Arsenal could not have reached the Top Four last season if Alexis Sanchez had not been in explosive form in the first half of the season. He practically carried Arsenal when half the team were out injured. Fast forward 12 months, and we yet again have an injury list longer than my arm, but our erstwhile saviour simply doesn’t have the energy to carry us any more.
He played a full season at Barcelona before going straight on to the World Cup in 2014 where he was snapped up by Arsenal. He flew out of the blocks in the Premier League and has proved to be one of Wenger’s best ever buys. He was flagging in the second half of the season, but as soon as we collected the FA Cup, he was off again to the Copa America where he was integral to his country Chile winning the trophy. Wenger promised him a break on his return, but threw the winger on as sub in our opening day defeat to West Ham, and he has played just about every single game since.
He injured his hamstring against Man United just before the last international break, but still played both World Cup Qualifiers (winning both) before flying back to the intensity of the Premier League. Only an idiot could not have seen how tired he has been lately, but Wenger simply refuses to rest him.
Now the Arsenal boss is worried that he will play two more World Cup Qualifiers for his country in the next fortnight. Wenger said last night after Alexis was mostly ineffectual against Tottenham: “Players like Sanchez, who have played many games, they go out and play two games again.”
I have a feeling these two games will be a step too far for Sanchez, and we just have to hope he doesn’t break down in South America. If he does come back in one piece, Wenger simply must give him at least a two week rest or his body will just collapse with the exhaustion. And what would we do without him for the rest of the season?