By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are hopeful that Alexis Sanchez’s injury is not as bad as initially feared, Football Insider sources understands.
The Chilean limped off with what Arsene Wenger confirmed was a hamstring problem in the second half of the Gunners’ 1-1 draw at Norwich on Sunday, prompting fears of a lengthy lay-off.
But an Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the early assessment of the club’s medical team is that the injury appears not to be a really serious one.
Nevertheless, Arsenal are taking a cautious approach to the situation and Sanchez will undergo a scan on his right hamstring on Tuesday to assess the full extent of the damage.
It would be a huge boost to the Gunners if the 26-year-old is not added to their growing casualty list, which featured six players before the Norwich match.
Laurent Koscielny (hip) also limped out of the Premier League clash at Carrow Road after just 11 minutes while Wenger revealed afterwards that Santi Cazorla “played on one leg for the final part of the second half” due to a knee problem.
With 60 minutes of the match gone, Sanchez grabbed the back of his his right leg after chasing a goal-scoring opportunity, began to limp and then called for medical attention. He was immediately substituted and replaced by Joel Campbell as he was escorted off the pitch by physio Colin Lewin.
Sanchez’s injury comes after Wenger revealed at his pre-match media briefing on Friday that the Chilean was struggling with a hamstring problem going into the match.
Asked by Sky Sports on Sunday night if the amount of football Sanchez has played contributed to his injury, Wenger replied, “You could say that. At the moment on the striker front we have not much choice because [Danny] Welbeck is out, [Theo] Walcott is out, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain is just coming back.
“Just because you repeat the games doesn’t mean you get injured, maybe the travelling to South America as well. I would have rested him today but he felt perfectly alright before the game and he declared that he had no problem.”
Of Arsenal’s 19 Premier League and Champions League matches this season, Sanchez has started 18 and been a second-half substitute in the other one, on the back of an exhausting programme over the last 18 months.
The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes of last Tuesday’s 3-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Zagreb, scoring twice and setting up the opener for Mesut Ozil.
Following their elimination from the League Cup, Arsenal do not have a match until Saturday’s fixture against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.