Wenger may risk playing an unfit Sanchez

LONDON • Arsene Wenger is willing to risk Alexis Sanchez aggravating a tight hamstring at Norwich tomorrow and joining a lengthy list of Arsenal team-mates in the treatment room.

The manager said he has been persuaded by the forward's powers of recovery from minor injuries and missing only a fortnight through injury since joining the club in 2014.

Sanchez felt the problem after a 3-0 victory over Dynamo Zagreb on Tuesday, when he was forced to stay on the pitch because of injuries to other players.

Wenger has been considering resting Sanchez, who has played 23 games for club and country, since helping Chile to lift the Copa America in the summer. But it has been counterbalanced by the need for results and a stretched squad.

"You think, 'He's dead now', and then he recovers and gives 100 per cent again, so you see signs of exhaustion but it's not, because two days later, he's fine," Wenger said.

"His resistance is remarkable. He goes to (play in) South America, comes back Thursday night and on Saturday he can play without a problem, even if he's jet-lagged.

"Players at 15 now have a physio every day. He is more a street player, not pampered.

"Spontaneously, it might not be the best moment to rest Alexis."

The Frenchman said Sanchez is helped by knowing how much he can push his body, likening him to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

"They go when they go; like the lion, he has to catch the animal in the first 200 metres," he said.

"When they go, it is to kill."

Arsenal can ill afford Sanchez, the club's joint top scorer this season alongside Olivier Giroud with nine goals in all competitions, to be out of action through injuries.

But the club have been boosted by the return of midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a fit-again Aaron Ramsey.

Still, Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck are all ruled out of the trip to Norwich.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2015, with the headline 'Wenger may risk playing an unfit Sanchez'. Print Edition | Subscribe