Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal will be without star forward Alexis Sanchez for Saturday’s crunch derby clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Chile international, who has been oh so impressive since his summer arrival from Barcelona, is taking part in light training but will not be ready for the game at White Hart Lane as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
The news not only deals a blow to Wenger’s plans for the match, with Sanchez having become the key man in his attack, but also means that the fans will now look toward the fixture with far less optimism.
Though Danny Welbeck will return to the first-team fold after a month out, he doesn’t promise the same sort of goal threat as his counterpart, and without Sanchez the Gunners may struggle to build upon their timely run of five wins in their last five outings.
According to The Guardian, Wenger said: “The latest is that Alexis is not ready.
"The latest is that Alexis is not ready"
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“He is not far away, the Leicester game [at home next Tuesday] is a possibility. He is of course very difficult to keep quiet. He is training but it’s light training.”
Saturday’s game will also see Jack Wilshere absent once more, though the youngster will return to training next week following his long-term ankle injury. The 23-year-old will be facing plenty of questions after being snapped with a shisha pipe earlier this week, having already been under the spotlight for smoking-related misdemeanours in the past.
Tottenham will enter the north London derby in fine spirits, with Harry Kane’s brace against West Brom putting him ahead of all other strikers with regards to the goal scoring rankings in England across all competitions.
The Lilywhites have only lost twice in their last 14 outings, and there’s sure to be the feeling that they can take advantage of Sanchez’s absence and get all three points. If they do then they’ll leapfrog the Gunners in the table, with both sides competing with the likes of Manchester United, Southampton and Liverpool for the all-coveted Champions League spots.
At the moment just two points separate Arsenal and Spurs and if Southampton lose their weekend game against struggling Queens Park Rangers one of the two north London clubs could find themselves third.