Wenger backs benched Sanchez

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, January 12, 2018
Adjust font size:
Arsene Wenger is confident Sanchez will sign a new contract this summer.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez remains committed to Arsenal even though the Chilean was a substitute for the League Cup semifinal clash with Chelsea.

Wenger opted to keep Sanchez on the bench until the last 25 minutes of Wednesday's 0-0 first-leg draw at Stamford Bridge.

It was a bold gamble by Wenger given the League Cup represents one of the few chances for Arsenal to win silverware in another frustrating season.

Some Arsenal fans and pundits say Sanchez no longer gives 100 percent because his contract expires at the end of the season and he has so far refused to sign a new deal amid reports he is a divisive figure in the dressing room.

Although Premier League leader Manchester City is keen to sign Sanchez after its move for the forward fell through in August, Wenger claimed he is still completely focused on the Arsenal cause despite a series of lackluster performances.

"The performance of Alexis Sanchez and the commitment does not depend on the duration of his contract, it just depends on the fact that when he's on the football pitch he wants to play," Wenger said.

"People don't know Alexis Sanchez. This is a guy completely focused on playing football. Did you see how he came on today? Like a player who wants to play football.

"He can make a difference between what's going on outside and what's going on on the football pitch.

"He doesn't need to tell me or speak to anybody else. He doesn't need to alert the club. He can do it on his own.

"We live with facts, not with psychological theories. When you come on to the pitch you play football and give 100 percent. That's what he does."

Remarkably, Wenger appears to believe Sanchez could still be persuaded to remain in north London.

"I want him to stay for longer," he added. "I have no problem if he signs with us now or in June."

Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi featured instead of Sanchez despite facing a fine for partying prior to Sunday's FA Cup third-round loss to Nottingham Forest.

Quizzed on whether selecting Iwobi sent a mixed message on team discipline, Wenger said: "It's one thing to punish someone individually and a second thing to punish everybody.

"If I think he can help the team win; that's nothing to do with the fact he can be punished separately, individually." Wenger, who said Jack Wilshere will miss Sunday's game at Bournemouth after sustaining an ankle injury, watched from the press box while serving the second game of his three-match touchline ban.

He said the experience of being surrounded by reporters had been strange.

"It was frustrating but you (the media) have the best seats," said the Frenchman.

"The position was quite interesting, because I was close to the bench and not too high up. I like that."

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter