• Champions League

Wilshere doubtful for Monaco clash after missing training

ESPN staff
February 24, 2015
Arsenal up to third after win

Arsene Wenger has revealed that Jack Wilshere is unlikely to face Monaco in Arsenal's Champions League round of 16 first leg after the midfielder missed training.

Wilshere, 23, had surgery on an ankle injury in November and has been out of action ever since the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United that same month. He made his return to the squad that beat Crystal Palace 2-1 last weekend, but did not get off the bench and was not in training on Tuesday ahead of the Monaco clash.

Arsene Wenger watches on in training ahead of Arsenal's clash with Monaco © Getty Images

"The only uncertainty is Jack Wilshere," said Wenger in his pre-match news conference. "He was rested in training today. There's no setback."

Goalkeeper David Ospina has shrugged off a minor back problem suffered in Saturday's win at Selhurst Park, while midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain trained with the squad on Tuesday following recovery from a groin problem. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) is still working on his rehabilitation, along with Mikel Arteta (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder).

Wenger, who was manager at Monaco from 1987 until 1994, insisted that he was pleased to see the French club back in Europe after they were relegated to the second division in 2011.

"It's interesting," he added. "I'm happy Monaco are back at the top level but now I'm focused on the game. They are a disciplined team who are very strong in defence, well organised and dangerous on the break.

"We can be confident because we've won our games. We have the right commitment and spirit but these are hard games."

Arsenal, who sit third in the Premier League, have had a mixed season to date with the pressure on to overcome a side who are perceived as weaker in order to seal a place in the quarter-finals.

It is the 17th consecutive season that Arsenal have progressed from the group stage under Wenger, an achievement he is incredibly proud of.

"I love pressure because there's lots at stake and those are the ones you want to be involved with as a manager and a player," he said.

"We have had 17 consecutive seasons in this competition. 'Easy' is a word you need to ban in the Champions League."

Jack Wilshere was out for nearly three months after suffering an ankle injury in November © Getty Images
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