Arsenal may welcome Alexis Sanchez back to the squad against Stoke City this weekend with the Chilean set to face a late fitness test on Saturday. He has been out of action for more than a month with a hamstring injury he picked up against Norwich City in November 2015. Arsene Wenger confirmed that there is a chance for the 27-year-old to make his much anticipated return, as the Gunners enter the business end of the season.
Sanchez's return will bring the Gunners' injury list down to five, with Tomas Rosicky also on the verge of making a comeback after joining the first team in training. Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere remain the major absentees and will start making their return near the end of the month.
"He will have a definite test on Saturday. It's not impossible that he plays," Wenger said on Sanchez's availability for Stoke, as quoted by the Mirror.
The Gunners have also completed a deal for Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel, with Arsene Wenger confirming that an announcement is a mere formality and the Egyptian midfielder is in contention for their trip to the Britannia stadium. The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates since the start of January, but work-permit and visa problems had delayed the transfer.
Elneny will provide back-up for Coquelin, who is still some way away from returning to the first team. The Frenchman had ruptured his knee ligaments against West Bromwich Albion in November and faces a 12-week lay-off. Wenger confirmed that the midfielder is back running and should be available in February, hopefully in time for their double-header against Barcelona in the Champions League.
The Gunners need some energy in midfield against Stoke, especially after a gruelling performance against Liverpool at Anfield, which ended in a 3-3 draw. The Reds had taken the lead twice in the first half, but the Gunners fought back to draw level at half time and went ahead with Olivier Giroud in the second half. However, a last minute equaliser from substitute Joe Allen broke Arsenal hearts, but the Gunners kept their position on top of the Premier League table, albeit on goal difference, after Leicester City's win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.