The Gunners striker is expected to miss next week’s crucial Champions League clash with Olympiakos after limping out of Sunday’s clash at Norwich with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Santi Cazorla was also crocked at Carrow Road and likely to miss the trip to Greece which Arsenal must win by two clear goals to reach the knock-out stages.
Wenger insisted on Sunday he could not have predicted Samchez’s injury despite admitting last week the player had an a hamstring problem. And the manager’s handling of his star man has been slammed by fitness expert and former Wales assistant Raymond Verheijen.
Verheijen said: “Nobody has a magic ball that he can predict everything and be 100 percent sure. “But when you talk about football training there are some principles and there is also logical thinking and common sense. “And based on that knowledge it was quite obvious they were playing Russian roulette with Sanchez and with quite a few other players during the last 10 years. “It is down to him (Wenger) in the end because at the end of the day he is responsible but you have to look at the context. “Obviously now there is some kind of snowball effect and he is in some kind of negative vicious circle because for the 10th season in a row Arsene Wenger is in the middle of a massive injury crisis.”I think the mistake made with Sanchez has more to do with the fact he is already playing with a relatively weak team. “And it has nothing to do with the fact that he cannot predict injuries because deep inside he knows he should not have done it.”
Wenger will learn the full extent of the injuries to Sanchez and Cazorla who suffered a kick to his left knee – over the next 24 hours but their chances of recovering inside 10 days are rated as slim.
There was better news about Laurent Koscielny who lasted just 11 minutes against Norwich before suffering a hip problem with the centre-back hoping to be fit to face Sunderland on Saturday.
Theo Walcott could also return to the squad this weekend after a calf problem.
But that would still leave Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky – as well as Sanchez and Cazorla – in the treatment room.