Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger can rest a little easier as one of his star players has returned from the international break unscathed.
Chile manager Juan Antonio Pizzi risked harming his relationship with the Premier League side by starting Alexis Sánchez in their crucial World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Tuesday night despite earlier concerns that he was injured – however the gamble paid off, as not only did the forward come through it injury-free, but he also scored two fantastic strikes in a 2-1 victory.
To cap off a great week for Alexis (and Arsenal), the 27-year-old has confirmed that he is fit to face Manchester United on Saturday.
There were fears initially that his hamstring injury could keep him out for as long as a month if he didn’t rest, hence Arsenal’s dismay that he was starting for Chile, but those fears appear to have been unfounded.
Speaking to reporters after the game on Tuesday (in quotes picked up by Chilean outlet La Tercera) Alexis outlines his travel and training plans, finishing (presumably) with leading the line in Arsenal’s attack in the massive Premier League fixture, saying:
“I travel to London today [Wednesday]. Training on Friday and traveled the same Friday to Manchester to play on Saturday at noon. No problem to play.”
Alexis has become a vital part of Arsenal’s new dynamic, free-flowing attacking set-up. Against what wll almost certainly be a makeshift Man United defence, his mobility will be absolutely essential if Wenger is to improve on his poor record against both Saturday’s opponents and, indeed, their manager José Mourinho.
Wenger knows that a positive result is vital as they look to keep the pace with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in what is looking like becoming a tight and unpredictable Premier League title race.
In other injury news, right-back Héctor Bellerín will definitely miss out, the Spanish international having picked up an ankle injury that will rule him out for several weeks.