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Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger Defends Medical Staff

Photo Credit: SKYSPORTS

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended the club’s medical staff after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were injured in midweek.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted after just five minutes of the 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup with a hamstring problem, while Walcott came off at Hillsborough with a calf injury.

Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen has criticised the number of injuries the Gunners have accrued, but Wenger insists he is not unduly concerned by the club’s injury situation.

He also confirmed Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to return to action ahead of his Arsenal and England team-mate Walcott, although both are set to be on the sidelines until after the next international break in mid-November.

“I trust my medical and coaching staff to do well. We are very well organised on that front,” Wenger said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Swansea.

“I still believe the quickest back will be Alex. Theo might be out of action longer. The gut feeling will be one will be 20 days and one will be a bit longer.

“We always have to answer the question of whether it is more than being unlucky when we have injuries, but we analyse every single case and every exercise.

“We have to not over-analyse when players are injured – this has always happened. It’s post-international games we always get injuries. Is it linked with that? I don’t know.

“We have two kinds of injuries, the ones coming back for or after Christmas; [Tomas] Rosicky, [Jack] Wilshere and [Danny] Welbeck. Then we have the short-term; [Mikel] Arteta, [Aaron] Ramsey, Chamberlain should be back after the international break.”

Costa Rica international Joel Campbell could be called into the starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to the Liberty Stadium, where he would make his first Premier League appearance of the season.

“My short-term option is Campbell or one more defensive midfielder like [Mathieu] Flamini, and put [Santi] Cazorla out on the flank. I have to 24 hours to make a decision on that,” added Wenger.

As for the game with Swansea, Wenger insists the cup defeat to Sky Bet Championship side Wednesday will have no bearing on the match in south Wales.

“We played a different team, and it is focused on tomorrow’s game,” said Wenger.

“We prepared with the players who were at home on Tuesday night and we are focused to do well at Swansea. We are in a strong position in the Premier League and we want to grow game by game.”

Wenger also confirmed there are no plans to cut short winger Serge Gnabry’s loan spell at West Brom, despite suggestions he could be recalled to the Emirates in January.

“Serge Gnabry is on loan for a season and we cannot get him back, before the transfer period anyway,” Wenger added.

“Loans between Premier League clubs are season-long loans. I have heard that [West Brom boss] Tony Pulis is not happy with him.

“He has to change his opinion because I think Serge has the quality to play in the Premier League and it’s good that he faces this type of challenge, to change Tony Pulis round, and I hope he is putting the effort in.”