Alexis Sanchez in desperate need of a rest after average Monaco display

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The fallout from Arsenal's latest gallant exit in the Champions League knockout stages has been dominated by wide-ranging opinions that rate Mesut Ozil's performance in Monaco as everything from sublime to ridiculous, but its the jaded efforts of Alexis Sanchez that should be of far more concern to Gunners fans.

Sanchez somehow managed to bypass criticism from ITV's trio of analysts Paul Scholes, Emmanuel Petit and Lee Dixon last night, who were far more concerned with hammering a player in Ozil who was largely effective in dictating play and finding the space to keep Arsenal's attacking impetus strong.

That's despite Sanchez managing just one shot and one completed cross all night. The Chilean maestro also gave the ball away a whopping 19 times and failed to create a single clear-cut opportunity at goal for an Arsenal team-mate, statistics which should have alarm bells ringing for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

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Effort not in question, just application

Arsenal's £35m acquisition of Sanchez still looks to be an excellent decision, with 19 goals in all competitions an excellent return for a debut campaign in North London heading into the final two months of the season.

The 26-year-old has gone right off the boil in 2015 though, scoring just once in his last 11 games. Serious questions have to be asked over whether Wenger has used Sanchez to the point of burnout while his most prolific patch was a deep shade of purple, because last night there was no sign of the ex-Barca star's normally razor-sharp instincts in the final third.

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Wenger must learn his lesson with Sanchez

Wenger definitely relied too heavily on his marquee summer signing while Arsenal were finding the first half of the season difficult to navigate.

Between October 5th and January 18th played 16 Premier League games amounting to 1440 minutes of football, Sanchez was on the pitch for all but 20.

Throw in FA Cup stars against the might of Hull City and Middlesbrough and its clear Wenger could have done more to keep his top performer fresh, particularly when you consider his exertions at the World Cup last summer.

Give Sanchez a week off

Wenger openly admitted back in December that he had plans to give Sanchez a breather, but whatever reason those plans were shelved.

A look at the video from the failed 'Miracle in Monaco' should serve as strong evidence for Wenger that its time to urgently revisit that idea, because the fight to earn a top-four finish this season looks fiercer than ever.

Just three points separate Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool in third, fourth and fifth respectively. The Gunners have home games against Liverpool and Chelsea still to play plus a trip to Old Trafford in the penultimate week of the season, matches they'll definitely need Sanchez on song for.

There's no chance of Sanchez getting a rest during a round of international fixtures at the end of this month either, with Chile hosting Brazil in a friendly that screams grudge match at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

That's just a further reason for Wenger to send Sanchez on a mini-break instead of playing him against Newcastle United this weekend.

Wenger now has the vast majority of his attacking options fit and raring to go, which is a departure from other points in the season where Sanchez had to play 90 minutes three times a week through a sheer lack of numbers.

Why not take advantage and give Sanchez the best chance possible of setting the Premier League alight in April and May, not to mention helping the Gunners retain the FA Cup to boot?

Arsenal fans, do you agree that Sanchez looked tired against Monaco despite trying as hard as ever? Should Wenger rest him this weekend before its too late? Let us know your thoughts by having your say in the comment box below!

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