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Wenger: Alexis Sanchez to miss Sunderland and Liverpool

Arsene Wenger provided an update on the prolonged absence of Alexis Sanchez as well as updates on Arteta, Ozil, Walcott, Welbeck, and Rosicky.

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At his press conference prior to Saturday's third round FA Cup tie against Sunderland, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed Alexis should return for Arsenal's trip to Stoke City next weekend, but in the meantime will be unavailable for selection against Sunderland this weekend and at Liverpool on Wednesday. Speaking of the Chilean international, Wenger said "Sanchez is a bit short to be involved in the squad, but he’s not far." Alexis is at the tail end of recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered away to Norwich City, a match in which someone pushed him into a literal hole in the ground. Thanks, Norwich!

Additionally, Mikel Arteta played a half for the U-21s this week and will return to the first team this weekend. Wenger hopes that the Spaniard will provide a "consistent presence" in the squad for the remainder of the season.

As opposed to Sam Allardyce, who has made it clear he will rotate in the FA Cup as his Sunderland side struggles to stave off relegation for another year, Wenger stressed, not for the first time this week, the importance of selecting a strong squad because of the seriousness with which he approaches the FA Cup. We should expect to see a squad that similar to the group that defeated Newcastle last weekend. Wenger did, however, note that Mesut Ozil may be in need of a rest, saying he didn't know if the German playmaker would be involved. Wenger also noted that "Walcott is not overloaded with games," so there is a good chance we will see him in action at the Emirates this weekend.

Finally, Wenger provided updates on Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky, both of whom have yet to see first-team action this season. Welbeck should be back in three weeks and Rosicky is "doing well," according to Wenger.

Here's hoping that the returning players can help Arsenal kick on and continue its run of excellent form.