Arsene Wenger explains why Alexis Sanchez doesn’t start in Premier League
The Arsenal manager explains his decision to leave Alexis Sanchez out of his Premier League starting line-up
Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to omit Alexis Sanchez from his starting line-up for Arsenal’s last two Premier League games.
Sanchez missed the north London side’s opening two Premier League games of the 2017-18 season following a 4-3 win against Leicester City and a 1-0 loss at Stoke City.
Wenger restored the Chile international to the Arsenal starting line-up in the final Premier League game in August following a 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield.
The 28-year-old was heavily criticised for his subdued performance on Merseyside in what was his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt since their FA Cup final success.
Arsenal made a return to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth at The Emirates in the Premier League earlier this month.
The Gunners boss made the controversial decision to leave out Sanchez for their short trip to defending Premier League champions Chelsea.
Arsenal produced a resilient performance in the opening 65 minutes before Wenger opted to bring on Sanchez in the second half.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference ahead of Arsenal’s home clash against West Brom on Monday, Wenger explained his decision to leave Sanchez out of his starting line-up.
“There is no disguised attitude on my side. I just try to get him back to full fitness and for me the Europa League and the League Cup is important as well,” Wenger said.
“So I just try to give him competition and to get him back to his best, because I gave him a long holiday and after that long holiday this year he had a real rest.
“He came back not really fit, it took us time to get him back and then he got injured. If you add the injury plus the rest time it was a bit long, but on Wednesday night you could see that he is coming back sharp now and I left him on the pitch as well for 90 minutes because I wanted him to have a real go.
“All the players are [in my plans], he’s not more than another. I said I chose the team at Chelsea who can be strong on the counter-attack and fight very hard and Alexis could have played if he was 100 per cent fit at the start, but for me there’s no real hierarchy.
“I have six or seven strikers, but if I go in one game with three strikers, the three who have not played will play in midweek in no matter what competition it is. That is nothing calculated.”
Sanchez was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the summer transfer window but a deal failed to materialise.