Arsene Wenger believes that part of the reason Alexis Sanchez has become such a good striker this season is because he took advantage of Olivier Giroud’s absence.
Earlier in the season, Giroud found it hard to get game time as he wasn’t 100% fit. His late involvement for France in Euro 2016 meant that he didn’t get a proper summer break.
Despite struggling to get game time because of this, Giroud still managed to injure his toe, which kept him sidelined for weeks.
In the mean time, Alexis was used as our main striker and despite not immediately having an impact as a target man, the Chilean carved out his own role and offered us a different sort of striker.
Speaking recently, Arsene Wenger hailed the 27-year-old’s work up front and explained how Alexis used Giroud’s time on the sidelines to his advantage.
“Sometimes when you have too many players you cannot attempt something which isn’t immediately conclusive because you’re under pressure,” Wenger said.
“If it doesn’t work in one or two games and you have a top player on the bench, you’re tempted to change it very early.
“However, this year it clicked very early in the season because he took advantage of the fact Olivier Giroud was not here and not ready, so I was able to give him a run of games and he’s accepted that role very well.”
Although having Giroud out was a blow, it has allowed Alexis to really come into his own and become a formidable striker. He’s now joint top Premier League goalscorer (11) with Chelsea’s Diego Costa.