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Wenger yet to decide on team to face Foxes

Arsenal boss says there are ‘plenty of uncertainties’ surrounding his starting line-up for Friday night’s Premier League opener – but Alexis Sanchez will definitely miss out

10 August, 2017 — By Steve Barnett

Arsene Wenger: ‘We are well prepared and ready for a fight, and ambitious as well’

ARSENE Wenger has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez will miss Arsenal’s opening two games of the new Premier League season after suffering an abdominal strain in training.

The Chilean has been ruled out of the Gunners’ big kick-off against Leicester City this Friday at the Emirates Stadium, and the trip to Stoke next Saturday.

Sanchez sustained the injury during a training session ahead of the Community Shield and Wenger admits he is unsure just how long the 28-year-old will be out.

“Sanchez will definitely not be available for Leicester,” said the Arsenal boss. “He had a little abdominal strain that he caught in training on Sunday morning before he came to Wembley.

“He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while. I don’t know how long he will be out – two weeks, maybe one more week. He will not play at Stoke either.”

The latest round of rumours have linked Sanchez, who has less than 12 months to run on his current contract at Arsenal, with an £80million move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Quizzed on whether the French champions had made an approach for Sanchez, Wenger said: “No. I think, if you read the French papers, Kylian Mbappé is how they will look to finish their transfer market.

“That’s what I’ve read in the papers and on my side I’ve had no contact with Paris Saint-Germain.”

Reflecting on Friday’s Premier League opener against the Foxes, Wenger said there were “plenty of uncertainties” surrounding his starting line-up after key players missed Sunday’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea through injury.

“I have plenty of uncertainties about the players who didn’t play against Chelsea,” he said. “For example Ramsey, Ozil, Mertesacker, and, of course, Koscielny is suspended. “I have players coming back who have not played, like Mustafi.

“Alexis is not available, for example.

“I can take a gamble on one, maybe maximum two, but I focus more on the players who had the right number of competitive minutes in recent weeks.

“We are well prepared and ready for a fight, and ambitious as well,”

Wenger added. “I think we have a good level of physical preparation. All our players got a decent number of minutes of good competition, so overall the squad looks good.

“We need to transform the quality of the preparation into points and that is, of course, a pragmatic view, but what matters is we win the game and start in a strong way, which we didn’t do last year.”

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