Arsene Wenger has given us a huge boost ahead of our trip to the Britannia Stadium this weekend, suggesting that Alexis Sanchez could make his return from injury against Stoke this weekend.
The Chilean has been out for quite some time, with set-back after set-back seeing his return date pushed back (via Arsenal.com). He could finally be back this weekend though, with Wenger declaring him “fit”, although unsure whether or not to take a gamble on bringing him back so soon after his recovery.
We haven’t exactly suffered in the former Barcelona star’s absence, as we’ve had some excellent results and currently sit top of the table. His return to the side would be massive though, as we now need to make sure we stay top of the table until the end of the campaign.
It seems very unlikely that Alexis will start against Stoke, as Wenger is unsure whether to even include him in the squad (via The Independent). He may make a cameo appearance towards the tail end of the game, but it could all depend on the situation. Throwing him on when we badly need a goal may not be the best idea, as knowing Alexis he would run himself into the ground in pursuit of that goal. We can’t afford for him to re-injure himself, as he’ll no doubt be a key factor in whether or not we clinch the title this season.
If Alexis is somehow miraculously able to start the game, the question then becomes: who does he replace? Joel Campbell seems the prime candidate, although going on recent form it’s hard to drop the Costa Rican. Theo Walcott would be the obvious choice given his impotence in recent weeks, but will his seniority allow him to keep his starting spot?
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For the first time in quite a while, Wenger has some serious selection headaches to deal with. Injuries and poor form have limited his options over the last month or so, but with several players returning the 66-year-old has plenty of squad depth to utilise this weekend.