Arsenal will be without Alexis Sanchez for the first few weeks of the Premier League season.
[ MORE: Mourinho “optimistic” despite defeat ]
Sanchez, 28, picked up an abdominal injury in training ahead of last Sunday’s FA Community Shield victory against Chelsea at Wembley and the Chilean forward will now miss Friday’s PL opener against Leicester City (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and is unlikely to make their trip to Stoke in Week 2 too.
Speaking about Sanchez’s injury, Arsene Wenger explained why his star man will be missing.
“He had a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley,” Wenger said. “He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while – we don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week, but he will not be available. We think he will not play at Stoke.
“For us Alexis Sanchez is a loss, of course. But we have all the other players prepared in pre-season and they are all ready. It can happen in pre-season and anyway, I don’t think I would have included him on Friday night. I don’t think I would have started him. He is focused. Of course when you have treatment on a medical bench, it’s not easy.”
With Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey also serious doubts for the season opener against the Foxes, Arsenal will have to rely on the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi to lead their attack. That worked out pretty well for them at Wembley last weekend.
In the case of Sanchez it’s safe to say most Arsenal fans wouldn’t have expected to see him playing in their season opener anyway, but probably because he would’ve been sold after returning from international action late in preseason.
With Sanchez having less than 12 months on his contract and no new deal signed, the skeptics out there (definitely not myself included…) could suggest that this injury is rather timely given that Sanchez may not return to action before the summer transfer window shuts on Aug. 31.
Wenger has of course repeatedly stated that Sanchez will stay at Arsenal this season and said the Chilean forward “has to respect that decision” but is something else going on here? Has Sanchez played his final game for Arsenal with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City still reportedly interested in signing him?
After almost 12 months of speculation surrounding Sanchez’s future the end-game doesn’t appear to be in sight. Hence why every injury, missed training session and social media post is heavily scrutinized for clues about his future.