Arsene Wenger has chosen to rest influential attacker Alexis Sanchez in the third round FA Cup game at Preston North End tomorrow.
Arsenal go into the cup clash against the Championship outfit on the back of a hectic festive period, culminating with a pulsatingng 3-3 draw at Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Sanchez scored in the game to make it 3-1 after Wenger’s side trailed and the goal sparked a remarkable comeback.
But the Gunners get a break from league action to take part in the cup and Wenger will rest the Chile star despite the player keen to be involved. The French coach wants to give Sanchez a breather and have him fully refreshed for the next Premier League encounter at Swansea next Saturday.
“Alexis wants always to play and on one side when I don’t play him, people say ‘why don’t you play him?’ and on the other hand I am criticised for using him too much.”
“But I always planned in my head, no matter what happens, that in January he will need a breather. What we forget is that when they go away for international games they travel to Chile. Then they play sometimes 2,000 miles away, they travel back and then they come here and play the next day again.”
“They are human beings — you have to give them a breather at some stage. Mentally and physically Alexis needs a rest because at the moment he is a bit jaded. You can see that he is tired.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has revealed that Francis Coquelin, Lucas, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs will miss the game through injury.
Coquelin will be out for at least a month with a hamstring injury; Ozil is close to a return following flu; Walcott is still out with a calf problem and Lucas has an ankle injury.