Arsene Wenger admitted that he broke the habit of a lifetime and missed Alexis Sanchez’s game on TV – because he fell asleep.
Arsenal boss Wenger is renowned for watching every match he can on television because he is such a football addict, and had a special interest in how his star man performed for Chile this week.
But Wenger confessed he dozed off on his sofa at home in the early hours of Wednesday morning British time, while Sanchez scored twice in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay.
The Frenchman, who smiled as he admitted missing it, is now hoping Sanchez – who suffered a hamstring injury scare earlier in this last international breal – will be fit for Saturday’s lunchtime trip to Manchester United.
“I fell asleep,” Wenger laughed.
“I have [since] watched the goals and he looked very sharp. I will watch the game today.
“I know him so well, like all my players that I observe every day, so I will be able to see if he was playing with a restriction or not. But the first goal he scored, he ran from the halfway line – if you are really injured with a hamstring you cannot do that.
“He always says he is okay! It is a very difficult one because I am sure he will come back saying he is alright.
“What I will consider is the risk of injury, because he played while recovering from a hamstring injury. I’ll consider the way he feels as well.
“On that front, you depend on the honesty of the player, how they feel and how they recover.”
Sanchez only arrived back in the UK on Thursday afternoon after a 15-hour flight from Santiago, so that will also be a concern.
Wenger may start with Olivier Giroud at Old Trafford, conscious that his Chilean pulled a hamstring last season at Norwich when he played while fatigued.
Arsenal will also be without Hector Bellerin for four weeks thanks to an ankle injury picked up in the recent North London derby when he was on the receiving end of a tough Danny Rose tackle.
It leaves Wenger unsure what to do at right-back, as Carl Jenkinson is only just back after a long-term knee problem.
Gabriel, usually a centre-half, can play out there and the manager rates 19-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who may come into contention.
Wenger added: “Bellerin has an ankle. It was the last 10 seconds, you watch it again. It was a bad one. It’s annoying to lose Bellerin, that’s for sure.
“Did Rose want to injure Bellerin? I don’t think so. He just went in for the tackle. It was the last 10 seconds of the Tottenham game.”
Wenger confirmed they are close on tying Bellerin to a new deal, with a six-year contract agreed:
“It will be great. Let’s say ‘It is great’ when it is done.”
Midfielder Santi Cazorla remains a long way from being fit — he is not yet back in training because of an Achilles problem.
MirrorFootball understands the Spaniard has suffered a setback having tried to return to full training so he could play against Spurs.