Arsene Wenger has unexpectedly opted to take both Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey to Scandinavia this weekend with a view to them being fast-tracked straight into the side to face Liverpool on the opening weekend of the season.
Sanchez played eight full games for Chile this summer as they won the Copa America once again, and it is thought that Wenger’s original intention was to give him a longer break and ease him back into domestic action.
But with Euro 2016 finalist Olivier Giroud not due back to training until next week, Wenger’s only other striking alternatives are Theo Walcott and Chuba Akpom.
Both Sanchez and Ramsey returned to training last weekend and will play some part in this weekend’s games against FK Viking and Manchester City.
Wenger attracted criticism for rushing Sanchez back into action last season and he endured a poor first half of the season before suffering a hamstring tear.
Laurent Koscielny, Giroud and Mesut Ozil will not return to training until next week and will not be risked for the season opener against Liverpool.
“I believe that they need four weeks’ holiday because they need to recover from that,” Wenger said last month. “It takes you two or three weeks to regenerate…to recover completely, and they need to come back with hunger.”