After a painful north London derby defeat at the weekend, Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Alexis Sánchez for their Premier League clash against Leicester City on Tuesday. Sánchez, Arsenal’s standout player this season with 18 goals following his summer transfer from Barcelona, has been absent with a hamstring problem since an FA Cup fourth round win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Jan. 25.
Manager Arsene Wenger is delighted to have the Chilean back on a squad that let an early lead slip to lose 2-1 against Tottenham.
“Alexis will be back in the group and we don’t have any injuries from Saturday,” he said. “Everybody else looked fine yesterday. He’s our best goalscorer and one of our hardest-working players in the team. Physically I think we suffered a little bit on some occasions on Saturday and it’s good to have him back.”
Arsenal now have considerable options at their disposal in attacking areas. Danny Welbeck returned from his own injury to take his place in the starting lineup at White Hart Lane, meaning Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky were forced to settle for places on the substitute’s bench. But with a quick turnaround to hosting the Premier League’s bottom club at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, Wenger is likely to make some changes.
He won’t, though, yet be able to call upon Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The young England midfielder has been missing since picking up a groin strain in the victory at Manchester City last month, and Wenger confirmed that he was “at least two more weeks” away from a return to the first team. Jack Wilshere is also not yet ready for a return, although the 23-year-old, out since November with the latest in a long line of ankle problems, has returned to full training this week. Wenger appears understandably cautious about setting a definite timeline for Wilshere’s reintroduction to the first team.
“I don’t know exactly, we have to monitor him on a daily basis and see how he develops,” he said on Monday.
Further away from a comeback are Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy. Arteta had an operation on his ankle in the middle of January to help relieve a long-standing calf complaint, and was expected to miss six weeks. Debuchy, meanwhile, having already missed three months earlier this season after his own ankle surgery, is expected to be out until April after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-0 win over Stoke City on Jan. 11.