By Editor Wayne Veysey
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set for spells on the sidelines, Arsene Wenger confirmed tonight.
The England duo both pulled up with injuries in the first 20 minutes of Arsenal’s 3-0 League Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking after Arsenal had been knocked out of the competition, Wenger admitted the team’s Premier League challenge will be affected by losing the key pair.
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He said: “We are short now because we lose Chamberlain today and we lose Walcott. We already have a few injuries.
“It is a big blow for us today of course to lose the game, but even more for the other competitions – they are very important to us – and to lose two players of that stature.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain started the match at Hillsborough but was substituted after just five minutes with a hamstring injury.
Walcott came off the bench to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain but was then hauled off just 13 minutes later after suffering what appeared to be a calf problem.
It was a crushing double-blow for what was already a team weakened by the absences of first-team regulars like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny.
“We knew at the start of the game that if something happened to us we were a bit short. We have to manaage as well the workload of the players. I left six players at home and I think I did well when I look at the number of players who got injured today.”
Wenger also delivered a scathing assessment of the three Arsenal debutants Alex Iwobi, Glen Kamara and Ismael Bennacur.
“It was too high for them,” said the manager. “They are not ready to play at this level, none of them.”