Arsenal taking cautious approach with Alexis Sanchez injury
Arsene Wenger has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will not be risked in Arsenal's FA Cup third round clash with Sunderland on Saturday.
The 27-year-old missed the entire festive fixture list having suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw at Norwich in November.
Sanchez 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 open the defence of their FA Cup trophy against strugglers Sunderland.
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 told arsenal.com.
"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 on Mikel Arteta's recovery from a calf injury while Wenger also offered an update on Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin - all of whom are sidelined with knee issues.
"Tomas Rosicky is not far, he's back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available," he added.
"Nothing has changed (from the original timescale) with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he's often quicker (at recovering) than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well."