Arsenal star set to miss start of Premier League season

Alexis Sanchez is expected to make a swift return to the Arsenal side despite being ruled out of their opening game of the new season.

The Gunners have given their Chilean star time off until early August after he led his national side to Copa America glory earlier this month.

Sanchez, who netted the decisive kick in Chile’s penalty shoot-out win over Argentina in the final, will not feature in Arsenal’s Premier League opener against West Ham on August 9.

But Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is optimistic that the 26-year-old will quickly regain match sharpness when he returns to training and should at least be in contention for their second home game of the season, against Liverpool a fortnight later.

“He will be back on August 3 and it usually takes three weeks to be competitive,” said Wenger. “He will miss certainly the first game of the season but with Alexis, it takes a little bit less.

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“When he had to turn up in the final [of the Copa America], he was there. He was the one who was dangerous, he was the one who was always provoking opponents, and he was the one who had the guts to take the final penalty to win the cup.

“He contributed to his country’s achievement and it’s something special that they’ve done. He was a big part of it.”

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Sanchez was the only notable absentee from the Arsenal squad that flew to Singapore to begin their pre-season campaign in the Barclays Asia Trophy this week.

Right-back Carl Jenkinson will not feature for the Gunners at all next season after agreeing to return to West Ham on loan for a second year.

Jenkinson, who performed well for the Hammers last season, signed a new contract with Arsenal before returning to Upton Park for the coming campaign.

“He has moved because he had the confidence of West Ham,” added Wenger. “We have the emergence of Hector Bellerin, we have [Mathieu] Debuchy, we have [Calum] Chambers.

“We are a bit congested. He will continue his development with West Ham and all are winners there – West Ham and Arsenal and Jenkinson.”

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