Wenger will have to look up to another player for a vital goal in Saturday’s North London derby as he has confirmed that the Ox remains on the sidelines and will not be available for selection.
The 21-year old star has not played since the win at City with the recurrence of his groin injury but is not yet back to the team in full training.
“Alex is still out, but he is starting to practice again, not full training” Wenger said.
The Ox had been one of the main outlets along the flanks for much of the first half of the season but with the availability of Ozil, Walcott and Welbeck, Wenger should be able to find a way to cushion the effects of the Ox’s absence. Spurs may pose a greater all-round threat and resistance than Aston Villa did last time but it has been part of Wenger’s excellence to prove his ability to work out systems that get results according to the players available.
Arsenal were able to avoid a home defeat against the Spurs with the Ox’s equalizer, and it would have been an added asset to have him available, if not for goals for his energy. He has in a variety of roles this season, as a Number 10 and in central midfield, proving handy on some occasions. In his absence, Wenger can continue to rely upon the options who have served him well in the last two games – Flamini, Rosicky, Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.
If he is not back to full training, as Wenger says, it may also be too quick for him to run for the home game against Leicester on Tuesday. He has not missed a lot of games this season and has looked like he has finally started to get into the groove of the promise shown right from the first touch of his Arsenal career in 2011. Injuries hampered him from having a big impact last season but he came back to play a huge role in the run up to the FA Cup final, scoring vital goals and assisting in the fifth round against Liverpool.
Hopefully he will be back to the squad soon to add more to the competition and quality overall.
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