In what could be an enormous blow to Arsenal’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title, skipper Patrick Vieira fears his season could be over.

The inspirational midfielder lasted just 34 minutes of last night’s crunch encounter with Manchester United, before hobbling off after a recurrence of his knee problem.

The Frenchman is due to have an X-ray, but Vieira has already ruled himself out of Arsenal’s trip to Middlesbrough at the weekend, and could miss the remaining matches of the title run-in.

“I hurt the knee again when I landed heavily after a challenge,’ confirmed Vieira.

“What I need is a rest to cure the problem. I will definitely not be able to play on Saturday and I am not optimistic for the rest of the season.

“I can just hope for the best.”

Vieira’s absence would represent a massive blow for Arsenal, who following last night’s 2-2 draw, are three points behind Manchester United albeit with a game in hand and a marginallly superior goal difference.