Gunners troubled by fitness problems

LONDON • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has suffered another knee injury which rules him out of contention for England's Euro 2016 squad.

Arsene Wenger confirmed yesterday that the 22-year-old had "no chance" of being fit, having suffered a new problem which rules him out for six to eight weeks.

Said the Arsenal manager: "He was out for a while and was not overloaded with games.

"A guy of 22, you want him to go to the European Championship. It's very sad."

Wenger added that defender Per Mertesacker will also miss the final two games of the Gunners' league campaign with a hamstring problem.

With Euro 2016 in mind, he has to decide how much action to give to Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, both of whom are fit again after lengthy injuries.

A win at Manchester City tomorrow would clinch an automatic Champions League spot for next season.

"It is still an important game," he said. "Part of the responsibility of being professional is preparing the future and the future of Arsenal football club depends on this game. It is that big."

They trail second-placed Tottenham Hotspur by three points and Wenger said he is eager to preserve his record of never finishing below their bitter rivals in his 20-year stay at the club.

"We have regrets because we had a chance to finish top of the league... Our target now is to secure our position in the Champions League next year," the 66-year-old said.

"It is possible to get in second place and at least secure third, and on Sunday we can achieve that. If we win the two (remaining) games, we will be all right."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Gunners troubled by fitness problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe