No pain, no gain, so the saying goes and Alexis Sanchez will wholeheartedly agree with that.
Arsène Wenger reported after the game that the mercurial Chilean international complained at half-time of a back problem. The West Ham defence will be relieved that the Arsenal striker wasn’t quite fully fit; God knows what the score might have finished if he was able to move freely.
Alexis’ hat-trick was of the highest order; three strong finishes, with the third a wonderful step-over before dinking the ball over Darren Randolph into the net. West Ham were a dishevelled mess at that point, praying for the final whistle.
The concern for Arsenal fans will be whether this is fleeting problem or if the Chilean is set for a spell in the stands recuperating from this injury. After the recent furore over his hamstrings whilst on international duty, the hope is this worry is making a mountain out of a molehill.
Arsenal’s forward line is depleted by injury. Olivier Giroud picked up a minor injury in the final minutes of the recent 3 – 1 home win over Bournemouth. The French international hasn’t appeared since but must be in the running for Tuesday’s trip to Basel with Arsenal facing three tricky Premier League matches the following week.
Danny Welbeck began his tentative return to full training, running at first and still a fortnight away from re-joining the first team squad. The England international is still aiming for a return to the XI before the end of this year but Arsène Wenger will be wary of rushing the £16m man back.
The Gunners suffer a lot of soft tissue injuries during these recovery periods so Wenger will be keen to get a player who has only played 49 games in the last two years.
He is also expecting Chuba Akpom to recover from his own back injury in the New Year.