Arsene Wenger has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will not be available for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Sunderland, after the attacker suffered a fresh setback with his hamstring injury (via Arsenal.com).
The Chilean had been expected to return to the fold this weekend after sitting out the festive period with an ongoing hamstring issue.
The Arsenal boss insists Alexis’ issue is just a precautionary measure as he looks to bolster his attacking options for the second half of the season.
“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready. It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days,” Wenger revealed on Arsenal.com. “He’s not bad but he’s not ready.”
The Frenchman did provide some positive news however as there have been no further injury troubles after the weekend’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United. The Cup competitions are often a time to rotate and utilize fringe and young players, but Wenger confirmed he has yet to decide whether he will differ from his inform selection at present.
“The team news is that, from last week, we have no big injuries, and the squad will be similar to the squad who played the last game against Newcastle. Will a young player or two start? I haven’t decided yet.” He added.
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“The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round.”
Wenger was also quizzed on further injury updates, with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta all on the sidelines.
“Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.”
“Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available.”
Some positive news overall regarding the long-term injury list, but a blow nevertheless to be without Alexis Sanchez who now has been missing for close to six weeks. The last thing the Chilean needs is another reoccurrence of the hamstring injury, so not doubt he will be continued to be nursed back to health until his truly 100% for action.