Arsene Wenger has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will not return in time for Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Liverpool next Wednesday.
The Chile star has been sidelined since the end of November with a hamstring problem, but he could be in contention to face Stoke next weekend.
“Sanchez is a bit short. I hope that he can get a persistent presence. We’re going into a run of games where we need everybody,” Wenger told Friday’s press conference.
Wenger also confirmed forgotten man Danny Welbeck could be back in action in a month after being ruled out since May. The Emgland man is still recovering from the knee surgery he underwent in September.
“Welbeck will be three to four weeks,” said Wenger, who confirmed Mikel Arteta is fit.
“Arteta is available – he played 45 minutes on Tuesday,” added Wenger, who also says Tomas Rosicky is “not far away” in his recovery from a knee problem.
The Arsenal boss also made it clear this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Sunderland was firmly in his focus.
“I don’t see why the FA Cup should be ostracised because of the Premier League. We want to go for the competition and go for it 100 per cent.
“Being the holders, we want to stay in the competition and do it again if possible,” added Wenger, who admitted he expects to see a strong Sunderland side at The Emirates.
“I do not expect any weaknesses from Sam Allardyce. His team will be focused no matter what.
“Managers do not play weaker teams because everyone has 25 players of Premier League quality.”