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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

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Wenger backing duo to come good

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is backing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere to play front-line roles again soon after they took a back seat in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.

Wilshere remained unused as a substitute in the goalless deadlock while Oxlade-Chamberlain was below his best and taken off 13 minutes from time to be replaced by Andrei Arshavin.

The travelling fans were heard chanting 'You don't know what you're doing' towards the dugout, with Olivier Giroud also taken off late on. and replaced by defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin. However, Wenger is not prepared to concede any ground.

"I have managed for 30 years, including 1,600 matches and 200 in the Champions League, so I must have been a bit lucky!" he said. "Alex has not played a lot recently and lacks a bit but he was dangerous in patches.

"He's a very talented boy who I believe will be a great player. But he's learning his job. He's 19 and there will be ups and downs, so you need patience.

"I'm relieved Jack had no setbacks (after his major ankle injury) but he had some inflammation - a bit of scar tissue - and the rest here will help us get rid of it.

"He has not played for 17 months until recently and people forget what that means. It's massive. It would have been more dangerous in weather like that to bring Jack on. It made sense here not to play him."

Wenger also pointed to the close proximity of the North London derby against Tottenham and the Champions League game against Montpellier last week as being another factor in his thinking at Villa Park, while the Gunners play Everton away on Wednesday.

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