Thierry Henry believes that Arsene Wenger is no longer as loyal to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez as he used to be.
The pair, so often described as Arsenal’s key men and impossible to drop from the side, have found themselves in-and-out of the Arsenal team this season.
While this has mostly been down to fitness issues rather than by design, Thierry Henry thinks there may have been a change in Arsene Wenger’s thinking.
“Listen, there’s something I’ve seen that I didn’t see for a very long time with the Arsenal side and Arsene doing what he did,” Henry said on Sky Sports (via 101 Great Goals).
“More often than not, when Alexis Sanchez was back, whether he’s fit or not, he plays.
“Ozil, whether he’s fit or not or if he trained a lot or not, he plays.
“The other day I saw something at Chelsea, okay he (Sanchez) didn’t start at Chelsea, but when he came on they put him up front because they were so well organised.
“Maybe we’re reading a bit too much into that but this is something that Arsene wouldn’t have done back in the days. ’You’re back, you’re the man, you play’.
“The other day was like ‘hang on a minute, that team has been working hard, we’re going to go to Chelsea like that’.
“Now Ozil comes on and Alexis comes off.
“There’s something I didn’t see before that now he said at the beginning of the game ‘the team is playing well, so he’s like any other player, he has to wait a bit’.”
Ozil had a full pre-season and started every game league until he picked up a problem with his knee. That injury ruled him out of the games against Chelsea, West Brom and Brighton, which Arsenal happened to pick up seven points from.
Alexis, on the other hand, arrived back late from international duty and had to be eased back into first team action. He was short of competitive minutes for the game against Chelsea, but has recently come back into the team.
It’s too early to conclude that Wenger is trying to make Arsenal less dependent on the duo. Barring injury or suspension, the two will most likely start together.
If they’re both fit and available, yet one doesn’t start a game, then there might be something to it.