London, Aug 9 (IANS) Abdominal strain will keep star Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez out of their first English Premier League (EPL) football game against Leicester City on Friday, head coach Arsene Wenger has said.
“He had a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley (for the FA Community Shield final on Sunday),” Wenger was quoted as saying by Arsenal’s website on Tuesday.
“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,” Wenger said at a news conference on Wednesday, ESPNFC reported.
Wenger though stressed on the fact that Sanchez remained “focused” on playing for Arsenal this season. The Chile player has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Wenger said Sanchez would be missed but admitted he would not have started the game against Leicester even if he was deemed fit to play.
“Alexis Sanchez is always a loss for us, of course. But all the other players prepared in preseason and are ready,” Wenger said.
On Sanchez and Ozil’s final year of contract, Wenger said: “When a player goes into the final year of their contract we will try to extend the contract because there is no reason we shouldn’t do it, but we are not there yet.”
Wenger also dismissed Chelsea’s reported interest in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, saying he is still firmly in his first-team plans.
“Personally, I think he is a hugely talented player. He is on the way up and he will continue to move up because that potential is there,” Wenger said.
“He is today very conscious of his qualities as well, which he was not always, and I personally believe he will be a very great player.”
Wenger hinted his team for Leicester clash could be similar to the one which won the Community Shield against Chelsea on penalties.
Players like Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Per Mertesacker are also uncertain for the Leicester clash.
While Ozil and Ramsey missed the Community Shield, Mertesacker was taken off injured after sustaining a head injury.
“I cannot go into the game with too many uncertainties. I can take a gamble on one, maybe maximum two,” Wenger said.
“I will focus more on the players who had the right number of competitive minutes in recent weeks.”