Is Sanchez needed for Arsenal’s massive fixture with Chelsea – despite fitness worries?

Martin Keown has claimed that Arsenal need Alexis Sanchez for Sunday’s crunch encounter with Chelsea. The former Gunners defender hailed the display of the Chilean, whose goal put his side in the lead for the first time in the match. Alexis has been the stand-out star in North-London over the past couple of seasons, and that doesn’t look set to change despite his uncertain future.

Sanchez is into the final year of his current deal, and was believed to have pushed to join Manchester City in the summer, but was forced to stay put, and he has already shown us why he remains so important to us.

Keown said: ‘I think Wenger has made it very clear. He wants the player in his team and when he’s almost forced to play, as he was then, he comes up with the goods and there’s no doubt he is still the outstanding player in that Arsenal team – and boy do they need him now because it’s a massive game coming up at the weekend as well.

‘He’s a little bit short of fitness but he’s the sort of player who needs to play his way into fitness and he tries things all the time. He’s a great talent.’

Hopefully Sanchez will be fit enough to feature against the Premier League champions on Sunday despite today’s tough victory, as he will no doubt be pivotal in how the result pans out.

Our hard-fought 3-1 win will have given us a huge boost going into the trip to Stamford Bridge, but I fear that we could lose some heart if he was taken out of the starting line-up.

Can we beat Chelsea without Alexis? Is his head right to play in such a crucial encounter?

Pat J

Tags alexis sanchez Arsenal Chelsea Keown


  1. My team for Chelsea
    Bel Mustafi Kos Moreal
    Elneny wilshire Sead
    Nelson Lacca Alex
    With Nelson and Alex hugging the touch line
    And also working as a 5 man midfield when we lose the ball

    1. We need Sanchez, Lacazette, Welbeck and Elneny to face Chelsea. No rooms for misplaced passes, weak players and predictable plays.

      Conte must have prepared a strategy to face Arsenal’s 3-4-2-1, because they lost to it twice. Chelsea will press from their attacking line and will force Cech to use long balls.

      Two skillful and wide forwards will prevent Chelsea’s defenders from building their attack from the back. Elneny will be a fallback for the adventurous and risky plays of Arsenal’s creative midfielders.

      Hence it’s better to use 3-5-2:

      …….← Koscielny…Mustafi…Monreal →
      …………← Welbeck………Lacazette →

      Or 4-1-3-2:

      ……← Welbeck………Lacazette →

    2. of course he plays.. the whole point of not selling him is so that he can help the team win matches… if that means he cant play for Chile who cares? Ge is under contract and we have a big enough squad so lets maximise the time we have remaining on his contract ! he can be rested against weaker teams..

    1. Dude, we whooped them in the FA cup final and community shield….what’s up with the negativity bro? Conte is quite scared of us in fact, he rested nearly all his 1st teamers in their midweek champions league fixture. We might win.

      1. “Dude, we whooped them in the FA cup final and community shield.”
        you definitely don’t know what is a whooping then do you?.
        And while you talk of these irrelevant matches why don’t you talk of the 3 0 loss against them in pre season.

      2. “Conte is quite scared of us in fact, he rested nearly all his 1st teamers in their midweek champions league fixture.”.
        why should conte be scared of us after all those huge victories in his short Chelsea career.
        Why should he be scared when he won the league last season us who won it 13 years ago?
        And most important of all why should he be scared of a disorganized arsenal side?

    2. Yes they are defending champs and yes this is not Arsenal’s favourite fixture and I cant get past how Chelsea nearly managed a draw with 9 Men!
      Yes we have to be scared and be prepared to work hard and remember since they lost the last Chelsea-Arsenal meeting (community shield) they basically feel the next win is for them. As a reminder since we beat them 3-0 last season we have been alternating victories meaning neither team has won two straight fixtures. Arsenal better expect a tough game and must take their chances when they come!

    3. despite beating them 3 times in last 4 competitive matches … so where is your reasoning! if you said Chelsea are favourites that would be correct but not that we cant beat them..

    1. That guy Kolasnaic is a great gift to Arsenal, he is strong and very physical. He is a beast like Sanchez. He could be a forward in the nearest future.

    1. Only three points between us, if our game had of went the way it should, v Stoke, we’d be one point off the manchesters too. If our Lacazette goal had of stood like the Lukaku one did, or if we’d gotten the penalty like we should have, we’d be level with Chelsea and one point from top.

  2. Who was that Wilshere guy? Looked good. Is he from the academy? I think Wenger has unearthed a gem here.

    I know it was only Cologne but I thought this new guy did well. Question is though – would he be able to do it against Barcelona?

