Crystal Palace v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger to make late decision on Jack Wilshere after jarring his ankle against Borussia Dortmund
Wenger confirms it is not a major problem but he will monitor his progress to remove any doubts over his long-term fitness
Friday 25 October 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not overly concerned by Jack Wilshere's troublesome ankle, but will keep a close eye on the fitness of the England midfielder.
Wilshere will be assessed ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Crystal Palace after being substituted during the second half of the midweek Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
The 21-year-old had caused some concern when he pulled up after jarring his ankle when running through on goal in the first half.
Wenger, though, believes with careful management, Wilshere can maintain his fitness following a frustrating spell on the sidelines which scuppered his hopes of playing at both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.
"No it is not a major problem, but as I told you before the season started I will have to monitor him until he is completely through that period with any doubts and that is what I tried to do," the Arsenal manager said.
Midfielder Mathieu Flamini will be available having missed the Dortmund game as a precaution after suffering a mild concussion in the 4-1 win over Norwich.
Wenger revealed club-recording signing Mesut Ozil had played on Tuesday night despite suffering from a virus, which went some way to explain a subdued performance from the German playmaker.
"He was sick before the game and he was not at his best on the night," Wenger added.
"He said he was all right, but in the two days before he had a virus and you could see that physically he was not at his best."
Wenger, though, was not looking for excuses.
"It is simple. Dortmund was organised to stop us from playing our game and one of their game plans was to stop Ozil from getting into the game and they did that way," he said.
"We want to respond quickly. We have faced that already in our season.
"I am confident in that capacity of my team to respond very quickly in a very strong way. That is the target tomorrow."
Premier League leaders Arsenal will be out to heap more problems on the struggling Eagles, who parted company with manager Ian Holloway in the wake of the 4-1 home defeat by Fulham on Monday night.
Holloway felt he did not have the energy to help Palace turn around their early-season troubles, which has seen them take just three points from their opening eight games.
Despite that Wenger still believes the decision, which was made by mutual consent, was "very quick" for a manager he has much respect for.
"It is very difficult to do that and I find it very quick and very early to separate with Ian Holloway. For me, he has exceptional talent to manage a football team," Wenger said.
"He is a football man, has something that belongs to him that he is special, but you feel there is a strength in there that can take people on board with him."
Wenger added: "Defeat after defeat when you want absolutely everything to win it can drain you down, that can happen to everybody and when you are a bit older you can maybe deal with it a little bit better, but what is the killer in our job to lose a succession of games and when you lose five, six or seven on the trot that is difficult to swallow."
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