Arsenal begin their defence of the FA Cup against Sunderland on Saturday, and could have Alexis Sánchez back in time to face the Black Cats.

The Chilean has been out since an injury suffered at Norwich at the end of November. It saw him miss Sunderland’s last visit to north London, which saw Arsenal win 3-1 in the first week of December, but he may be back in time to face them on Saturday.

That’s according to journalist and injury data analyst Ben Dinnery, who had this to say on Twitter on Monday.

With Arsenal’s game not until Saturday, Alexis may well be ready to return should he train this week. He was expected to be back around Christmas but suffered a setback when stepping up his preparation, now he is readying himself for a second attempt at returning to the side.

Over the Christmas period, Arsenal have relied on Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to start every match. The team is likely to be refreshed on Saturday, despite a week between that game and the win against Newcastle United, with one eye on a trip to Liverpool next Wednesday. It really would be a timely boost for Alexis to return.

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