Arsene Wenger has explained why he has decided to rest Alexis Sanchez for Saturday’s FA Cup Third Round Clash with Preston at Deepdale.
Sanchez is the club’s topscorer this season with 15 goals and has already made 26 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners.
Sanchez’s hunger for the game and desire to play is well-known but Wenger has decided the time has come to take the Chile international out of the firing line.
“They are human beings – you have to give them a breather at some stage. Mentally and physically [Alexis needs a rest] because at the moment he is a bit jaded. You can see that he is tired,” he told the official Arsenal website
“What we forget is that when they go away for international games they travel to Chile. Then they play sometimes 2,000 miles away, they travel back and then they come here and play the next day again.”
Wenger also insists that he had always planned to give Sanchez a rest in January following a hectic festive schedule that saw the Gunners play three games in nine days.
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“Alexis always wants always to play, and on one side when I don’t play him, people say ‘why don’t you play him?’ and on the other hand I am criticised for using him too much,” he explained.
“But I always planned in my head, no matter what happens, that in January he will need a breather.”
While Sanchez will most likely be unimpressed with Wenger’s decision is it undoubtedly a good opportunity for him to refresh and also to allow Lucas Perez, fitness permitting, the chance of a rare start.