Arsenal attacker still out with injury but boosted by midfielder return

Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez will not be available for their FA Cup clash against Sunderland this weekend, but Mikel Arterta has returned to full fitness, according to reports from the Mirror.

Sanchez picked up a hamstring problem against Norwich City back in November, missing the last six league games for the Gunners.

During the festive period, it was thought that the Chile international will return to action starting with the Black Cats this weekend, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he is still recovering and will not be selected.

He said: “The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready. It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.”

Wenger has however been boosted by the return of Arteta, who is set to be instantly deployed in centre midfield amid injuries to Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.

The Frenchman added: “Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.

“Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available.”

The Gunners are expected to sign a few new players in the January transfer market to aid their injury woes, with FC Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny close to completing a £7million deal.

Sanchez, 27, has made 20 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring nine goals.