Arsene Wenger has explained why he opted to take Alexis Sanchez off during the 4-0 win over Swansea on Saturday.
The Chile international scored the Gunners’ fourth of the afternoon but was taken off shortly afterwards and showed his frustration, taking his gloves off and kicking them in the air before hiding under his coat on the bench.
Speaking after the game Wenger praised Sanchez for his performance but says he needed a rest and that Danny Welbeck needed minutes as he comes back from a long injury lay-off.
“He was very sharp. You know I rested him for two weeks and gave him a little breather. I think he benefitted from that and I gave him another rest today so he will benefit from that as well,” he told the official Arsenal website. “Look, he is hugely influential, Sanchez. You look at the numbers, he had scored 13 goals, seven assists, now 14 goals.
“So he was involved in about 25 goals in our team. But we also had players on the bench who are strikers, who need competition. We were 4-0 up. Ozil as well comes back from sickness so it was a good opportunity not to be stupid.
“All the players are frustrated when they come off, some show it, some not. I am long enough in the job to know that. I just make the decision I feel is right and that’s it. Nothing more than that.
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“He’s a good guy who gives a lot and wants to do well, always, for the team. There is no problem. But every culture is different. Some South Americans are a bit different to Europeans, Southern Europeans are different to northern Europeans. You have to respect that. That’s why we are a multi-national team.”
Wenger, however, did admit he would prefer not to see the kind of reaction Sanchez showed when he came off but insisted it was not a major issue.
“No, I prefer nothing. I prefer to score goals and not to concede goals, that is all I like. But all the players like the game, I think after you are more extroverted,” he added. “That’s minor. I think looking at the game tonight, that’s really minor, minor, minor.”
Sanchez’s frustrations are becoming a regular event at the moment and while his form remains impeccable the club could do without his antics particularly in light of his current contract situation.