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Oxlade-Chamberlain desperate to start an FA Cup final at last — in what’s potentially his Arsenal farewell

Date Posted,May 26, 2017

Cursed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fighting to lift his FA Cup final jinx tomorrow – with no guarantees that he will stay at Arsenal next season.

England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain, named on Thursday in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland next month, managed only a single walk-on part in the Gunners’ back-to-back Cup triumphs in 2014 and 2015.

And although he has raced back to fitness in just 16 days since limping off at Southampton with a hamstring injury, he could miss the cut at Wembley again when manager Arsene Wenger, bidding for a record seventh FA Cup win, names his side to face Chelsea.

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The Ox, whose existing contract at the Emirates expires next year, refused to discuss the prospects of him signing a new deal this summer.

But the chances of him leaving are likely to increase if Wenger leaves him on the bench and he misses out on a third FA Cup final start in four seasons after missing out on the squad altogether in 2014 then making a cameo appearance as a sub 12 months later.

Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “It’s a bit of a trend, isn’t it? It’s obviously not ideal to pick up injuries close to the end of the season, but it’s what we deal with week in, week out. You go to the bottom of the pile and you have to work your way back up.

“When I got this injury, I tried to hit the ground running and attack it as quick as I could, and set out a plan which gave me the best opportunity to put myself in contention for the final.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was a mere fan (though with access all areas) three years ago… (Photo: Getty)
…and he burned more energy taking selfies than playing in the game 12 months on (Photo: Getty)

“I spoke to the manager about my return and he was happy with it. That’s all I can do – team selection is down to him.

“For the 2014 final, I missed out completely and I was really gutted about that because I’d played a big role in helping us get there. But once we’d come back from 2-0 down [after just eight minutes against Hull], all feelings of disappointment went out of the window. That ended the club’s trophy drought and I was as excited as if I had scored the winning goal myself.

“And in the 2015 final [stroll past Aston Villa], I came on for the last five minutes of a game that was already won, which was a nice moment for me after missing out completely the year before.”

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