Sanchez is fully fit; I’ve never forced anyone to play, says Wenger

Date published: Tuesday 22nd November 2016 1:38

Arsene Wenger: Wrong about Sanchez

Arsene Wenger has said he has never forced any Arsenal player to play and claims Alexis Sanchez is fully fit.

Sanchez picked up a hamstring problem while on international duty for Chile and missed their date with Colombia.

Wenger then warned that playing Sanchez against Uruguay would be a “suicidal decision” given he was struggling, but the 27-year-old scored twice for his country as they won 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier.

He played 84 minutes and did not return to Arsenal’s London Colney training base until Friday before starting and playing the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

But Wenger confirmed on Tuesday that Sanchez had completely recovered from the injury he picked up in training with Chile.

“He has recovered completely,” said Wenger. “I never forced in my whole life a player to play.

“Suggestions we forced him to play are wrong.”


Asked if the Chilean, who has made 16 appearances for club and country this season, would get a winter break, Wenger was open to the idea.

“If I have the possibility I would like to give a winter to break to everyone.

“I just had a chance to do it with Ozil,” added Wenger, who was afforded the opportunity to give Ozil some time off after he was omitted from Germany’s squad for their recent games with minnows San Marino and a friendly date with Italy.

Wenger was also asked the contrasting styles of Sanchez and fellow striker Olivier Giroud, who rescued the Gunners with a brilliant late header at Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime.

“They are different styles of players and that dictates a different style to us and shape, as well as the form of players at the moment.

“It’s a mixture of many ingredients. My job is to select and decide and that is the same every week,” added Wenger.

Sanchez has a history for refusing to miss games as Wenger found out to his cost almost 12 months ago.

After scoring a brace in a Champions League win over Dynamo Zagreb, the Frenchman confirmed Sanchez had a hamstring problem – but he still opted to play him in the next Premier League outing at Norwich.

Santi Cazorla: Midfielder sidelined for longer than expected

There, he lasted an hour before being forced off and he would miss almost two months as Arsenal fell out of the title picture.

With Arsenal already qualified Sanchez may well be afforded a rest against PSG, and one other player who will not be involved is Santi Cazorla, who is struggling with an Achilles problem.

“At the moment I have given up a little bit on that. I don’t know how far he is,” admitted Wenger.

“He is still not in full-time training.

“It is an inflammation at the back of his Achilles. My gut feeling is it will be short [term] – two weeks.”

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