It’s November, Arsenal fans.
In the month which is historically Arsene Wenger‘s worst in terms of points gained, injuries are already starting to pile up.
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Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Wenger spoke to the media and confirmed right back Hector Bellerin will be out until the end of December as Carl Jenkinson will likely get an extended run in the team.
“Hector (Bellerin) is out for four weeks. It came in the last 10 seconds against Tottenham. It was a strong tackle from (Danny) Rose,” Wenger confirmed.
Arsenal’s manager was also far from impressed as top scorer and influential attacker Alexis Sanchez suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with Chile.
Strapped up, Sanchez scored twice in the second half as Chile beat Uruguay 3-1 on Tuesday in a crucial CONMEBOL 2018 World Cup qualifier. However his manager wasn’t ecstatic with his fitness being risked ahead of a busy stretch of games in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and EFL Cup.
“He played recovering from a hamstring injury,” Wenger said. “I understand he is keen to play for his country. I don’t know how bad his injury was and we have to trust the medical department of Chile. I will see him tomorrow and we have to wait and see if he can be involved in our squad.”
Sanchez will train with Arsenal on Friday after returning from South America and Wenger will make a final decision on his fitness.
If Sanchez is missing, it would be a huge blow for Wenger as he comes up against his old foe Jose Mourinho.
Playing in a central role this season the 27-year-old has terrorized opposition defenses, scoring eight times in all competitions. Along with Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott the Chilean attacker is a key cog in Arsenal’s pacy, creative attacking unit. If he does miss out, Olivier Giroud will likely step in to the central role with Walcott, Ozil and Alex Iwobi off him.
With a new contract offer currently being negotiated, Sanchez’s importance to Arsenal is clear.
However, his insistence to put his body on the line not only when away with Chile but also with the Gunners is causing Wenger problems. In the past it is believed Sanchez has complained about being rested and he wants to play every game possible. You have to love that commitment but should he really be dictating to Wenger?
In other injury news Santi Cazorla remains out and has no returned to training, while Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are out until the new year and Chuba Akpom and Lucas Perez are also out.