It appears that Arsenal is in line to benefit from nothing short of a medical miracle.
As previously discussed on The Short Fuse, Alexis passed the fitness test required by the Chilean FA. After he sustained the calf injury, he was given the opportunity to rest and recover when Chile traveled and drew 0-0 against Colombia. Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal also sustained an injury during this match, leaving Chile without two of their most prolific and high profile players. Chile, currently fifth in the CONMEBOL table, remain in a qualifying position for the World Cup.
Today, the Chilean newspaper La Tercera reports that
“Sanchez and Vidal are ‘100% recovered’ and therefore totally fit to take their starting places against Uruguay.”
If this report is true, then it is a great sign for Arsenal. With an important match against Manchester United this weekend, Arsenal will likely need its full compliment of players in order to get a positive result. Despite the good news, it is important to be critical of the forces that may have motivated this decision. Sportwitness writes that Alexis seems hungry to “always play, and not being thrilled when rested by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, and that fighting attitude has caused issues at times.” Tension between Arsene Wenger and the Chilean FA about how Alexis’ injury has been managed make this situation even more difficult to untangle. Clearly, Alexis wants to play for Arsenal and the Chilean national team so he may try to return from injury before he is completely healthy. Chile is not in serious danger of failing to qualify for the World Cup, so hopefully Alexis’ injury has actually improved and Chile is not trying to force Alexis and Vidal to play before they are fit. If Alexis is truly fit his talent makes him a top choice and likely selection to against Uruguay. If he is still hurt, playing for the national team could exacerbate the injury and result in additional recovery time.
In an ideal world, the international break would not cause us this amount of stress. Unfortunately, victories speak louder than worried fans.