Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to return to full training this week, as he aims to prove his match fitness and earn a starting berth with the FA Cup Final up against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.
Having limped off during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Southampton on May 10 with a hamstring issue, the Englishman was given an 80% chance by manager Arsene Wenger to feature at Wembley this weekend. The club are hopeful that he will, especially given his impressive form prior to the hamstring setback and he will train with the rest of the first-team as normal this week.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has relished playing in an unfamiliar role at wing-back and whilst his qualities are more effective elsewhere, he has consistently performed well in a frustrating season for the team on the whole. Hector Bellerín has started the last three matches that the Ox has missed and excelled himself – so it will be interesting to see how Wenger handles the situation if Alex is passed fit to start.
Elsewhere in the squad, Alexis Sánchez was substituted as a precautionary measure during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Everton and despite returning for the team’s lap of appreciation with strapping on his leg, it’s believed that he will be available as usual.
The same goes for midfielder Granit Xhaka, who was taken off to avoid aggravating a mild calf issue that has been bugging him in recent weeks.
Shkodran Mustafi’s condition though, is uncertain. He’ll continue to be monitored, having suffered the effects of concussion after being kicked in the head against Sunderland.
If passed fit to start, the 25-year-old German is likely to play alongside Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal with Laurent Koscielny suspended after his poorly-timed challenge resulted in a straight red card last weekend.
Kieran Gibbs (thigh) could return and play as the left-sided wing-back, with Gabriel unlikely to feature (knee ligaments) and Per Mertesacker lacking match sharpness.