Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli is ready to take a risk on Alexis Sanchez by handing him a starting role in the World Cup qualifier against Brazil on Friday (9 October) after the Arsenal star featured briefly in the last training session. The ex-Barcelona star was replaced in the second half of the 3-0 victory over Manchester United on 4 October due to a groin problem after scoring a brace.
Sanchez missed the first training sessions of his national team, with Sampaoli confirming the Arsenal player and Bayern Munich star Arturo Vidal were doubts for the game. "Neither Vidal nor Alexis are confirmed for the Brazil game," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
But after the Arsenal star played a part in Chile's final training session, Chilean newspapers El Mercurio and La Tercera claimed the manager will use both players against the Selecao.
El Mercurio said: "Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will play [against Brazil] despite carrying niggles. Finally Sanchez and Vidal could train and, despite they just featured in a small part of the training session, manager Sampaoli included both in the starting line-up. Sanchez was eventually in charge of taking the pieces during the training session, meaning the Arsenal is in condition to play."
Meanwhile, La Tercera added: "The presence of the Arsenal and Bayern Munich duo had been under scrutiny through the week. Sampaoli even proved to use Fabian Orellana instead of Sanchez in his line-up after the Arsenal star suffered a groin problem during his brilliant performance against Manchester United. However, he featured in the last part of the training session."
Wenger had expressed his concerns about Sanchez after the United game, admitting he was powerless to stop him from joining up with his national ahead of the matches against Brazil and Peru.
"He has a little groin problem. Unfortunately he goes to Chile," Wenger said in the press conference after the game. "You cannot stop him from going to Chile and he loves so much to play for his country and he will play against Brazil [on Friday] and Peru [next] Tuesday so the game at home against Brazil he will not want to miss. Hopefully he will come back in good shape."
The French boss is sweating over Sanchez's fitness as after the international break, the Gunners have crucial fixtures coming up, including a decisive double header against Bayern Munich in the Champions League following their visit to Watford.