Arsenal’s celebration for Alexis Sanchez’s first goal against Crystal Palace could hint at a dressing room split, according to Thierry Henry and Graeme Souness.
Alexis scored twice against Palace on Thursday as Arsenal ran out 3-2 winners.
Nobody had doubts about how united the Arsenal dressing room were until after the game, when apparently, the team’s celebration for Alexis’ first goal suggested all is not well.
Images showed that around half the team celebrated with the Chilean, while the other half were walking back to their own half.
Thierry Henry and Graeme Souness, who were working as pundits for the game, believe there could be a divided dressing room.
“There is a division in the team. He is asking them to come. ‘Why are they not coming? Don’t you want to celebrate?’,” Henry said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“You’re not here for Alexis Sanchez, you’re here for Arsenal. Arsenal scored. Go and celebrate. Whoever does it (scores), we don’t care about that, go and celebrate with your team-mate.
“Maybe we are reading too much into it but I noticed it. Sanchez made me notice it. It was like he thought he was alone.”
Souness added: “That tells you there is a divided dressing room. That shows they aren’t having Sanchez at the moment. I only see that when teams are 5-1 up, not 2-1 up. You’re elated, you’ve just scored a goal. It is clear there is a dynamic in the dressing room that all is not well.”
While that celebration is being picked apart, nobody saw fit to mention the celebration for the third goal of the night, in which almost the whole team celebrated together.
Nor has it been mentioned that it’s quite common for defenders to return to their positions after a goal has been scored. Or that Laurent Koscielny, who didn’t run the length of the pitch to celebrate, possibly because he has Achilles made of silly string, congratulated Alexis when he got a little closer after his second:
Other players who didn’t celebrate were Petr Cech, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac and Jack Wilshere – a goalkeeper, three defenders, and one midfielder.
Meanwhile, the ones who did celebrate happened to be in close proximity to Alexis at the time.
Rather than suggesting a split, it could be that the team didn’t feel retaking the lead against Palace, in a game they were in control of, warranted much celebration.
This story only exists due to the uncertainty around Alexis’ future.
It’s also very hypocritical, given that Arsenal have been panned for celebrating too much during and after games.
Maybe things aren’t well in the Arsenal dressing room, but the only ones who know that are the people at the club.
Anything else is just pointless speculation.