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Wenger backs Oxlade-Chamberlain to be fit for Euros

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Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger gestures during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 1st leg football match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 23, 2016.   / AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS

Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger gestures during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 1st leg football match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 23, 2016.<br />/ AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS

Arsene Wenger hopes to have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back in a few weeks rather than six or seven but the Arsenal manager remains confident the England winger will be fit in time for Euro 2016.

The 22-year-old suffered a knee injury after a strong challenge by Javier Mascherano during Arsenal’s Champions League defeat by holders Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday and eventually went off early in the second half.

“We lost Oxlade-Chamberlain on Tuesday night,” said Wenger on Friday. “He is consulting a specialist.

“He is out for a few weeks. How long exactly? I don’t know but a few weeks. He is (devastated). Let’s hope that we get good news that it’s only two or three weeks, not six or seven.”

But veteran boss Wenger was upbeat when asked if Oxlade-Chamberlain was in danger of missing Euro 2016 in France, which start on June 10

“I don’t think so,” Wenger said. “It’s not a recurrence of a previous injury. Not at all. It’s a new injury.

“He has been cut in two by Mascherano and he did his knee. We have to see how big the damage is in his knee. Hopefully we will have good news later.

“I don’t think it was a malicious tackle. It was a fully committed tackle but it didn’t look malicious,” the Frenchman added.

Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat by Barcelona, a result that all but scuppered Arsenal’s hopes of European glory this season, came hot on the heels of last weekend’s goalless draw with second-tier Hull in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

However, Arsenal have a chance to return to winning ways when they face Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday.

North London side Arsenal, last crowned champions of England in 2004, head into the weekend just two points behind shock leaders Leicester.

Arsenal are heading into a run of seven matches in 22 days and Wenger said: “It is the key period.

“We work the whole season for this period and that’s where you’re really tested but it’s where you have an opportunity to show your quality as well.

“On that front I agree that it is the most interesting period of the season. It’s a period of the season where you can show quality, nerves and desire as well.

“Everybody drops points. It is unpredictable. We have rebuilt a good run in the Premier League and we need to continue that.”


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