Every Arsenal fan knows that Alexis Sanchez didn’t play for us at the beginning of the season because he had a cold and wasn’t fit (I mean he was waiting for his transfer to Manchester City to be confirmed), and when it didn’t happen he has seemed a shadow of his normal self, leading readers like me questioning the wisdom of not cashing in on him while we had the chance.
Let’s take a quick look at the facts. In 36 League starts last season, Alexis scored 24 goals. That is 2 goals in every 3 games. This season, he has had 7 EPL starts (plus 2 as sub) and his only goal was in the last minute at Everton when the game was already well and truly put to bed. Nacho Monreal has scored more!
We all thought our superbest striking line-up of Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette were the real deal when we demolished Everton, but in their second start together, against Swansea, they were all practically anonymous! What’s that all about? But Wenger does not think that Alexis is playing any worse this season. “He runs after a goal at the moment so he’s a bit frustrated when he doesn’t score, like all goalscorers,” Le Prof said. “I’m not worried about it. He works hard and it will come back quickly. You can never try too hard. At the moment he’s marked well, they double up on him, but he still creates many dangerous situations and the goal – he just has not to worry too much. I know you always say that to strikers and they still worry but over a longer period he has always scored and that will come back.”
So Wenger doesn’t think that Sanchez has been mentally affected by his summer-of-hell and has lost a bit of desire to play for Arsenal? “I am not concerned,” Wenger said. “because I am not suspicious of the performances or the desire to win of a football player,”
“When you are a football player, you have a social contract with the rest of the team and I never question that. Once you don’t respect that, it’s difficult to say that you play football.”
Well, okay he may NOT be affected by the never-ending Man City rumours (yeah right!), but he is certainly not on top form, so perhaps he should have a game on the bench to focus his mind a little anyway. I seem to remember playing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Liverpool, and we all know how that turned out don’t we?