Arsenal are now 15 games into the Premier League season, and despite the fact that our First XI don’t have the distraction of playing any European football, we have lost 5 of those games, which has left us 15 points behind the leaders Man City already. To give us the best chance to win the title this season (other than no Europe) Wenger decided to force Alexis Sanchez to stay at the Emirates and honour the last year of his contract, arguing that this would in fact make the Chilean play even better to secure a massive contract when he left on a Bosman at the end of this campaign.
This has backfired badly. Alexis looks a shadow of the player he was last season, and seems to play more selfishly than ever and running into opponents rather than looking like a world-beater. Football is a team game and he now seems to be having a detrimental effect on the team dynamics.
Last season Alexis scored 24 goals in just 36 starts for Arsenal (plus 10 assists), but in this one the 28 year-old has managed just 4 in 12 (and 2 assists), a ratio of 50% compared to 2016/17. He also has the lowest pass success rate of everyone in the Arsenal squad at 72% – only Petr Cech’s goalkicks are worse! In comparison, Mesut Ozil’s percentage is 86%. No matter what Wenger says in public it is obvious that Alexis is performing much worse than last season.
So I think it is time that Alexis was dropped for a more efficient player. Let’s see. Sanchez has played 888 minutes for his 4 goals. Olivier Giroud has played just 236 minutes in the EPL and scored 3, while Danny Welbeck has also got 3 in just 512 minutes on the pitch. Wenger is a self confessed lover of statistics, so how much longer can he ignore the fact that his calculated gamble of keeping Alexis simply hasn’t worked. Simply on statistics, never mind body language, I would start Giroud ahead of Alexis until he sorts his head out…
Statman – Numbers taken from whoscored.com