      1. Ah come on dude, he done one thing that was smooth looking and it was not touch the ball. He didn’t even dummy shimmy or hows your granny, he just walked past it. Smooth yes, but come on now.

        1. Jack is the closest player to Santi Cazorla lets not forget he plays with the fear of getting injured with every tackle, injury free fit Jack can be in my team any day

  3. Chelsea far exceed our abilities.
    It would be a miracle if Chelsea failed to beat us with a margin of over three goals

  4. My team
    Berlin kos. Mustafi kolasinac
    Elneny. Ramsey/xhaka
    Welbeck ozil Sanchez
    What should be yours…..

  5. Interesting to see if Welbeck can fit into the team, as his goal scoring form is good this season.
    We need to switch to back 4 with a Trio of Sanchez Ozil and Wleveck behind Lacazzette.

    Our midfilder needs to sit back for most part of the game as a draw would be a good results for us,

    If wenger put some stupid tactics like Becch sancez or , or becnh Klosnicic or something, or ask his player to go attcack chlesea then another humilation is bound to happen which I would not be surprises

  6. Sanchez has to start against Chelsea! I also would bench Ozil, and Ramsey, for Elneny, and Welbeck.

    Chambers Mustafi Koscielny
    Bellerin Elneny Xhaka Kolasinac
    Welbeck Lacazette Sanchez

  7. Funny with all those team selections.
    The truth is, we all know Özil will be in the team. This means we potentially have some very good creativity, but it also means, we will need all other players to be part of the defensive organization, if we are to keep Chelsea from scoring at least 2-3 goals.
    IMO we should first of all try to close Chelsea down, as we will never be able to score 3 or 4 goals against them, unless they get one or two sent off.
    Unfortunately, I expect Wenger to play both Özil and Ramsey and that pretty much adds up to the usual “suicide” against good teams.

  8. I’m optimistic we can get sumtin from Sundays fixture against chelsea… we must…

    however there are some weaklings in our team we can’t bench nor play without…
    1. Xhaka: has good long range passing ability but lacks the composure in the midfield and gives the ball away too often with no strength and pace to defend @ all. we need him as he is better version of what we have in the bench.. although his pairing with Ramsey is not working @ d moment, elnenny can pair wit him.

    2. Ozil: when this guy doesn’t play we lack creativity and movement fluency..u guys saw our 1st half against cologne right.. however he is out of form, and not defensively minded yet he far better than what we have in our bench @ d moment.. no one shuld call iwobi cause that guy is not fit @ all to play for now.

    3. welback: his goal conversion rate is the poorest of all our striker yet his strenght and pace can help us keep the chelsea back line busy
    4. Sachez: He can play good football but @ the moment, he is not fit and not up to his game.. he doesn’t even track back much dis days… this guy need the service of CARSOLA or a good midfielder ASAP

    the rest of the lad needs to work very hard to keep chelsea attackers @ check..

    goodluck gunners..

  9. GK. Cech
    RWB. Bellerin
    CB. Mustafi
    CB. Mertesacker
    CB. Kosielny
    LWB. Kolasinac
    CM. Xhaka
    CM. Ramsay/Wilshere
    RW. Alexis
    LW. Welbeck
    ST. Lacazette

    Ozil can’t play this game he doesn’t do enough defensively.

  10. Timing and discipline, I’m still worried about Bellerins timing and discipline to it. Second half he improved allot and finally realized that Holding got into trouble without much help from himself, Rob was playing two positions and he was struggling with both of them. Bellerin you could see looked more comfortable playing at fullback.

    I don’t know who noticed, but I’d say allot did esp the CBs out there. Our three at the back, the space that does be between them at times is just insane. When we have the ball the outside two go over and hug the touchline, wingbacks are off up the field. Then when you see a lapse pass, or Walcott running straight into a couple of players, the gaps that the other team has to run into are just too frightening. When it’s not like that, they can be sucked in together too tightly. You need to have trust in your teammate, that’s how Juventus do it, midfielders don’t bust a gut if one or two opponents still have the back four and keeper to beat, they go at a constant but brisk pace. Our CB will not trust his buddy beside him, they go ball watching. They should take a step back and look around, cover your mans back but don’t get sucked in too soon, it can be off putting seeing someone motoring in at the corner of your eye. That goes for midfielders too, trust our defenders a bit more, barreling up the field like he has an open goal does not exude a sort of calm, it does the opposite. Unless it is a must to race toward that ball from a distance out, then don’t do it, brisk and watchful is what we need.

  11. Too much hype on chelsea guys, come on… are they invisibles? Or Bunley better than even the inconsistent Arsenal side? It’s just a matter of Mr. Wenger getting the balance selection and we are good to go.

