Virus causing concern for Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes 'shaking hands is one of the biggest things to spread virus'

Arsene Wenger believes 'shaking hands is one of the biggest things to spread virus'

First published in National Sport News © by

Arsene Wenger revealed Arsenal would go as far as stopping players shaking hands if it meant keeping a virus from spreading through the squad.

The Gunners hope to have Per Mertesacker available for Saturday 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, and he said: "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."

He added: "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."

Arsenal responded from last weekend's disappointing home defeat by Chelsea to stay on course for qualification for the knockout stages in Europe.

Gervinho netted his fifth goal in as many games during the 3-1 victory, having been moved to a central striker's role following the sale of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Wenger is confident the whole side can now provide a collective attacking threat.

"When Van Persie was injured of course it's not only that you can't score goals any more, it is the psychological consequences on the morale of the team," Wenger said. "Players ask you already, 'does Van Persie play on Saturday or not?' when he has two or three days out."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree