Raphael Honigstein has revealed that the Arsenal dressing room didn’t like Alexis Sanchez very much at all and that they were furious with his pretence that he was the only one working hard when stats showed he was doing the least.
Speaking on the Totally Football podcast on Monday, the journalist had this to say:
“It’s become a bit of a joke, I think, to laugh at Arsenal because they made noises saying ‘finally we got rid of Alexis Sanchez’ and then look at what’s happened to them but I think it’s been under-reported just how badly the whole Arsenal dressing room hated Alexis Sanchez,” Honigstein said.
“They really felt that he was just playing up to camera doing all these things like ‘Oh I’m trying but no-one else is! What am I doing here?!’
“And then, quite tellingly, Wenger, he talked about this last year if you go back.
“They put up stats inside the dressing room after every game showing the amount of kilometres run, the passing and Sanchez would regularly come out with the lowest mileage by a big distance and the players would just go absolutely bananas at him playing to the camera and making all these moves like ‘Oh, they’re just not worthy of me! What am I doing here?!’
“So they really wanted to get rid of him.
“Whether they have improved as a team is a different story but I think it is a happier dressing room no doubt.”
[Arsenal section starts at 29m 40s, Alexis bit 34m 30s]
Alexis left Arsenal for Manchester United and the biggest weekly pay packet in the country towards the end of January, bringing to an end a transfer saga that dominated the entire Arsenal season until that point.
Only Per Mertesacker and the two goalkeepers have run less distance on average per 90 minutes than Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal this season.
Mesut Ozil has run on average 10% further per 90 minutes. https://t.co/tybuUPX9Eg
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) March 13, 2018
Since moving to United, Alexis has scored just one goal – against Huddersfield – and has cut a frustrated figure in Jose Mourinho’s side, with just two assists (against Yeovil and Huddersfield). He has nine goals and six assists in all competitions for both sides this season. For comparison, Theo Walcott, who has played almost 1,000 minutes fewer than the Chilean, has six goals and six assists.
Sanchez has also spent less time sprinting than Wilshere, Ramsey, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Welbeck or Lacazette among others https://t.co/5hU0PGY9yF
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) March 13, 2018
Arsenal certainly did not show immediate signs of improving without Alexis in their team. Although they beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final just two days after he signed for United, in their first league game after he left they crashed 3-1 at Swansea, before beating Everton 5-1 at the Grove. They then went on a run of six games, losing all of them except the away trip to Ostersund, before finally stopping the slide against AC Milan last Thursday.
Jose Mourinho has blamed the fact that Alexis moved in January for his poor form since swapping London life for Manchester. The United manager said, “What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment of the season, in the winter market.
“That’s why I don’t like the winter market very much.
“I think this was a chance that we didn’t want to lose and we made.
“And for sure next season will be better for him. But of course he is learning how to play with us and we are learning how to get the best out of him.”
That may well be the case, but it ignores the fact that Alexis was in poor form for the entire season, his attitude stinking even more than his ability to keep possession.
Can he get it back next season or was last season Alexis Sanchez’s peak? I guess we will just have to wait and see.