Wenger: Alexis is playing for fitness, it’s not a statement

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Arsene Wenger says Alexis Sanchez played the full 90 minutes against Doncaster Rovers because he’s still building up his fitness having missed most of Arsenal’s pre-season preparations.

Denying suggestions that he’s chosen to field the Chile international – who wanted to leave the club this summer – in the Europa League and Carabao Cup instead of recent Premier League matches, because he’s not fully focused, Wenger explained:

“No, not at all. That’s going into very quick conclusions, not at all. Alex Sanchez has been out and injured and I thought he was still a bit short on Sunday, physically. And I played him as well last night to give him more competition.

Asked if the player is happy to be at Arsenal for the season, Wenger added: “That’s the impression I have.”

Asked again, this time by the Evening Standard’s James Olley, whether there’s more to Alexis’ absence from the Chelsea game, Wenger reasserted his position.

“There’s no disguised attitude on my side, I just try to get him back to full fitness.

“For me the Europa League, the League Cup last night is important as well. I just try to give him competition and to get him back to his best.

“I gave him a long holiday and this year he had a real rest, he came back not really fit and then he got injured. If you add the injury and the rest time it was a bit long.

“Last night you could see he’s coming back sharp now and I left him on the pitch for 90 minutes because I wanted him to have a real go.

“All the players are [central to my plans], he’s not more than any other. I used the team at Chelsea who could be strong on counter-attacks and fight very hard and Sanchez could have played at the start if he was 100 per cent.

“For me there is no real hierarchy, I have six or seven strikers. If I go for three strikers, the three who have not played will play in midweek no matter what competition it is. There’s nothing calculated.”

So…all eyes on the team selection for the West Bromwich Albion game on Monday. Given Danny Welbeck’s absence, due to a groin injury, you can’t help but think Alexis will be given a start on the left.

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20 Comments on "Wenger: Alexis is playing for fitness, it’s not a statement"

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rogerbij

This makes sense, with the next game on Monday Wenger is surely preparing to play Alexis on the left. Good choice imo.

Ian k

Alexis is seen washing Wenger’s car, using the wax on wax off method. Arsene says its for match fitness, its not a statement…

Naflanesra

Of course journos will give him a hard time for actually playing a player god forgive if he did a Costa, James Olley would be having fits!

Capn Crunch

And credit to Wenger for having amassed such a quality group of 7 forwards, with a lot of strength in depth.

Crazy that just a couple of years ago our back up strikers were Sanogo and Bendtner.

heihaci

better quality than before but the 7 have different quality levels

TheG

They are also good at different things which is also part of the thinking behind it.

Berlingoon

I really hope Gibbo gets a very warm welcome at the Emirates on Monday. Will be strange to see him in the opposition team. Always liked this kid.

Mistafi

He was just a shade short on quality. Almost there and love his professionalism never ever came out and said anything negative. These kind of should be cheered on when they come back.

uhtred

I wish Gibbs all the best but want him to get skinned over and over again on monday

DB\'s first touch

I’d rather we just attacked down the other flank and skinned whoever is playing right back for West Brom instead. That would also likely mean Alexis having a strong game, which would be alright with me as well.

renaissancerosicky

Iwobi to start over Alexis on Monday for me. He looked pretty sharp when he cem on no? Alexis would be a great option to have on the bench too, so. Biggest reason to start Alexis is the seniority/ego aspect, which can also be valid.

Lord Bendnter

This is what I like. Last year with his contract situation, we couldn’t do this, the manager had to play him all the time regardless of his form. This year, it’s the manager’s decision and not the player’s. And that’s how it’s supposed to be in professional football.

Martin

That’s how it was last season. Absurd comment

David C

I’d start Giroud up top/Per at the back because of West Brom’s height and Pulis’ tactics.

Maybe go with:
Cech
Mustafi Per Kos
Bellerin Xhaka Ramsey Kola
Sanchez Laca
Giroud

Bring Ozil on later in the game to thread some passes through a tiring defence.

Santori

Dunno why you got so many downvotes

Likely though it will be the same back 3 against Chelski

Up top we can play either Giroud or Alexis with Lacazette or indeed Giroux Alexis.

Other spot will likely be Ozil’s

Santori

With the caveat that I did not watch the second half, I thought he was looking decent for us first half.

His job is to take on people. Was involved in the goal with the assist and got us going left side with the impressive as ever Maitland Niles.

Paul

I’d be happy if Alexis never played for us again.

Paul

Hung jury!

WengerOut

I hope we carry the momentum from the Chelsea game

Chris

Such a non-story, not from Arseblog but the press, playing Alexis when he is looking for fitness is no surprise. What’s next, JW playing in the cup is unhappy so wants to join West Ham zzzzzzz.

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