Alexis Sanchez’s recent interview with ESPN Brazil couldn’t have been better (or worse, from our point of view) timed after he picked up an injury in training for Chile.
The forward spoke to ESPN Brazil about how sad he is when Arsene Wenger rests him because he always wants to be giving 100%.
This attitude isn’t a revelation, in fact the boss has come under fire in the past for not overriding the player and forcing him to sit out for games. No player should have more power than the manager.
When we played against Ludogorets away, I felt certain we would rest the Chilean. He had already featured 13 times in the Premiership and Champions League this season, scoring eight goals and assisting seven in that time. Surely, he could at least be put on the bench for the trip to Sofia, a game we should have won regardless?
He wasn’t. And the fact that we did in fact struggle, going 2-0 down in the first half and eventually having to fight back in order to win 3-2, meant that people were feeling very smug. Claiming that see, look, this is why we shouldn’t rest him! This is how we terribly we play! Without him on the pitch we never would have come back!
The issue is, now Alexis has gone away on international duty and picked up a low grade muscle injury. He’s staying in Santiago in order to be assessed and treated further but I highly doubt that he won’t be missing games when he returns to north London.
The man is integral to our team, not just in quality but in work rate as well. To have him sidelined for an extended period of time… well our title hopes don’t look good.
And we should have seen it coming. It’s happened before. Although, in that sense, we should have known he wouldn’t take no for an answer if Wenger did in fact want to rest him against Ludogorets.
Now, it’s time for Olivier Giroud, who’s basically said he’s going to leave when his contract is up in 2018 because he’s unhappy with his lack of playing time. Something that he claimed to not really bother him only recently.
Could Alexis’ injury be – and forgive me for saying this – a blessing in disguise for the Frenchman? He’ll get more game time, that’s for sure. But just as we need a plan B in Oli, we also need our plan A in Alexis and I fear we’ll become annoyingly predictable to beat once again without him. As we have done in the past.
Hopefully, Alexis’ injury isn’t too bad. We have a tough November, which we don’t need being made tougher considering our first match back after the interlul is against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Another reason we could have predicted this? Arsenal can’t have nice things.