Sunday 4 December 2016

Wenger aims to kick on with well-rested Sanchez

Arsenal 2 Burnley 1

Philip Duncan

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is sent over the advertising boards by a challenge by Burnley's Joey Barton (not pictured). Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is sent over the advertising boards by a challenge by Burnley's Joey Barton (not pictured). Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta clashes with Burnley’s Joey Barton at Emirates Stadium. Reuters / Eddie Keogh
Burnley's Tom Heaton looks dejected after Alexis Sanchez scores the second goal for Arsenal. Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley
Burnley's Tom Heaton saves from Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley

Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal will reap the rewards of a "good winter break" for Alexis Sanchez after he scored the winner in their fourth-round FA Cup victory over Burnley.

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Sanchez, making his first start for the Gunners since November 29, set up Calum Chambers for the opening goal of the game before getting on the scoresheet in the second half.

The Chile international was given a standing ovation by the Arsenal faithful when he was substituted with 11 minutes remaining after an impressive display.

And Wenger, who is bidding to win the FA Cup for a record seventh time as a manager, believes the Gunners will benefit from Sanchez's enforced rest.

"He has had a long rest now," said Wenger of the 27-year-old forward who was an ever-present for Arsenal until he sustained a hamstring injury in their 1-1 draw at Norwich.

"It is true that when he got injured you could see signs of fatigue, and two months' rest is a good winter break."

Francis Coquelin made his first appearance for Arsenal since November after an injury lay-off while new signing Mohamed Elneny was handed his debut.

In total, Wenger made nine changes to the side which suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in the Premier League here last Sunday.

Chambers scored after 19 minutes with a fine finish following a neat through-ball from Sanchez before Burnley stunned the hosts when Sam Vokes equalised.

"At the start it looked like it would be easy because we had a lot of the ball and good opportunities around the box," Wenger added. "When it came back to 1-1 it was a different game. I think we were shocked and they gained belief."

Burnley, third in the Championship after they were relegated from the top flight last season, turned in a strong performance but manager Sean Dyche was disappointed to end up on the losing side.

"There were a lot of pleasing things, but you come to win - no matter where you are," Dyche said.

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