Arsene Wenger has revealed that Alexis Sanchez will not feature against Sunderland after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The Chilean international hasn’t played for the Gunners since limping off against Norwich at the end of November and had been penciled in for an FA Cup return this Saturday.
“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready,” the boss told Arsenal.com on Thursday.
“It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.”
It remains to be seen whether this latest news rules him out of Wednesday’s game with Liverpool at Anfield.
With the squad stretched thin by injuries – and with Mesut Ozil being given a rest – the boss admitted he’ll have little choice but to field a similar squad to that which overcame Newcastle last weekend.
“The team news is that, from last week, we have no big injuries, and the squad will be similar to the squad who played the last game against Newcastle. Will a young player or two start? I haven’t decided yet.”
“The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. 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 boss also gave updates on Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta.
“Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.
“Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel [Arteta] is available.”