FA Cup win can’t mask Arsenal hurt – Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said winning Saturday’s FA Cup final would not banish the hurt of Arsenal missing out on the Champions League.
The England midfielder, 23, is in contention for a place against champions Chelsea at Wembley in what could be manager Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge of the Gunners.
Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in two decades and Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “The season has been an odd one. We finished on 75 points and in other years that might have left us in different situations.
“But times change and you have got to move forward with the other top teams. We failed to do that ultimately in the league this year, that’s why we missed out on the top four.
“It would be a bonus to finish on a more positive note but there will obviously always be that feeling that we wanted to finish higher up the league and there’s no doubting that.
“We can’t hide from that and we have to own up to it.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain is about to go into the final year of his contract and refused to answer questions about his future at a time when Liverpool, Everton and both Manchester clubs are all said to be interested.
It has been reported that Oxlade-Chamberlain is unhappy with the amount of first-team minutes he has been given by manager Wenger this season and the player did little to rectify such claims at a press conference at Arsenal’s training ground.
“I’m not here to talk about my future at all, I’m here to talk about the FA Cup final so I will leave that there,” he replied. “It’s nothing to do with the final so I won’t be talking about that.”
The former Southampton youngster has recovered from a hamstring problem in time to be included in the cup final squad.
Oxlade-Chamberlain missed Arsenal’s 2014 final victory over Hull City because of injury and fitness problems in the run-up to the 2015 final — which saw Aston Villa well beaten — meant he was on the bench for most of that one.
“The 2014 final I missed out being involved and I was upset and gutted about that because I had played a big role throughout the whole competition,” he said.
Wenger’s switch to a three-at-the-back formation means Oxlade-Chamberlain could miss out again to Hector Bellerin for the right wing-back berth as the Spain international is arguably more athletic and certainly more defensively minded.
“That’s what it’s like when you are at a top club,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.