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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed the reason for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffering the ignominy of being substituted on and then substituted off against Manchester City on Sunday.
Wenger revealed in his post-match press conference the reason that Oxlade-Chamberlain only lasted thirteen minutes at the Etihad Stadium, following his 61st minute introduction.
Speaking to the assembled media, after seeing his side throw away a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 to Pep Guardiola’s side, Wenger confirmed, as suspected, that injury forced Oxlade-Chamberlain’s frustrating early exit.
“He is injured,” Wenger revealed. “It’s a muscular problem, it looks like a hamstring.”
Wenger did not say whether the former Southampton winger would miss any of Arsenal’s festive fixtures, and he was clearly frustrated having seen his side throw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 for the second time in six days – Arsenal did the same in defeat to Everton on Tuesday.
Arsenal fans saw their side yet again capitulate in a big game, with an incredibly weak second half performance allowing out-of-form City to take the points without even needing to play particularly well – the Gunners should have had the game wrapped up by half-time.
Wenger clearly tried to deflect the attention from his side’s ineptitude with a series of excuses, before turning his ire on the officials, claiming that both Leroy Sane’s equaliser and Raheem Sterling’s winning goal should have been ruled out for offside.
“We conceded two offside goals,” Wenger bemoaned. “[that] is very difficult to accept in a game of that stature, but as it is well-known, the referees are protected very well… like the lions in the zoo.
“So we have to live with their decisions. I feel nothing. I want [the referees] to be very well protected, I want them to be safe, but if they could make the right decisions, it would be even better.”