Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has praised the fitness of star player Alexis Sanchez by claiming that he could be in line for a return in time for the second game of the season, the Daily Star reports.
The Chilean was tipped to miss out the early part of the action until September as he rests up following his success at this summer’s Copa America.
However, though he has missed the club’s pre-season trip to Singapore, Wenger has revealed that he has stepped up the playmaker’s return ahead of schedule.
“Alexis will be back on 3 August,” said Wenger. “Usually it takes three weeks to be competitive. With Alexis it could be a bit less. He will miss certainly the first game.
“He is an important player for us and he showed he has the winning mentality when he took on the responsibility to take the last penalty in the Copa America Final against Argentina.”
Sanchez was left behind in England with striker Danny Welbeck, who is still recovering from the injury that kept him out of last season’s FA Cup final victory.
But the former Manchester United man is believed to be on course for making a return at the Community Shield in early August.
“Welbeck’s injury was at the start very minor. It’s bone bruising, but it took much longer to settle than we expected,” Wenger continued.
“I expect him to play a part in the Emirates Cup at the end of the month. I also expect him to develop as a central striker and a wide player.
“He played mostly wide last season, but if he adds goals as well he can be very effective as a central striker as well.”
While it will be good news for Gunners fans to have Sanchez available sooner, he will surely be carrying a greater risk of burnout. After taking part in last summer’s World Cup, he made 52 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions before heading home for the Copa America.
He may be fit, but that kind of non-stop action would take its toll on anyone.
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