Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed that Alexis Sanchez will be back in action next week despite suffering a recurrence of hamstring setback just before Christmas.
Wenger also suggested that Mathieu Flamini could return to the starting eleven after being dropped for the 2 – 0 victory against Bournemouth.
Wenger said: “Certainly we will rotate again. Flamini has a chance to come back and I think Alexis is a bit short. Alexis will be back in one week, maybe against Sunderland. Everybody else in the squad against Bournemouth should be available.
Alexis Sanchez has been sidelined since November 29 after scoring nine goals in 20 appearances in all competitions this term prior to the setback.
The ongoing recovery of Jack Wilshere will also go down well at the Emirates. Wenger earlier had feared his in-form midfielder might be out for the remaining of the season after fracturing a fibula in pre-season.
But the recent medical update looks more positive and Wenger revealed: “He could make it back for February or even earlier. He will be available again. Considering England play the Euros on June 10, that is a long way.”
It has been a good end of the year for the Gunners who managed to jump above all their title rivals, despite a shocking result on the south coast on Boxing Day with a 4-0 loss to Southampton. When asked if Arsenal have the potential to go all the way and clinch their first top-flight silverware since 2004, Wenger stated: “I’m confident we will fight to stay there. It is a long way to go – we are only halfway.”
“Everybody wants to predict who will win it at halfway and that is unfortunately even for the most intelligent people [that is] impossible.
“I believe that we are mature enough and that we have the requested quality to fight and compete. The most important thing is to feel, at the end of the season, that we have given absolutely everything to be successful.
“After that, if somebody has been better than us, we will accept it, but we want to fight to show that we have a chance.”