Arsene Wenger Talks Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil Ahead of Arsenal vs. West Brom

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline during the English League Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers at The Emirates Stadium in London on September 20, 2017.
Arsenal won the game 1-0. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the press on Thursday he has no "disguised attitude" towards Alexis Sanchez despite the Chilean starting just one Premier League game this season, and he confirmed Mesut Ozil is in training ahead of Monday's match with West Bromwich Albion.

Per Football.London's Andy Ha, Wenger explained his decision to start Sanchez in an entirely changed lineup from Sunday's draw with Chelsea when the Gunners faced Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday: "Alexis has been out and injured. I thought he was still a bit short on Sunday. I played him last night to give him more competition."

Sanchez's only previous starts this season were in the UEFA Europa League clash with Cologne and the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Wenger is not holding a grudge after the 28-year-old reportedly came close to leaving in the summer, though: 

"There is no disguised attitude on my side, I just try to get him back to full fitness.

"I try to give him competition and to get him back to his best. He had a long holiday and he came back not really fit, then he got injured.

"But last night you could see he is coming back. I left him on for 90 minutes because I wanted him to have a go."

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

With an extra day of recovery and preparation ahead, Sanchez may be in line to start at the Emirates Stadium against West Brom.

Ozil may also be in contention after missing three matches with a knee problem, though Wenger did not reveal whether that will be the case despite his return to training, per ESPN FC's Mattias Karen:

It is unclear whether Alexandre Lacazette will start, either. Wenger said of his record signing: "He still needs to adapt to the physical aspect. On the other fronts there are no problem at all."

The Frenchman has completed 90 minutes for the Gunners just once, and given Tony Pulis' side will represent a tough physical challenge, it would not be too surprising if he were on the bench.

Wenger is anticipating a difficult game, per Ha: "West Brom have the culture of the Premier League, a manager who knows how the league works. They are very strong on set pieces, solid defensively—it's tough to score against them."

Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck won't be featuring, per James Olley of the Evening Standard:

The Gunners are already six points behind pacesetters Manchester City and Manchester United, so it's vital they put together a run of wins.

The Baggies' physicality could cause Arsenal problems, though, so it's far from a given they will pick up three points if they are below their best.