summer signing 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli offering an alternative. This month, the Gunners will have to do without Lacazette for league games away to the Hornets, against Aston Villa and at Manchester United as well as a Europa League match at Eintracht Frankfurt and a league cup tie against Nottingham Forest.