As far as stars at Arsenal go, there aren’t many bigger than Alexis Sanchez.
While Mesut Ozil isn’t far behind him, the Chilean’s value at the Emirates cannot be understated. After all, this season has seen him inherit the mantle of the club’s star striker in what could be Arsene Wenger’s final title charge.
However, despite Sanchez’s unquestionable importance, Wenger has been keen to ground his star man. It appears the Frenchman hasn’t taken too lightly to the 27-year-old’s reactions to being subbed.
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Neither Wenger nor Sanchez can have many complaints with Arsenal’s start to the season. Besides, the Gunners are only short of the Premier League summit on goal difference and have lost just one game in seven months.
Sanchez too, on an individual note, has been in fine form. The ex-Barcelona man has coped well with being played as a lone striker and has amassed six goals in just 11 appearances.
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Nevertheless, this hasn’t prevented Wenger from substituting the Chilean late in games, especially when victory appears an inevitability.
This was the case in the home wins over Ludogorets and Swansea City when Sanchez was pulled off, much to the displeasure of the man himself. In fact, the 27-year-old didn’t take too kindly on both instances.
While he was still a long way from throwing his toys out the pram, it remained a far from professional reaction to his manager’s decision.
Had Arsenal still been fighting for three points upon the tactical move, his episodes may have been justified, but Wenger was merely resting him.
In light of this seemingly recurring issue, the manager of 20 years responded to the issue and was keen to lower Sanchez from his pedestal.
According to the Mirror, the 67-year-old explained: “For me he is not a special case. He is a player like everybody else. When I decide to take him off, I take him off.
“There is no special case. He has his own character but he is not treated differently from everybody else.
"They all recognise it after the game but during the game they want to stay on the pitch. You want to play even when you are tired.
“I tested Sanchez because he played two games in South America. Sometimes I rest him straight away after. I played him the other day against Swansea so I thought I would take him off when it is possible. We consider every case individually.”
There is certainly sound reasoning behind Wenger’s decisions, but Sanchez doesn’t seem to be taking it on board in the heat of the moment.
Given Arsenal’s track record with injuries though, who can blame Wenger for wrapping his finest players in cotton wool? After all, if the Gunners lost Sanchez and Ozil, their title challenge would be derailed in an instant.
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