By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out of Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Newcastle on Saturday.

Speaking at his media conference on Thursday morning, Arsene Wenger has claimed that the Chilean’s fitness is a “bit short” for him to make his comeback at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

But Mathieu Flamini could return at the weekend after missing Monday’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth with an ankle injury.

Sanchez is recovering from a hamstring injury that he initially sustained at the start of December in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Norwich.

He had been pencilled in to return to the team to face Manchester City on Monday of last week but suffered a setback in training and was ruled out of the Gunners’ festive fixture schedule by Wenger, as well as the FA Cup third-round match against Sunderland on 9 January.

“He will be back around 10 January,” Wenger had said at his post-match media conference on 21 December. “For the Christmas period, don’t count him. He had a very slight setback.

“He was planned to be on the bench tonight, he was so keen. But he got a little pain so we didn’t take a gamble at all.”