Arsene Wenger is hopeful that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s hamstring injury is not a serious one, saying the midfielder has suffered tightness rather than a definite pull during the 2-0 win over Southampton on Wednesday night.
The Ox came off after 35 minutes at St Mary’s, replaced by Hector Bellerin, and faces a possible race against time to be fit for the FA Cup final on May 27th.
Speaking afterwards, the Arsenal manager said it was too soon to tell, but was cautiously optimistic because of the nature of the problem.
“It’s difficult to assess now after the game,” Wenger said. “He is walking properly. It was tight, but it was not a knife.”
“I didn’t see any incident where he had to stop in a sprint. It was more fatigue.
“It’s a hamstring problem, but we don’t know how bad it is.”
To miss another cup final through injury would be a huge blow to the 23 year old who spoke in March about how gutted he was to miss out in 2014.
“In the season when we first won the FA Cup I played pretty much all the games,” he said.
“I got a little injury before the end of the season which kept me out for three weeks maybe. I came back with a week to go and I trained that week and then, to cut a long story short, the boss put out the squad for the final and I wasn’t in it.
“To say I was devastated was an understatement. I said I’m ready and in the end he decided to take me, but as the 19th man. I still had a bit of hope that I was going to make the bench.
“The day of the game came and he still didn’t put me on the bench and I was really devastated that day.
“But once the game started and we were 2-0 down my own disappointment went out the window and it was all about the team and the club doing well.”
He was a substitute in the 2015 final, coming on and setting up a goal for Olivier Giroud, but you can tell how much it’d mean to him to start.
Fingers crossed he can make it.