Sanchez will come back strong, says Arsenal boss

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Alexis Sanchez to come good ahead of his side's crucial trip to Old Trafford tomorrow.

The Chilean forward, who recently returned to action following a hamstring injury, has struggled for form this term, scoring in only six of 24 games.

That output pales in comparison to his debut season in English football, when he scored 19 goals in 42 games last term.

"He's a highly motivated player, he's conscious of his struggles," Wenger told a press conference yesterday.

"Let's focus on the team performance, every individual will benefit."

The last time Arsenal beat Manchester United away in the league was in 2006, when a late Emmanuel Adebayor goal gave the Gunners a 1-0 win.

With his class of 2015-16 currently two points adrift of leaders Leicester City, Wenger knows that another victory tomorrow will strengthen their title bid.

"It's the period of the season when you can show quality and nerves, and desire as well," said the Frenchman.

"We focus on the Premier League. We've put ourselves in a strong position again," he added, in reference to their comeback win against Leicester in their last league outing.

"We want to get over the disappointment of Barcelona and focus on the Premier League."

Arsenal's 2-0 Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat by the Catalan giants at home was not the only disappointment on Tuesday. Wenger confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been sidelined for weeks after suffering a knee injury in that match.

The England midfielder limped off after colliding with Barcelona's Javier Mascherano and although Wenger described the injury as serious, he was optimistic that it would not rule the 22-year-old out of Euro 2016.

"He is seeing a specialist," added the Arsenal manager.

"Let's hope that we get good news and it's only two or three weeks and not six or seven."

Central defender Gabriel is close to returning from a hamstring injury but will be tested over the next two days before he is included in the squad for the trip to Old Trafford.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2016, with the headline 'Sanchez will come back strong, says Arsenal boss'. Print Edition | Subscribe