Arsene Wenger has warned that Alexis Sanchez may have to sit out Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Sunday because of a hamstring problem.
The 26-year-old Chile international will have a fitness test to see if he is able to face Paul Lambert’s side, but Wenger has hinted that, because of the Gunners’ hectic schedule in the next few weeks, he may not risk Sanchez.
The former Udinese and Barcelona star has been in sublime form for Arsenal this season following his £30million transfer from the Nou Camp last summer, scoring 12 goals in 21 Premier League appearances.
Wenger said: “The squad will be exactly the same as last Sunday. The only uncertainty we have is Alexis Sanchez, who has a hamstring concern, and that will be decided on Saturday. He might be out for Sunday.”
However, Wenger has intimated that he could hand Gabriel Paulista his debut following the Brazilian defender’s £11.3million switch from Villarreal.
Gabriel has not missed a league fixture for the Yellow Submarines this season, and Wenger added: “The only other difference is that Gabriel is available and we’ll check on how he is physically but he should be all right.”
Laurent Koscielny may be rested because of his ongoing Achilles problem, while Danny Welbeck definitely misses out because of a thigh injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s groin problem means he will also sit out the match.
Long-term casualties Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy remain sidelined for a match Arsenal are 1.21 win. An Aston Villa victory is available at 12.96.