A large portion of Arsenal’s successes this season have been credited to summer signing Alexis Sanchez. Since he made the switch from Barcelona, the Chilean has developed into a talisman for the Gunners and has regularly turned in top class performances and helped Arsenal win games with skill and determination alone.
Needless to say, this has led to allegations that Arsenal are a one-man team, with Sanchez sometimes carrying his out-of-sorts teammates. And after he scored the winning goal against Southampton, it looks unlikely that these allegations will die down anytime soon.
However, during today’s press conference, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted that Arsenal were not a one-man team and that despite his large contribution to the goals tally Alexis is not the dominant factor in the team’s success.
Let’s say it does not reflect the truth. On the goalscoring record, you can say [Alexis] is dominant, but in the game of course not. But in goalscoring, he is the dominant figure.
I can’t remember such a quick settlement. He has a huge desire, no complex, and has a fighting attitude that means even when he misses something it doesn’t affect him. He’s very mobile, very determined and he has the sense to be in the right place in the box.
But despite the praise, Wenger admitted that the player might be overextended. Sanchez is a guaranteed starter for both club and country and no one would dream of resting him with the form he is in. However even the best players need rest or they may start to get jaded. The manager said that he was aware that Sanchez was in the ‘red zone’ and needed a rest, but the player was capable of performing whenever called upon.
He is in the red zone, you can see that when he plays, but he can dig deep. I think he played his 27th game on Wednesday since the start of the season, if you consider the international games and the travelling on top of that.
Unfortunately you never know how far you can push [a player]. We are not scientific enough to predict that completely, but he has a great recovery potential. He recovers very quickly, is always sharp and wants to play.
Sanchez’s work ethic and attitude have already been praised by a large number of people, and there is no denying that the player is a consummate professional who can deliver the goods whenever required by the team. However, Arsenal already have the worst injury record in the League, and burning out a player of Sanchez’s quality is something we simply cannot afford to do.
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Wenger will probably play the Chilean in tomorrow’s game, but could rest the forward in the midweek fixture against Galatasaray. Arsenal have already secured qualification from the group stages of the Champions League, which means that we can afford to rest crucial players and spare them the long trip to Turkey. The rest will also help freshen him up ahead of games against Newcastle United and Liverpool, and a rejuvenated Sanchez in those games could easily swing the result in our favour.