If you haven’t heard, there is a massive match on Monday at the Emirates Stadium in London. Arsenal and Manchester City, the top two favorites to win the Premier League, will face off in the important game, as both teams look to distance themselves from the other. A win for either club could put them atop of the league table, if current league leaders Leicester City stumble away to Everton on Saturday.
With the big game just days away, both clubs are working to get their superstars healthy and fit in time. Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, the league’s top scorer from a season ago, looks likely to rejoin his team in time for Monday’s match. The Argentine has missed the last three weeks of action due to a pesky foot injury and suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the campaign as well. Having Agüero back in the starting XI would give the Citizens a significant boost heading into North London.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will most likely have a wait and see approach as to whether Alexis Sanchez will be fit. The Chilean star was lost due to his own hamstring injury after the hour mark in a 1-1 draw against Norwich on Nov. 29. Despite not having one of their premier players for the last three matches, the Gunners have managed to net eight goals. Nevertheless, having a player of his quality back into the squad, especially having to face City, would be enormous.
Manager Arsene Wenger stated on Thursday that there is a possibility for Alexis to play on Monday. “Maybe there is a slight chance for Alexis to be in the squad again but it is too early to be sure about it,” claimed the Frenchman. “He is running but not participating in full training.”
Wenger was also asked questions on if he trusts Alexis on whether he is truly fit. This comes following the manager’s assertion that Alexis was dealing with a hamstring issue prior to being subbed off in the Norwich match.
“It is not trust in a negative way,” stated Wenger. “Some of them are so keen to forget that they have pain somewhere that they say they are alright when they are not. You know the players and their psychological profile, you take that into account, then you get scientific advice and you trust your gut as well and then you make a decision.”
Alexis is known to be a workaholic and is constantly training. His warrior mentality might have gotten the best of him last month. While the Gunners won all three games Alexis missed, the club can not afford to be without their star forward for an extended period of time. If Alexis was to make an attempt to come back into the fold prior to being 100% fit only to do further damage to his hamstring, the North London side could be a big trouble.
Yes, the Manchester City match is definitely one of the most important games of the entire season; however, potentially losing Alexis during the match would be significantly more damaging than losing the actual game for the Gunners.
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