Arsene Wenger gives latest update on Alexis Sanchez ahead of Arsenal v Chelsea
Arsene Wenger insists that he will not gamble on Alexis Sanchez's fitness ahead of Arsenal's clash with Chelsea
Arsene Wenger has insisted that he will be “cautious” with Alexis Sanchez and has not yet decided whether to risk the forward in Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea on Sunday.
The Chile international has been out of action since late November due to a hamstring injury picked up during the 1-1 draw at Norwich City.
The signs he has shown in training this week are positive
Sanchez has been in full training with Arsenal in recent days but Wenger is wary of rushing the 27-year-old back to first-team action too quickly.
Arsenal host the champions at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon but Wenger refused to confirm whether Sanchez would start the game.
Speaking at his pre-match news conference on Thursday morning, Wenger said: “The doubt is that he has been out for a long time and [there is] the risk of a setback if you try to go too early.
“To be clear on all the tests is one thing, after he is clear on training is another thing, and after that the intensity of a big game which you can never repeat in a training session.
“You can make sure after a certain amount of time that the risk is minimal. I am cautious with him because we cannot afford a setback with him. A setback would mean a very long period out so we don’t want to take this gamble.
“The signs he has shown in training this week are positive.”
There was some positive news on the injury front for Arsenal fans after Wenger confirmed that Mesut Ozil is back available after missing last weekend’s goalless draw at Stoke City with a minor foot problem.
The Arsenal boss also confirmed that Francis Coquelin returned to full training on Thursday as he steps up his recovery from a knee problem, before delivering injury updates on Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck.
Wenger continued: “Coquelin is back in full training today and he is ahead of schedule. He has still a few steps to go through.
“Welbeck will be in full training next week so that is positive news.
“It is possible Rosicky will play in the under-21 game [on Friday]. He was a bit sick at the beginning of the week but we planned for him to play tomorrow night. We have a few players coming back because we go into a very important period now for us.”