Premier League

Confusion surrounds Ox injury

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goes down in agony in Arsenal's 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa.
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Arsenal are hopeful that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's verdict on his knee injury proves to be on the pessimistic side.

The England international has claimed he faces a three-month lay-off, while manager Arsene Wenger is reckoning on being without the 20-year-old midfielder for "at least six weeks".

Oxlade-Chamberlain has become a regular feature in Roy Hodgson's national team, but the blow that forced him to limp out of the Gunners' 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday could now rule him out of the remaining World Cup qualifying group games.

Wenger attempted to quell fears over a long-term absence when he spoke ahead of the Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce, but hours later Oxlade-Chamberlain detailed on his Twitter page that he was facing three months out of the game.

Oxlade-Chamberlain wrote: "Gutted i'm injured so early in the season, But I'm going to be working hard to hopefully be back playing in 3 months. Thanks 4 all ur support."

It was a different take on his situation to Wenger's own appraisal, after the Frenchman said: "He will be out for at least six weeks, he has a posterior cruciate problem, a ligament which is stretched."

It is understood that Arsenal will carefully manage the player's rehabilitation following expert medical reports and look to bring Oxlade-Chamberlain back to full match fitness at the earliest possible opportunity.

Nevertheless, on top of the club games he will miss, Oxlade-Chamberlain can expect to be absent from the crunch Group H World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine next month.

And barring a dramatic recovery, the midfielder is also unlikely to be available in time for the October dates against Montenegro and then Poland as Hodgson's team attempt to reach next summer's finals in Brazil.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has stayed behind in London while Wenger has taken his battle-ready Gunners to Istanbul for the match against Fenerbahce.

Amid concern from supporters over the absence of visible transfer market activity this summer, Wenger has challenged his players to rise above the negativity and deliver a boost to the club on the European front.

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Heading to the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium with qualification for the lucrative group stages on the line is unlikely to be easy, but it presents a test of character Wenger is confident his men can rise to.

"You just want to prepare as well as you can and bounce back very quickly from Saturday with a good performance which is what I think we will do," said Wenger.

Wenger has pledged "a lot will happen in the next 10 days" when it comes to Arsenal's movement in the transfer market, and that could include another offer for Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, after an initial offer of £10million was turned down.

Wenger has targeted Liverpool's Luis Suarez and failed with a move for Gonzalo Higuain, who went from Real Madrid to Napoli.

Frustration among supporters may increase should rivals Tottenham secure a reported £30million deal for Anzhi Makhachkala midfielder Willian.

Arsenal were booed off after losing to Villa, with plenty of calls for Wenger to bring in new faces, while one group of supporters has written to the board demanding all contract talks with their long-serving manager be put on hold.

Wenger, though, will not let any outside influences affect his objectives, saying: "I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers."

He added: "A squad has to have the right number. And we will have the right balance when the transfer window closes, don't worry."

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