Mohamed Elneny returns for Arsenal trip to West Brom, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubtful

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal
Mohamed Elneny

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mohamed Elneny is ready to return to action for Arsenal's trip to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday (18 March) following a three-week spell on the sidelines. However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs could miss the game with the former facing a late fitness test to check his availability to face Tony Pulis' side.

Elneny is yet to play a game since suffering an ankle injury during the fourth-round FA Cup win over Sutton United on 20 February. Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs started in last weekend's victory over Lincon City but the midfielder was forced off shortly before half-time due to a hamstring blow.

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"Gibbs is uncertain at the moment. Oxlade-Chamberlain has a test today, but overall it's the squad that was available [for Lincoln]. Elneny has joined in again. Apart from Cazorla, we should have everybody available," Wenger said in a press conference ahead of the trip to WBA.

The news regarding Elneny is a major boost for Wenger as the French manager previously feared the Egypt international would out for longer.

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Asked whether he expected Elneny to return so soon, Wenger admitted: "No, because at the start it looked like it was a very bad ankle injury. He has recovered well because he's a very strong boy and very keen to come back as quickly as possible. It worked well for him."

The Arsenal boss did not provide any specific update on Danny Welbeck but the forward could also return to action against the Baggies after missing the last two games due to illness.

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Meanwhile, Wenger refused to confirm whether Alexis Sanchez will start against West Brom after the Chile international was dropped for the Premier League encounter with Liverpool.

"I haven't picked the team yet but he has a chance, yes," Wenger said when asked about whether the former Barcelona star will lead the Arsenal attack at The Hawthorns.

Whoever plays, the Arsenal boss expects a difficult challenge for his side, warning about the physical threat of West Brom.

"They have big experience, they are well-organised, physically very strong and very efficient on set-pieces. I think they're the team who have scored more goals than anybody else on set-pieces," he said. "This season they've done very well in midfield. They have played very well, and up front they have Hal Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon, who have done very well for them as well.

"It's a very balanced team with a good size who are equipped to deal with the Premier League. It's true that it is tough because West Brom is traditionally always a very difficult game, but as well it's an opportunity for us to come back to the position that is much closer to Chelsea."

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