Wenger gives latest Arsenal injury update ahead of Spurs clash

Arsene Wenger admits that Alexis Sanchez is desperate to play for Arsenal on Saturday

Arsene Wenger admits that Alexis Sanchez is desperate to play for Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham but confirmed that he is unlikely to risk him for the trip to White Hart Lane.

The Chilean has not featured for the Gunners since their 3-2 FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion due to a hamstring injury but is now closing in on a return.

However, despite Sanchez’s eagerness to feature on Saturday, Wenger said that he probably won’t play the 26-year-old.

“Sanchez for me is out, although he wants to have a go today, he’s too short,” Wenger told a news conference on Friday morning.

“[Telling him he’s not playing] is not easy! He wants to play of course. He’s very keen and thinks he can even defy the medical people because he’s so keen.

“I don’t know yet [if he could feature], I need medical advice on that and need as well to see what he can do in training.”

Wenger also revealed that January signing Gabriel Paulista is fit and ready to start for the Gunners if needed, but the Frenchman is not planning to tinker with his back four ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“Paulista can start,” he said. “At the moment I think he’s ready to start, he’s just not used to playing in our back four and he doesn’t master the language at the moment at all – but he’s physically ready.

“I think at the moment I am not especially tempted to change the middle of our defence”

Wenger also went on to confirm that striker Danny Welbeck is back available after his lay-off with a thigh injury, and that Jack Wilshere is set to return to full training next week as the midfielder continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

He added: “Welbeck is back, Jack Wilshere will join in normal training next week ahead of schedule.”

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