Alexis Sanchez told Arsene Wenger that he is ready to play against Manchester United on Saturday but the Gunners boss is yet to review the player’s fitness. The forward will be returning to North London tomorrow ahead of the clash at Old Trafford.
After the reports that Alexis Sanchez would miss up to two months with a thigh injury, it was slightly surprising to see him take to the pitch a few days ago. The 27-year-old’s two goals made all the difference as Chile triumphed over Uruguay to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive.
As far as the Chilean team is concerned, the gamble on Alexis paid off. The South American side doesn’t play another match until March but for Arsenal, the next game comes a lot sooner and when Arsene Wenger was asked about the player’s fitness, he wasn’t exactly confident.
“We were in doubt 24 hours before the game against Uruguay,” Wenger said in his pre-match press conference. “We didn’t know if he’d play and in the end, they decided to play him.
“He texts us back that he’s in good shape after the game, came off after 84 minutes but then we have to wait.
“I see him tomorrow and see if he can be involved in the squad or not.
- [Team news] Arsenal line up vs Wolves – Arteta’s dilemma with three out
- [Player ratings] Molde 0-3 Arsenal – Balogun scores as Gunners cruise
- Arteta reveals contract talks for starlet who’s part of Arsenal’s ‘DNA’
“I don’t know how bad his injury was. You have to trust the medical people from Chile.
“I understand completely that Alexis wanted to play, these are qualifiers they aren’t friendly games. Chile is not in a fantastic position to qualify for the World Cup and I understand that Alexis is keen to play for his country in such a big game.
“After that, November is a difficult period because it’s the first time where players have played many games. Most of the time it’s a decisive period in the Champions League because it’s game number 5, for most of the clubs, it’s a very important game.
“In the Championship the first decisive games can turn up so it’s a period where you can pay a heavy price. Last year we lost important players in November for long periods.”
Wenger is certainly right that Arsenal are going into a key period. After the match against Mourinho’s Manchester United, Arsenal face PSG in the Champions League next Wednesday knowing that win will all but secure top spot in the qualification group. With matches against AFC Bournemouth and an EFL Cup game against Southampton following that, perhaps Wenger should take a leaf out of Chile’s book and try and get Alexis to play in these big fixtures.