Arsenal vs Anderlecht: Jack Wilshere ruled out through illness but Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey could start for Gunners

Arsenal head into Tuesday's Champions League encounter knowing a win would likely see them through to the last-16 with two matches to spare

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Jack Wilshere will not feature in Arsenal's Champions League tie with Anderlecht on Tuesday after he missed training today through illness.

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The Gunners can seal their passage through to the last-16 at the Emirates providing they see off the Belgian champions and Galatasaray don’t upset the odds with a victory over Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Wilshere missed the 3-0 weekend victory over Burnley due to suffering a knee injury in training, with Wenger confirming that he was unsure whether the midfielder would return in time to face Anderlecht.

The England international has since been ruled out though with illness, as Wenger confirmed on Monday that he has been sick in the build-up to the match and was unable to train on Monday morning.

 

“Jack has been sick and will not be involved tomorrow,” said Wenger. “The squad is exactly the same as played against Burnley.”

That means that both Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott could feature after coming off the bench on Saturday. Ramsey is being used carefully by Wenger since returning from a hamstring injury last month, having started just one of the four matches he’s played in since his return against Hull.

Video: Arsenal vs Anderlecht match preview

For Walcott, the cheer he received from the Arsenal crowd when he came on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on Saturday demonstrated the boost that the Gunners will receive with the England flyer available once again. Walcott has missed over nine-months of football after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Tottenham in January.

Arsenal began their group stage campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Dortmund, but have since managed to register back-to-back victories over Galatasaray and Anderlecht – albeit via two late goals in Belgium last time out that turned the tie on its head.

Wenger would love to secure a place in the first knockout round as soon as possible, especially with their next European game against Dortmund coming days after the Premier League clash with Manchester United.

“If we can seal qualification I would describe the feeling as satisfied to have the job done,” Wenger added.

“We respect Anderlecht because they gave us a tough game and we had a bit of a miraculous win because we needed to go until the last minute but that was as well our quality in the game.

“We have been warned and now we want to win the game again at the Emirates.”

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Walcott could be handed his first start since suffering injury nine months ago

Wenger also took more time to rave about summer signing Alexi Sanchez, who has grown in influence on the Arsenal side in recent weeks having taken his goal tally to double figures in all competitions thanks to a brace against Burnley on Saturday.

“I believe he had a difficult start to integrate with the team - it was not easy for him to adapt to us and us to him,” Wenger said.

“Now he is showing how good he is. I believe what you want from every top player is not just individual quality but also a fighter.

“He shows that in every game - the header he scored (against Burnley) is a fantastic goal, not just because of the quality of the goal but because of the desire and determination as well.”

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta added: “Playing with somebody like Alexis is easy and nice because it makes our job easier when you have a player likes him in form scoring goals and playing well for the team.

“The way he looks after people around him and the work he does every game is something we need to highlight because his goals, assists and tricks get more attention but his work is important as well.”

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