Arsenal may have survived the second half onslaught from Leicester to win some confidence and points but the knock picked up by Alexis Sanchez in the first half will be a reasonable source of worry for Arsene Wenger as the player seems to be more hurt than his post-match explanation suggests.
The 26-year old was making his first appearance since the FA Cup at Brighton, having missed the last two League games including Saturday’s defeat to spurs. The first signs of his touch in the game were not entirely convincing but Matthew Upson made it worse by clattering into him in the first half. Alexis played through till half time and resisted substitution in the second half, only to be subbed later on in the game, his knee strapped immediately in ice.
Wenger believed the player was probably not in his best shape on the night, especially after he got knackered by the former Arsenal defender and admits uncertainty as to how long he may actually be unavailable to play.
“Sanchez got a knock on his knee. I don’t think he was himself.” Wenger said post-match
“From the moment he got this knock, he was never really comfortable. I don’t know for how long he will be out and whether he will be out or not. I haven’t seen the doctor.
“Yes I was ready to take him off at half-time but he said, ‘no it’s okay, I can go on’. When I watched him play I thought, ‘No, that hasn’t [got better]’. Sometimes when you run it off it’s just a kick but he became worse and I didn’t see him in the second half.”
Wenger had resisted the temptation to play him in against Tottenham last weekend for fear of causing a setback in his complete recovery and would not have anticipated him being hurt in some unnecessary fashion again.
Alexis has always played with a visible and likeable aggression that makes him difficult to keep out from the game but perhaps the manager would have decided against handing him a start given he opted for a combination of Cazorla, Ozil and Walcott as part of the forward line, in which case it may have been a better decision to start with either one of Giroud or Welbeck, the former most likely.
A medical scan will confirm whether or not he will have to go on another ‘winter break’ but Alexis himself seems to be sobbing under some pain already, which, by the undertone of his tweet, does not sound so immediately short term.
‘Sometimes the love for the game and anxiety to be on a football pitch works against you,’ he tweeted.
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