Arsene Wenger has revealed concerns over the fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of Arsenal's crucial Premier League clash with Liverpool this weekend and admitted it could be his fault.
Speaking after the convincing 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday evening, the Gunners' manager revealed that Oxlade-Chamberlain was struggling with a groin injury.
"I took him to Galatasaray and maybe two games was a lot for him"
Wenger was forced to remove the England international during injury time in the win, after he motioned to the bench with an indication he had a problem. The Frenchman claimed that it was an ongoing problem and acknowledged he may have been played too often last week.
"We cannot afford to lose him at the moment. I hope it is nothing bad," Wenger is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"He had a little bit of inflammation before the game. I took him to Galatasaray and maybe two games was a lot for him."
Article continues below
An injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain is the last thing Arsenal need going into the hectic Christmas schedule as the midfield ranks at Emirates Stadium are currently suffering from numerous absences.
Aaron Ramsey was ruled out for a few weeks at the weekend with a hamstring strain, joining Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mesut Özil, Theo Walcott and About Diaby in the treatment room. There is as yet no indication that Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the trip to Anfield on Sunday, but it is a concern.
What is even more frustrating for Wenger is that the 21-year-old is in the middle of his best run of form so far in his career. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been used mainly as one of the wide players in the front three, but was moved to the middle for the visit of Newcastle.
Wenger has previously said that he sees the former Southampton starlet eventually settling as a central midfielder and the display of varied passing along with fast, powerful running against Alan Pardew's side gave a glimpse of the Arsenal boss' vision.
Saturday saw a much-needed win for the Gunners after their disastrous 45 minutes away at Stoke City last weekend and will go to Anfield on Sunday with the knowledge that another win is needed to keep in touch with the top four.
Meanwhile, Liverpool's struggles have continued and they were brushed aside 3-0 against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Scoring goals has been an especially big problem for Brendan Rodgers' side and their finishing against the Red Devils will have given Arsenal some encouragement.