Chile only managed a 0-0 draw with Colombia through the night, which sees the country still out of South America’s four automatic qualifying spots for the World Cup. Given that Argentina are also of the qualifying places, it wouldn’t be such a surprise to see one of South America’s best known football nations miss out.
This all may be why Alexis Sanchez is still with the Chilean national team, despite suffering a calf injury. Unfit to travel to Colombia, Chile have been hoping Sanchez is fit in time for the match against Uruguay, just after midnight on Tuesday.
Arsene Wenger will no doubt be aware of the situation, but he’s also aware there’s no stopping Sanchez. He doesn’t want to be rested for Arsenal or Chile, and so occasionally his body breaks, and then it’s an issue for everyone. Already slightly broken, Sanchez will still be keen to play against Uruguay and Chile will be keen for that too.
Arsenal aren’t the only ones with a Chile headache. Arturo Vidal came off injured against Colombia, and yet still insists he’ll play against Uruguay: “I’ll play against Uruguay, no matter what, I’ll play. We need these three points.”
That statement and the situation has alarmed Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who has gone public via Bild: “FC Bayern is very concerned about the health of Arturo Vidal. We call on the Chilean federation to deal with the matter responsibly and sensitively. It must be ensured that the player’s health comes first.”
Bayern Munich have also contacted Vidal directly, and are appealing to those in charge of Chile’s national set-up.
Arsenal, perhaps unfortunately, don’t have a Rummenigge equivalent, and, whilst they may be making their opinion known privately, they’re not able to pile on similar pressure.
With Sanchez keen to play every minute he can, and probably ready to risk serious injury for his country, just like Vidal, it’s a difficult situation for Wenger and Arsenal. They want to keep Sanchez sweet, especially ahead of a new deal, but they’d like to keep him fit too.