Jack Wilshere could make his return after a more than two-month absence in Arsenal’s final Premier League game of the season away at Norwich City on Sunday. The midfielder has been missing since fracturing a bone in his left foot during England’s friendly with Denmark at the start of March.
Manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he has been cautious with him, but now confirmed that he could be involved on Sunday, along with Aaron Ramsey, who missed last week’s win over West Brom.
“We have everybody available who played against West Brom,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “We could have the return of Ramsey, he's available again. Wilshere could be in the squad for Sunday as well.”
There are unlikely to be any risks taken with either player, given that Champions League qualification has already been secured and the FA Cup final and a chance to end the club’s trophy drought is on the horizon. Wilshere, in particular, has been beset by injury problems in his young career. Still, with a World Cup just a month away, the 22-year-old will want to get minutes under his belt, even though, with Ramsey in fine form, there is little need to rush Wilshere back into the starting lineup at Wembley.
The situation is more uncertain regarding another England World Cup hopeful, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The midfielder has been missing with a groin problem since the victory over Hull City nearly three weeks ago.
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“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will still be out,” Wenger stated. “I don’t know yet [whether he will make the FA Cup final]. He has not at all practiced with the first team.”
Reflecting this week on a season that has also contained a five-month absence with a knee injury, Oxlade-Chamberlain attempted to take the positives from the situation.
“There have been a lot of up and downs,” he told Arsenal’s website. “Five months [out injured] is not what you want, but I have learnt a lot from my time out about how to deal with something like that.
“To come back from an injury into that environment is really good and what you want -- but it does make it challenging. Since I have come back, unfortunately some other people have got injured but that has given me a chance to play and get some game time. I feel that I’ve done alright, and hopefully I can only get stronger.”
There is better news regarding Oxlade-Chamberlain’s apparent doppelganger, Kieran Gibbs, who is fit to return after being sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury.
After a real scare a few weeks ago, Arsenal go into their final game with a seven point buffer over Everton in fourth place. They could even catch third placed Chelsea, however it would take a preposterous swing in goal-difference for Arsenal to overhaul their London rivals. It is a similar story for Arsenal’s opponents. Norwich are now effectively relegated, needing as they do a win over Arsenal, West Brom to lose to Stoke and a 17 goal swing in the goal-difference column.