Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger goes into Saturday's match at Manchester City desperately trying to keep his team afloat as injuries and dressing room discontent threaten to sink their title challenge.
The Gunners' bid to take the Premier League crown from Manchester United has taken a huge knock following defeats by Stoke City and Aston Villa.
Morale is at a low ebb and captain William Gallas added to the sense of unease enveloping Arsenal with a remarkable attack on his team-mates this week.
The French defender accused the club's youngsters of lacking the fight to cope with physical matches, claiming he had to stop rows in the dressing room and was given no respect by an unnamed player.
"We are not brave enough in battle," Gallas said. "I think we need to be soldiers. To be champions, you have to play big matches every weekend and fight."
As if that was not bad enough, Wenger has to cope with an unwanted increase in his medical team's workload. The latest casualty is Theo Walcott, who dislocated his shoulder this week when he slipped on a wet pitch during an England training session.
It was a freak accident, but nonetheless takes the number of players in the Arsenal treatment room up to five. Along with Walcott, Wenger will miss Bacary Sagna, who is suffering from an ankle injury, and calf strain victim Kolo Toure at Eastlands.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Da Silva is still in rehabilitation with his broken leg, Tomas Rosicky has a hamstring strain and Emmanuel Eboue has a knee problem.
Manchester City themselves have suffered mixed fortunes themselves of late. They have taken just a solitary point from a possible 12, leaving their manager Mark Hughes pointing an accusing figure at defensive mistakes.
"We've shot ourselves in the foot in a number of games with individual errors and collective errors that haven't helped our cause, but in an attacking sense I've been very pleased with what we've seen," said Hughes.
"We're getting goals from all areas and the strikers haven't scored as many goals as the midfield players. . But we need to keep them out at the other end as well and once we sort that out then the results will follow."