Arsene Wenger has admitted he has overplayed Alexis Sanchez and is considering whether or not to offer him a break before the end of the season.
Arsenal have a maximum of 11 games to play before the end of the season and ten if they fail to make it to the FA Cup final. As the campaign enters its climax, Sanchez has been one of the most prominent members of the Gunners squad.
Only Per Mertesacker has played more minutes for Arsenal than Sanchez, who originally hit the ground running after £32million move from Barcelona. The Chile international has played an incredible 3,326 minutes in his debut season and the stats suggest his early-season form has tailed off.
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The forward has scored just one goal in his last 11 games after amassing an impressive 17 goals in all competitions by the time the second week of January had ended. Wenger has continued to play Sanchez despite his indifferent form and admits he is considering giving him a well-earned break.
"He's a bit fatigued and in a position where he has scored less," Wenger told reporters ahead of Arsenal's game against Newcastle United.
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Forcing his game
"He wants to force his game and then is more involved in physical battles. Maybe goalscoring is on his mind, so he wants to do too much and he wants to force his game.
"I'm tempted to give him a break at some stage. I have been for a long time. It's not that he won't let me, I will decide that. It's just that every game now is so important, you always have a hesitation to do it."
The injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has certainly made the prospect of resting Sanchez a more daunting one. However, Theo Walcott is back to full fitness and would cherish the chance to star in this Arsenal team, especially with contract talks ongoing.
However, with so few games left, it makes little sense to rest Sanchez now, depending on how long he needs, of course. There is little point naming Sanchez in the squad to travel up to Tyneside just in case Arsenal don't perform and Wenger wants to bring him on.
What Sanchez needs is a complete break from football. A week in his home, sitting down a recuperating. The chance to give him that has passed. Arsenal are deep in a top four race and can easily fall behind if they don't keep up their current form.
Should Arsene Wenger rest Alexis Sanchez or just play him through the end of the season and let him recover in the summer? Give us your thoughts in the comment box below!