Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he gambled on Alexis Sanchez

The Arsenal manager admits that he took a chance with the fitness of the Chilean striker

Arsene Wenger admits that he took a chance by starting Alexis Sanchez in Arsenal’s FA Cup fifth-round clash with Middlesbrough.

The Chile international picked up a knee problem in the 2-1 midweek win over Leicester City in the Premier League and was thought to be an injury doubt for Sunday’s cup tie.

However, the 26-year-old started the game and played 72 minutes as goals from Olivier Giroud booked the Gunners’ place in the last eight of the competition.

And speaking at his post-match news conference at Emirates Stadium, Wenger conceded that he had taken a “gamble” in playing the former Barcelona man.

“I took a gamble on him,” Wenger told the gathered media.

“He always wants to play. Everybody’s like that but he is a little more so.

“He had a good performance. I think he became stronger as the game went on.”

Sanchez has been one of the Premier League’s standout performers since his £35m switch from Barcelona last summer.

MORE: Read the latest Arsenal player tweets

He has scored 12 goals in the top flight and has also set up seven goals for his team-mates. He also netted three times in the group stage of the Champions League.

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