REUTERS – Striker Alexis Sanchez will miss Arsenal’s FA Cup third round tie with Sunderland on Saturday as a precautionary measure, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.
The Chilean has been sidelined for more than a month after picking up a hamstring injury against Norwich City on November 29.
He was expected to return to the side before Christmas but suffered a setback that delayed his recovery, and Wenger is unwilling to risk him given that Arsenal have key Premier League fixtures against Liverpool and Stoke City next week.
“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready. It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready,” the Frenchman told the club’s website (www.arsenal.com).
The Gunners are two points clear at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Leicester City and Wenger is also keen to win the FA Cup for a record third time in a row.
“The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify,” he said.
“We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round.”
The manager also confirmed that midfielder Mikel Arteta was available for selection for the first time since November 21, while Tomas Rosicky would be back in full training next week as he nears a return from a knee injury.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)