Arsene Wenger insists that he’s not punishing Alexis Sanchez for his shenanigans over the summer with reduced game time.
Alexis was given a start against Doncaster Rovers during Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 victory on Wednesday night but didn’t come on until the 66th minute against Chelsea at the weekend.
Despite this, Wenger insists that he isn’t punishing the 28-year-old with reduced time in Premier League matches, which has been suggested after the Chilean’s summer shenanigans.
“No (I’ve not left him out on purpose), not at all, that’s going into quick conclusions,” Wenger said.
“Alexis Sanchez has been out and injured, I thought he was short on Sunday [Chelsea] physically.
“I played him last night to give him more competition.
“Look, there’s no disguised attitude on my side. I just try to get him back to full fitness.
“The Europa League and League Cup is important, I try to give him competition and get him back to his best.
“I gave him a long holiday. He came back not very fit, then he got injured. The injury plus the rest was a bit long.
“I left him on the pitch for 90 minutes so he could have a real go.
“All the players are [in my plans] he’s not more than any other.
“Sanchez could have played [against Chelsea] if he was 100% fit at the start.
“In one game I go with three strikers, the three that don’t play will play midweek, no matter the competition.”
Alexis has made just one Premier League start this season since his return to fitness against Liverpool before the international break.
His other two starts so far have come in the Europa League against FC Koln and the League Cup, which fans have suggested could be a dig at the forward, who’s publicly stated that he wants to play in the Champions League and flirted with a move to rivals Manchester City throughout the summer.
“It depends on them,” Alexis told Chile’s Radio Sport back in July. “I have to wait to know what they want. My idea is to play and win the Champions League. It’s a dream I have had since I was little.”
Obviously, the star’s move to City didn’t happen, despite a £60m bid reportedly being accepted by the Gunners on Transfer Deadline Day.
If Wenger claims that Alexis is injured, he probably is. He was apparently suffering from an abdominal injury when he returned from his extended summer break. However, it’s hard to believe that everything’s all rosy behind the scenes considering the forward clearly doesn’t want to be at Arsenal and everyone knows it.