Frank Lampard thinks Arsenal can prepare Alexis Sanchez for the match against Chelsea by playing him in the Europa League against FC Köln on Thursday.

Alexis had to settle for a place on the bench for the Gunners against Bournemouth, after playing the full 90 minutes in both of his matches with Chile over the international break. So far, I feel the Chilean hasn’t looked impressive in any of his starts for club or country since his return, and clearly needs to get going again.

Frank Lampard told the London Evening Standard via the Daily Star that Alexis can do that by playing in the Europa League match, saying: “With a League game at Chelsea on Sunday, I’m sure Wenger will make some changes. Yet there are enough options for him to rotate.

“The biggest choice might be over Alexis Sanchez. Wenger says he isn’t match fit, however playing on Thursday might make him ready for the trip to Stamford Bridge.”

I don’t think playing on Thursday and then again on Sunday should be a problem for a fully-fit player, although it may cause more problems for someone who is still getting back to their best physically. However, for Alexis it seems to be more about getting sharp again, his manager previously admitted.

If he can play 180 minutes for Chile with just days between the games, I feel he should be fit enough to play both tomorrow and on Sunday. The forward just needs some game time to get back in the swing of things, so Lampard could be right that playing against FC Köln could help.

Overall, I think there’s much less risk in starting Alexis in midweek. And latest reports suggest that’s going to happen.