Ex-Arsenal forward Alan Smith has joined in with the numerous calls to hand Alexis Sanchez a rest in the coming weeks, with the retired striker claiming the Chilean needs to be saved from himself, as reported by the Daily Star.
Alexis has been looking jaded this season, and certainly hasn’t been himself. It won’t have helped that he was played for 90 minutes in both of Chile’s international games over the last week, especially when you consider he was complaining of calf pain after the first game against Colombia (via IBT).
Although we’ve got a number of other injuries to contend with, and it’s obviously not ideal timing, Smith has joined a huge number of pundits and fans calling for Arsene Wenger to rest our talismanic forward aganst West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
“I think Arsene Wenger was thinking about resting him anyway, because you’ve just got to be careful,” Smith said.
“He doesn’t know when to stop running, he doesn’t know when to stop training during the week. He’s got to be saved from himself almost because he’s so enthusiastic.
“Arsene Wenger will be looking carefully at that, looking carefully at how much he’s played for Chile – whether he decides to rest him on Saturday.
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“But he’s one of those that carries his team-mates along with him with his infectious enthusiasm, his work ethic and above all his quality.
“The team’s not going to be quite the same without him, but they’ve got to be careful they don’t overdo him.”
He’s right when he says Alexis needs to be rescued from himself, as the 26-year-old seems incapable of living his life in anything other than top gear. He plays hard, he trains hard, and even when he’s given a break he still spends his time training.
We’d struggle to put out a strong forward line if Alexis were to be handed a rest this weekend, but you’d still like to think we’ve got more than enough about us to see off Tony Pulis’ side.
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It’s a case of risk vs reward, and Wenger needs to think carefully about his next move. We obviously need to make the most of our upcoming (comparatively) easy fixture list to keep pressure up on Manchester City, but if Alexis were to suffer an injury we’d be up a certain creek without a paddle.
Should he be dropped for our clash with West Brom? Or can he hold out for another couple of games until we get some injured players back?