Arsene Wenger misses press conference through illness

Arsene Wenger misses press conference through illness

Arsene Wenger was absent from his usual pre-match press conference on Thursday due to illness.

The Arsenal manager was replaced by assistant Steve Bould, who took questions from the media ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Stoke.

Wenger was unable to fulfil his commitments due to losing his voice but is expected to be in place for the game.

Bould said Jack Wilshere could face Stoke despite the midfielder missing England's friendlies against Holland and Italy because of injury.

"Jack had a bit of a knee problem, he has come back and is fine," Bould said.

Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League, 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with eight games remaining.

It means a top-four finish is almost certainly beyond them, but Bould said it is important Arsenal build momentum before the season ends, given it could help their push for Europa League silverware. The Gunners have a Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow coming up next month, and that competition offers a route into the Champions League.

Bould said: "Of course it is tough (to reach the top four), we are not stupid. But if we are to win the Europa League winning games now is important to us."

- PA

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