Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is desperate to make up for his FA Cup final heartache last year, when Arsene Wenger refused to include him in the match-day squad due to his lack of match fitness, the Mirror reports.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was influential in our quarter-final and semi-final wins last season, but constant groin problems meant that Wenger wanted players capable of making a difference at some point in the game, the 20-year-old revealed.
As ever with players, especially those brimming with youthful exuberance such as The Ox, he may have felt that he was able to play some part in the game.
He now has the chance to blemish those bad personal memories having returned for our last league game against West Bromwich Albion ahead of the showpiece occasion at Wembley on Saturday.
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“It was a really difficult one,” Oxlade-Chamberlain recalled.
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“It’s not a nice feeling. Especially when you feel that you have been influential.
“Last year I’d been injured three weeks and only came back a few days before the match and the manager felt the other boys who’d been playing and training were more ready.
“I hope that I’ll be fit and I’ll be available but it will be up to the manager to decide if he think I’m fit and I’m ready.”
We have missed the winger’s invention and pace on the ball over the past few weeks, and his potential threat off the bench could prove to be crucial against Aston Villa.
As the game entered extra-time last year, the introduction of Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky gave us that extra imputes against Hull City’s tired legs.
Whether he starts or is named on the bench, Oxlade-Chamberlain could have a big say on Saturday.