Arsenal forward Alex Sanchez will return to Chile to undergo additional treatment on a hamstring injury which is just one in a list threatening to derail the club's season. The 26-year-old limped off during the 1-1 Premier League draw with Norwich City and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
Sanchez, who has scored nine goals for the Gunners in all competitions this season, was already expected to miss the visit of Sunderland on Saturday [5 December] and the decisive Champions League group game against Olympiakos the following Wednesday [9 December] but will now fly back to his homeland to go through rigorous treatment. The ex-Barcelona winger is expected to return before the league game against Aston Villa on 13 December and will be in contention to face leaders Manchester City on 21 December.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli told Radio Tele13, according to The Evening Standard: "We have contacted the medical team at Arsenal, who gave him a week of treatment in Chile. We have to see how [the injury] is to know how quickly he can recover, but we are aware of everything and we'll see if we can contribute to Alexis getting back on the pitch sooner."
Manager Arsene Wenger has toyed with the idea of giving Sanchez an extended rest, such has been the workload imposed on the Copa America winner. However that spell on the sidelines has been enforced by an injury which sees Arsenal's injury list swell to breaking point. Sanchez is one of 10 players currently out injured and set to miss the busiest period of the season.
Laurent Koscielny also limped out of the draw of Norwich with a hip problem, while Santi Cazorla is expected to miss the next three months with a knee injury. Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck complete the injury list, with the latter pair not expected back until the New Year.
Wenger is expected to confirm the extent of the injuries suffered by Koscielny and Cazorla and detail the prognosis regarding Sanchez on Friday in his pre-match press conference to preview the game against Sunderland. Arsenal are currently two points adrift of Manchester City after 14 league games.