Arsene Wenger has given a full team news update ahead of our FA Cup third round clash with Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, the boss confirmed the bad news that Sanchez has been ruled out of the game after failing to prove his fitness following a hamstring injury.
I think if this was a ‘big’ game, Alexis would have been in the squad but Arsene is being cautious and making sure the Chilean international is available to face Liverpool next week. And it’s the right call if you ask me.
Arsene also revealed that Cazorla is on course with his rehabilitation following knee surgery. The Spaniard is expected back around March – although the boss says he could return a little sooner as he usually recovers quickly.
Coquelin is also progressing well in his recovery from a serious knee injury while Arteta is now considered fit after recovering from a calf problem. The midfielder played 45 minutes for the U21′s earlier this week so could be in the squad to face Sunderland on Saturday.
In a further boost, Rosicky could also be back in contention soon as he’s set to return to full training next week after missing the entire season so far with a knee injury.
So it looks as though our injury woes are slowly subsiding but there was no update from Arsene on Wilshere or Welbeck – both are expected back at some point in February
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 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.
On Santi Cazorla…
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.
On Rosicky and Arteta…
Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available.
On the possibility of resting players…
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.
I hope the boss takes the opportunity to rest a few key players against Sunderland this weekend as we have a huge Premier League game against Liverpool on Wednesday night and the league simply has to be the priority during the second half of the season.