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Arsenal boss admits virus fear

23:59 05 October 2012

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

Arsene Wenger has admitted the virus that has affected numerous members of the Arsenal squad has been a cause of great concern for him.

The Gunners hope to have Per Mertesacker available for this evening’s trip to West Ham after the German missed the midweek Champions League win over Olympiakos with a flu-like illness which had also previously laid low England forward Theo Walcott, midfielder Francis Coquelin and captain Thomas Vermaelen.

While the current outbreak is nothing like an epidemic, Wenger maintains the club are always cautious in regards to prevention.

“We have improved the level of hygiene in the dressing room, we clean everything. It is funny, but shaking hands is one of the biggest things to spread virus,” said Wenger.

“I shake hands with everybody, but we are advised not to do it when there is a high level of risk.

“At the moment it has passed and is not a high level. A few have it, but it is not [necessarily] the case that they got it here.”

Having 6ft 6in centre-back Mertesacker available again would be a tactical boost for nullifying the threat of fit-again West Ham forward Andy Carroll.

“Mertesacker has made a big leap and he came back [from his broken ankle] very fit,” said Wenger.

“He looked very sharp on the first day that he came back, he lost some weight and of course that helps.”

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