Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger must decide whether to recall winger Alexis Sanchez for the Premier League trip to Stoke City after confirming the Chile international has returned to full fitness. The 27-year-old has not played since November 2015 due to a hamstring problem and Wenger admits he would be taking a "gamble" by recalling Sanchez for the game at the Britannia Stadium.
Sanchez has proven invaluable to the Gunners when he has been available this term, scoring nine goals in 18 starts in all competitions. Without him the club have reach the summit of the Premier League table – however they are only level on points with Leicester City following the draw at Liverpool.
The latest test of Arsenal's title credentials comes in the form of bogey side Stoke, who they have beaten only once in their last seven league visits, with the physicality of the Potters having helped derail many previous bids for silverware. Mark Hughes' side provide a different challenge these days but Wenger is still considering a recall for his main man.
"The question is about Sanchez," he told reporters ahead of the game. "He has two decisive days. He is fit, and has worked very hard. The decision we have to make is to take a gamble or not on his injury. Wenger, who also says Danny Welbeck is two-three weekend away from a return, confirmed that new signing Mohamed Elneny is available to Arsenal but a decision has not been made over his participation. "He is available for section but I have not decided yet. Apparently we have no injuries from the Liverpool game it is a possibility that he is in the squad for Sunday."
Defeat to Stoke City last season, which marked Arsenal's worst start to a league campaign, was met with anger by the club's support who abused Wenger as he boarded a train back to London following the game. The French boss admits he was upset by the criticism but understood the frustration.
"I took it as people were upset. I didn't take it personally," he added. "I was sad and upset more by the result than the reactions of people. I can understand when you love a club you want the results to be positive. That problem will be more common now. I think it will be a problem in the next 2-3 years. I see it in France and many countries."