Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez will not receive any special treatment in terms of evading substitution after noticing the Arsenal star’s unhappiness at the decision.
The Chile international was visibly frustrated when walking off the pitch after being substituted during Arsenal’s matches against Swansea and Ludogorets Razgrad but the manager is adamant on continuing the practise.
Speaking to the press ahead of the match against Sunderland, Wenger expressed his understanding over Alexis’ obvious annoyance over the substitutions but explained how it is necessary in terms of keeping players fit.
“They all recognise it after the game but during the game they want to stay on the pitch,” the Frenchman said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I have played football – I was tired and I wanted to stay on the pitch – because you want to play. There is a difference between acknowledging it and wanting to stay on the pitch. You want to play even when you are tired.
“For me he is not a special case. He is a player like everybody else. When I decide to take him off, I take him off.
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“There is no special case. He has his own character but he is not treated differently from everybody else.”
The forward was given a central role by Wenger at the start of the season and despite struggling in the beginning, the 27-year-old now appears to be more and more comfortable with his new position.
With the long absence of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck still injured and the latest setback to Lucas Perez, the Arsenal manager looks keen on continuing to play Sanchez upfront.
“I see him there because he is the kind of guy, he is provocative,” Wenger responded to his choice of playing the Chilean as a central striker.
“He has a short technique and can always create something. He has a good mixture between scoring and giving the final ball.
“In my taste, he still comes too much to the ball, because Alexis Sanchez likes to have the ball. But that’s why when we have Theo Walcott – it balances well, because when he comes, Walcott goes. This is a good mixture, a good working unit.
“I had other players, I had Welbeck, I had Giroud, who in my opinion are more central players than Alexis. Alexis came here as a winger and he wanted always to play there.
“When I tried him there a few times, I remember I tried him at Aston Villa and I took him off at half-time. Or at Everton, I put Giroud on when we were 2-0 down in the first game of the season.
“Maybe I made up my mind that he is more of a winger. But I didn’t give up and I think he is happy there.”
Giroud is set to make his Premier League return for the Gunners against Sunderland but Arsene will probably continue to feature Sanchez in the starting line-up instead.
Wenger is clearly doing his best to manage the Chilean’s fitness as best he can, aiming to prevent over playing him and sustain a major injury similar to last season which saw the striker out for two crucial months.