Football

Sanchez won't be risked against Black Cats

THIRD ROUND

ARSENAL v 
SUNDERLAND 
(Tonight, 10.55pm, 
Singtel TV Ch 109)

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will not be risked in Arsenal's FA Cup third-round clash with Sunderland tonight.

The 27-year-old missed the entire festive fixture list due to a hamstring injury suffered in November.

Sanchez (above) was expected to make his comeback for the win over title rivals Manchester City before Christmas, but suffered a setback in his recovery.

In his absence, Arsenal have opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League and start their FA Cup defence against strugglers Sunderland tonight.

Wenger is not ready to rush Sanchez back into his side with crucial league fixtures to come and a Champions League tie against the Chile international's former club Barcelona on the horizon.

"The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready," the Gunners boss said. "It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He's not bad but he's not ready.

"The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify.

"We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It's a tricky one, always, the third round."

There is better news for Mikel Arteta, who is available after a calf injury, while Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin are still recovering from their knee issues.

- PA Sport.

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