By Editor Wayne Veysey| Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss at least two months with knee and ankle ligament damage, Football Insider sources understand.
Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday that the England international had undergone scans after damaging his right knee and ankle in a challenge with Javier Mascherano in the Gunners’s 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the club’s initial fears have been realised and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines in a huge blow to the team ahead of the title run-in.
The midfielder left Emirates Stadium on crutches with heavy strapping and was immediately ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
“He has a scan today, he will not be available for Sunday,” Wenger told the Arsenal website on Thursday afternoon.
Oxlade-Chamberlain now faces a fight to play for Arsenal again this season, as well as force his way in the England squad for Euro 2016.
A lengthy lay-off is a huge blow at a time when the 22-year-old had showed signs of a return to form after a difficult 2015 in which he did not score a single Premier League goal.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was given the nod to start ahead of Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Joel Campbell against Barcelona, and had also been in the starting X1 for Arsenal’s last two Premier League matches.
He is also set to become the latest in a series of Arsenal’s players to be ruled out with a serious knee injury this season, following Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla.
In other Arsenal injury news, Gabriel is set to return to training on Friday as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the last three matches.