    1. Watford remind me of Tottenham. Tott have a little more creativity, sprinkling of better quality, as you’d expect. But what makes Tott difficult to beat is the same thing with Watford. They are alike those two managers, envision is similar. I’d like to see what Marcos Silva could do with the same resources as Pochtopissin.

  12. There was a time when we could be 100% confident with Wenger’s Arsenal. We can face whoever and out odds along was enough to fill ourselves with arrogance seen by Henry with the ball at his feet.

    I must say, it is okay if we don’t feel that now, it doesn’t mean we have been let down…it just means we have to accept we made a sacrifice for the long term with a new stadium.

    So here we are today, an Arsenal club competing. Delusion is still there in people. John Hartson yesterday ‘I want to see Arsenal go to the likes of Chelsea and win convincingly…’
    We all want this, but this isn’t where we are…not because of Arsenal, but because of the likes of Chelsea, PSG, Man City (and now AC Milan – Watch this space) who have spent spent spent.

    Organically we have grown to who we are, and I would say we can compete with Chelsea. Tactics, player selection…I will leave that for you all to debate.
    For me I would ask you to consider in this debate the following;
    1. Arsenal look like a better footballing team with more confidence when playing 4-2-3-1
    2. Bellerin is better when playing in a back 4.
    3. Nelsson is a good addition to the first team squad.
    4. Wilshire is a good addition to First team squad.
    5. Walcott will be no more than a squad player this year, if Sanchez goes in the summer, we should be looking to replace Walcott too (Griezmann and Lemar?…behave!!)
    6. A Win would be huge for AFC against Chelsea (considering the next 3 games are all winable), but its a game we simply don’t loss…no pressure to win, but can’t loss!

    1. Bellerin is limited in attack, despite his goals. He does not take on the defenders from the corner flag and try to dribble through to allow him a wider arc of passes. He is about speed and defense. So, back four sounds about right, but there is a need for him to dribble when needed, or the other team can focus on Sanchez’s side more.

      Wilshere should be signed for a few more seasons, and if he cannot deliver a mature performance and stay in London, he has to sold. I think Wenger is going to pull another Ox with him.

      Walcott need to take a pay cut or be sold. No point in he presence now, unless he learns to delay his runs better and finish better. At his age it is all too late. Sell him in January.

      We need to sell Ramsay and find a better MF who can help in the middle. Lacazzete in the middle makes Ramsay’s runs unnecessary, especially if the wingers are doing their jobs. What is needed Kolasanic in the middle with Elneny or Xhaka as partner.

  13. Personally, I would love to see a front three of welbeck Sanchez Lacazette… Wenger shld jes let ds guys start playing together… Arsenal shld have a fixed starting 11 by now… I wonder what AW is thinking abt…lets hv a ‘SLW’ attacking trio Like other big teams like Rmadrid wif BBC/CIA, Barca wif MSD, PSG wif NME, Chelsea wif HMP, Tottenham wif HED, Juve wif HDD etc…

  14. Cech
    Bellerin Mertesacker Kosielny Kolasinac
    Ramsay Xhaka
    Lacazette Welbeck Alexis

    We must play Mert. Atleast for first 60 mins.

  15. ……………….Cech………………

    The team needs the spine of Koz, Sead and Lacazette down the middle with Ozil free to roam and link. Sead is wasted playing on one side only, he has to be the mid-fielder that can boss the middle we miss so much, and he has a shot he can take from 20 yards out that will be deadly. He is wasted being sent too deep, and has to cover too much ground and cross. Being the boss in the middle which we do not have at this time is crucial.

    Bellerin should be able to cover the wings excellently and support Mustafi in defense, and the same for Welbeck covering Monreal. Bellerin’s and Welbeck’s runs deep into the wings while threatening to cut inside makes them deadly too. It will be hard for Conte’s men to counter as they will be worried about Lacazette and Sanchez. All of that means Ozil will be able to more with more freedom and do what he does best, supply the final ball and see those chances actually converted.

    Welbeck must play, and I see him more as the second hardest working player we have wasted as a striker without the accuracy of Lacazette. I would love to see Elneny in there, but that is hard unless he plays in place of Bellerin or if can be brought to shut down the game in place of an attackers (Ozil or Ramsay).

    Ramsay should not be used in the midfield. He needs to work with the forwards, as he is a forward in his head. However, his presence along with Sanchez and Lacazette means Chelsea have to worry right across the field, not just on Sanchez’s side. It would make Alexis more dangerous. Hopefully we can a proper winger in January, maybe two if Sanchez is sold to PSG or exchanged for Draxler.

  16. Base on head to head , arsenal has better winning ahead of Chelsea, all am seeing here is just lack of confidence by fans on our inconsistent dear team. This game is a big game, is 50-50 but our problem is that we r away. I wish we can win

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