Mohamed Elneny rues a missed chance
Mohamed Elneny was forced off before half-time against Southampton Getty Images


  • Gunners crashed out of the EFL Cup following a disappointing defeat to the Saints.
  • Santi Cazorla is still expected to remain on the sidelines for the weekend trip to West Ham but Olivier Giroud may return.

Arsene Wenger has played down Mohamed Elneny's injury concerns after revealing that the Arsenal midfielder was replaced during his side's 2-0 defeat EFL Cup defeat to Southampton due to illness. The French boss suggested that Santi Cazorla will remain on the sidelines for the Saturday derby with West Ham but Olivier Giroud could be back.

Goals from Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand during the first half were enough for Southampton to progress to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, inflicting on Arsenal their first defeat since the Premier League opening day fixture against Liverpool.

Wenger made 10 changes in his line-up from the side that beat Bournemouth at the weekend, keeping only Elneny in the midfield so his key players will be fresh for this weekend's Premier League trip to West Ham.

Elneny was forced off shortly before half-time, being replaced by Granit Xhaka. Yet the Egypt International is not ruled out of facing West Ham as Wenger revealed after the game that he was taken off due to an illness he had been aware of before the match.

"He was sick before the game. He decided he felt well enough. I could see after five or 10 minutes that he was not right," Wenger confirmed in the press conference after the game. "He has no medical injury problem, but he has diarrhoea or a stomach problem."

Wenger will be hoping Elneny will recover in time for the weekend after confirming that Cazorla is still struggling with the Achiles injury he sustained in October. Giroud, who missed the defeat to Southampton due to injury, may also be back to face West Ham.

"Giroud is short [time] but has a chance to be available for Saturday," the Arsenal boss said. "Cazorla I don't know, honestly. It's just inflammation. It can go in two days, two weeks — I don't know. He has no setback, the inflammation is just still here. At the moment, it's stable."