Arsenal Debate: Why on Earth did Wenger give Alexis and Ramsey a weekend off?

Arsene Wenger has long been accused of overprotecting his players who in return increasingly fail to repair the favour. The latest example came last weekend at Watford when Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez were effectively given a day off due to their respective failures to qualify for the World Cup.

Sanchez is often left on the bench when returning from international duty due to travelling half way around the world but to be left out of the squad altogether is unprecedented. Our manager would argue he is the one who sees the players in training every day and if he felt they were mentally not 100 percent what use would have they been at Vicarage Road? You could question should two professional athletes not be stronger in the mind but is this not more of a reflection about the culture of the club?

The Chilean and the Welshmen are just two of hundreds individuals who have to face up to the reality that they won’t be going to Russia next summer. The majority didn’t think twice about it being an excuse to have a weekend off as their clubs make it clear that won’t be tolerated. Do you think a Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson would dare put their own needs last at the cost of losing?

I’ll never agree with how the latest Man United boss goes about getting his results but the Portuguese is ruthless. He sees every single point as vital in the title race. He would have seen playing a weakened team voluntarily as the difference between being champions or not, especially if he knew that fellow rivals had slipped up (which they had).
He certainly wouldn’t be doing favours to man who at the first opportunity will be out of the exit door. In fact he would be ruthless towards Sanchez. He would view him purely as an asset, an asset to drain every ounce out of till January at the minimum. Wenger might be considered a better man manager for ‘looking after’ the South American but do you think Sanchez will be thinking of the Frenchmen’s needs the next time he sits down with his agent?

At least though you can understand why Sanchez wouldn’t be committed. It’s been clear since pre-season the idea of forcing him to run down his contract was a mistake. Having arrived back from Brazil late Thursday why would he be rushing back to play for a club he’s told countless times he wants away from. If his employer wants to be silly enough to give him a week off, why wouldn’t he, further avoiding injury before his big move in the New Year.

But what’s Ramsey’s excuse?

We hear all the time how there is a special spirit around the training group, a desire among the squad to add to the FA Cups they have won? Ramsey himself is one of the first to tweet after a defeat about a drive to put things right.
To succeed in any sport you have to go that extra mile, work harder then those you are competing with. Some times that means playing through pain, staying an extra half an hour and yes rolling up your sleeves even when ‘your head is not in it ‘.

It shows how the game has evolved. What would a Tony Adams, Keown, Viera or Henry say to a team mate if they informed them they were not going to be free on Saturday due to feeling sad about a previous football result? What’s worse, the fact that no one demanded Ramsey play or that Ramsey himself didn’t love the club enough to have insisted he didn’t need a rest.

Did a Roy Keane win silverware based on being a technically great player or was it by having heart and courage? I understand patriotism. I get that missing a tournament for your country is a disappointment and not one you get to fix for another couple of years. But compare it to the ‘bad day’ that most people have.

Men and women who have money trouble, problems in relationships, stresses in family. Guess What? Their bosses still expect them to come in to work the next day and the truth is your every day person wouldn’t even ask for a day off..

Dan Smith


  1. Arsenal players are the most pampered footballers in today’s era.

    Long break/holiday after a competition (World Cup, Euro) before the New season

    Weekend break for players that didn’t qualify for wc. I know they are humans but come on, Arsenal pay them and they should at least be on the bench if you don’t wanna start them

    Maybe I m over reacting but Arsenal players are pampered so much yet they still get injured In no time

  2. Pure speculation by the article writer that it had anything to do with failure to qualify. Also, there is no pleasing anyone these days. We get accused of overplaying players yet when they get a rest, for whatever reason, they are pampered. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. Its not the first time that arsenal players are given an extended holiday after an international break its just a norm at arsenal and they are the first to get injured…its just clear that wenger has lost his passion to winning games,how many chileans and welsh players were back in their respective clubs last wknd?

