Arsenal Wenger has announced that Alexis Sanchez might be unavailable for the game against Aston Villa on Sunday, a team which have scored less EPL goals this season than Sanchez himself.
To be honest with you, this is one news I feared was coming sooner rather than later. The day Sanchez would get injured and it has come. I am still at a loss of words for why he was introduced into the game against Brighton, as we seemed to have nailed it.
Whether he likes it or not, Sanchez has deserved a rest for quite a while but it seems the Chilean forward just enjoyed donning the red and white of Arsenal as there were reports that Wenger offered to rest him sometime last month but he opted against it saying he wanted to play.
Arsenal are really sweating on the fitness of the forward who has scored about a third of our goals this season and are hoping this hamstring injury is not worse than speculated. Sanchez is set to undergo a test on Saturday to determine if he would be fit for the game on Sunday but in my opinion, whether he passes the test or not, I feel he should be rested, the man deserves some rest.
Sanchez has featured in all but one of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season, and before this month’s win at Manchester City statistics revealed he had either scored or assisted more than half his side’s goals.
If the Chile international is missing on Sunday it will be the first time since September Arsenal have played a full 90 minutes in the league without him
On the bright side though, Wenger has said he would be throwing new man, Paulista into the squad to face Villa, saying the Brazilian is ready.
Gabriel is match fit, having not missed a league fixture this season for Villarreal, the club that the centre-half swapped for Arsenal earlier in the week and, given the on-going need to manage Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles issue, he could see a starting shirt against Villa.
Danny Welbeck (thigh) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) are out, together with the longer-term casualties Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy.
We already know how the team would line up though, except some unforeseen circumstances appear. Wenger has stated that he would name an unchanged side for the Villa game.
“The squad will be exactly the same as last Sunday,” Wenger said. “The only uncertainty we have is Alexis Sánchez, who has a hamstring concern, and that will be decided on Saturday. He might be out for Sunday.”
“The only other difference is that Gabriel is available and we’ll check on how he is physically but he should be alright to be available. Welbeck is very close. He will join in normal training on Monday. He will be available for the Tottenham game [next Saturday].”
Concerning Sanchez, one wonders if Wenger might think to himself now that he might have been a bit too forward in loaning out three of the clubs first team strikers, Podolski, Sanogo and Joel Campbell, all of who have left the club on loan.
As it is, we are left hoping that Alexis is fit enough and if not, then Wenger has the decision on whether to play Ozil out wide, where he has never really excelled, or to give young Chuba Akpom a start. It also leaves us vulnerable to any more injury problems that might occur in the front line.
Has Wenger fluffed this one?