Arsene Wenger has reserved praise for Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after they have impressed in pre-season.
Both starred in Arsenal’s 3-1 friendly win over Club Deportivo Guadalajara on Sunday, as the Gunners continue their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season.
Cazorla, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, played the first half in Mexico, while Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his promising form with a goal.
Wenger was impressed with both, telling the club’s official website that Cazorla’s return will be crucial.
“He is our technical security in midfield and we missed him for five or six months last season,” he said. “At the moment he is not completely there on the fitness front. That’s why I took him off at half-time.
“He’s a bit behind the others physically but I think he will be alright, maybe not on August 15th, but at the end of August he should be alright.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown excellent form in pre-season, and Wenger added: “It’s a very important season for him. He has been out for a long, long time. He has been injured and did not go to the European Championship, like he should have done if he had been fit.
“That’s why I’m cautious with him,” the manager said. “I gave him 45 minutes [against MLS All-Stars], now 70 minutes. I hope I can get him through and fit for the start of the season. [He gives us] power, penetration. He has it all, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s difficult what he doesn’t have – that’s why I would like him to get to the level he can go to.
“Maybe he doesn’t completely believe himself how good he can be and that’s the final step for him.”