Alexis Sanchez will only return to Arsenal on August the 3rd and is expected to be unavailable for selection to Arsene Wenger for a further three weeks from that date.
Speaking to the BBC, Wenger advised:
“Alexis will be back with us on 3 August and usually it takes three weeks to be competitive.
“With Alexis it could be a bit less. He will miss certainly the first game.”
Sanchez was Arsenal’s best player last season, registering 25 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions.
Being without him for the visits of West Ham and Liverpool and the trip to Crystal Palace, as well as the Community Shield certainly isn’t ideal, with Arsenal striving for the consistency necessary to make them genuine title challengers.
So far, so obvious, yet the Chilean’s late return is potentially far more damaging due to his tendency to start his seasons slowly.
In the seven campaigns since he left South America for Europe, just five of the 75 league goals he mustered have come between August and the beginning of October.
This tendency not to hit the ground running was in evidence during his first term with Arsenal, in which he went four anonymous games without finding the net.
A reduced rest period courtesy of the Copa America, combined with doing his pre-season training late could see his return to the scintillating form he eventually attained last term delayed even further as a result.
Were Sanchez not to really start performing at his full potential until November the Gunners’ attempts to land Premier League title odds of 17/4 could be severely hampered.
Before the 11th month of the year is upon them, Arsenal will have taken on both two of their three closest rivals in the betting, Manchester United at 5/1 and 27/20 favourites Chelsea.