Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Alexis Sanchez missed the 2-1 victory over Manchester City after the Chilean suffered a setback in the recovery from his hamstring injury which will keep him on the side-lines during the busy Christmas period. The French boss, however, played down concerns over Mesut Ozil after claiming he replaced the German international in the second half of the game to give him a needed rest after the former Real Madrid playmaker "had a chest infection" prior to the match.
The Gunners secured a crucial victory over City thanks to the first-half goals of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to leave their rivals fours points away in the Premier League table, while remaining in second place just two points behind leaders Leicester City. But the game was overshadowed once again by injuries. Speaking in his post match conference, Wenger revealed the Chilean star will be out of action until 10 January – having previously claimed that he had a chance to return to action in the game against Pellegrini's side.
"I think he (Sanchez) will be back January 10. Christmas period - you can't count him," he said. "He had had a slight one (setback) yet but he planned to be on the bench tonight but he is so keen he got a little bit of a pain and we didn't take a gamble."
The manager, meanwhile, claims that he is considering to give Ozil a rest in the coming games to avoid risking a new injury. Wenger eventually replaced the German international in the second half of the game against City after revealing he suffered a chest infection in the preview of the game.
"He (Ozil) had a chest infection for the week and was in bed," Wenger said. "He had only one training session yesterday and for a guy who could not prepare well he has done very well physically. I'm a bit cautious because we have lost three or four players recently so I have to be cautious a little bit."
"Football, you need at the end of the day someone who gives the guy the ball who scores the goal. In our team most of the time Ozil is this player. When you look at this and the guys that see, make you win and he is that," Wenger said.
"He is much more mature (than in his previous two seasons) and is much more keen to take on responsibility. I personally think he is built on his physical attributes and commitment. You see his desire to win, he plays to win the games and maybe this kind of talent is exceptional. He realises he can help us in every single game."