By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out of Arsenal’s FA Cup clash against Sunderland this weekend after suffering a fresh injury setback, Arsene Wenger has revealed.
The Chilesan forward had been pencilled in to return for the Gunners at Emirates Stadium on Saturday after being out since late November with a hamstring injury.
Wenger has now revealed that Sanchez has suffered a second setback, having previously missed the win over Manchester City on 21 December that had initially been targeted for his comeback.
“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready,” Wenger told the Arsenal website on Thursday afternoon. “It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.”
Sanchez now faces a race against time to feature in Arsenal’s crucial Premier League clash at Liverpool next Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has not played since 29 November, when he went off with a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw against Norwich at Carrow Road. He was scheduled to return against City in a match Arsenal won 2-1, but was ruled out following a setback in training.
More encouragingly for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta is in contention for a return to the squad after a lengthy absence with a calf injury. The club captain played 45 minutes in midweek for the Arsenal Under-21s.
The latest bulletin from Wenger about the recoveries of key midfield duo Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin is also positive.
“Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi,” the manager explained. “It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.”