  3. Arsene has the safest job in the country, he can’t do anything wrong. Why doesn’t he give himself the rest of the season off? Just a thought, he would still have a job to come back to because he’s Arsene ?

  4. Firstly its early in the season.
    Ozil has been nursing a small injury
    and Wenger needs him for big games ahead.
    Sanchez was just back from South America.
    The team had been on a 7 match unbeaten run.
    Both players are still coming back from the
    “uncertain” contractual issues so Wenger
    is treading very carefully right now because
    he needs to get 25/30 mill from both in transfer fees.
    We were playing Watford pretty much a home game
    and but for the dubious penalty 3 points would have been secured.
    30 league games left and 10/20 cup games left
    so 40/50 games to go this season whats one game?

    1. That’s the attitude of our team, what’s one game?, only it’s not one game. The team can see what they are up against this season, we had a chance to catch ground but grabbed a loss from the jaws of a win. We already done the same v Stoke before going up to Liverpool, surprise surprise we are going back up to Liverpool.

    2. Are you Ivan (I don’t know what he does) Gazidis or Silent ( I’ll buy another ranch) Stan in disguise?

  5. Ramsey was an option to start
    and I thought he would but
    again he is a vital player in
    the “A” squad now and needs
    to be managed over the remaining 7 months of the season.
    Being in the Europa league has given more scope
    to play second tier players and rest “A” listers.
    For the first time in a long long time we are seeing the “B” squad
    and youngsters get lots of game time which is great.
    This is our level and makes following the club easier.

  6. Because he’s a meddler, if he meddles then he gets a buzz/credit from tinkering. He’s over protective and too loyal to people around him. But at some time the players have to start demanding more from themselves. Are they in a bubble while everyone throws mud at them, it’s nothing new and they should be pissed or hurting by now, it should be enough that they fear dropping points but they don’t. They walk it off too easily for my liking, and a response straight afterwards barely counts because they should know what’s coming well before the spineless periods we endure.

  7. if you ask me AW don’ know who to please but for shore it should NOT be Sanchez or Ozil they are both leaving get them to play games and burn them out before January AND let Pep worry about Sanchez fatigue,

    Arsenal is a joke if you look at the stats hardly anyone has had a regular game this season, and the 7 unbeaten run of games HUH come on apart from Chelsea who lost to City at home and Crystal Palace which were beaten last 7 games in a trot managed to beat Chelsea and they drew with Roma at home for god sake, any way what i’m trying to say is we relay didn’t have any real competition this season apart from Liverpool and look what happened there

    1. I love this article & I concur to every point. Chelsea might not be in form right now but they are still the champions presently. Liverpool demolished Arsenal because of Wenger’s cluelessness. Trust me, Man city, Tottenham and Man utd are the real threats we will have this season & I mean home and away games.

  8. Wenger is always planning for the future and never looking at the present. He’s constantly buying teenagers believing someday they’ll be stars. It’s the same with 1st team players, must save them for the future, for the long run, for the 2nd half of the season, they need time to acclimate, etc. and in the mean time they lose to Watford and maybe soon, once again there won’t be a future to plan for.
    I refuse to believe that footballers are so fragile that they must have weeks of rest after playing 2 games in a week or take weeks off because they got a “knock”. Or that it takes them weeks to be fit.

    Wenger is clueless and he babies his players. Some probably like it because they get paid and don’t get blamed for losses, others like Sanchez would go play with a broken leg if he let them.

  9. I thought about it time and time again, and the only thing I can come up with is that Wenger didn’t take Watford seriously. He thought we could easily win without Sanchez and Ramsey in the lineup, and he was wrong. Which once again proves my point that no club in EPL should be underestimated. Look at at what happened to Chelsea the same weekend. They thought that Crystal Palace are just going to bend over and take it from behind. Guess again. That’s why every game should be approached with the same goal in mind – 3 points. You go with your best starting XI in all of the important fixtures. There’s no time for sulking or any other of the similar crap.

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