Wenger: There is no problem with ‘good guy’ Alexis Sanchez as he plays down talk of rift with star striker
PUBLISHED: 12:24 15 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:24 15 January 2017
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Arsene Wenger played down reports of a bust-up with Arsenal’s in-form forward Alexis Sanchez during his side’s impressive 4-0 win at Swansea City.
The Chilean showed his frustration at being substituted for a fit again Danny Welbeck shortly after he scored his 14th league goal in only 21 appearances.
The 28-year-old former Barcelona player was clearly not happy about being withdrawn but Wenger insisted his show of frustration by kicking his gloves away and covering his head with his jacket as he sat on the team bench was understandable.
Downplaying any evidence of a rift after Sanchez’s passionate reaction on being substituted towards the end of the game for Danny Welbeck, Wenger said simply afterwards: “I rested him for two weeks and gave him a little breather. He benefited from that”, adding with a wry smile: “I gave him another rest [with the substitution] today, so he will benefit from that as well.
“All players are frustrated when they come off, some show it, some not.
“I’m long enough in the job to know it. I make decisions I think are right – that’s it.
“He’s a good guy who gives a lot and who always wants to do well for the team. Look there is no problem. It’s really minor.”
Wenger also praised Sanchez for his performance and goal, as the Gunners’ hit their 27th league goal away from home this season.
“He’s hugely influential. When you look at the numbers, he’s been involved in so many goals”, he explained.
“We also have players on the bench who are strikers who need competition. We were 4-0 up, he’s just come back from a good rest,
“Mesut Ozil also cames back from sickness, so it was a good opportunity not to be stupid.”
Olivier Giroud’s goal which broke the deadlock made it nine in nine games for him, and 11 overall – put Arsenal ahead in a close-fought first 45 minutes as they withstood the fired-up Swans in new head coach Paul Clement’s first official game in charge.
Wenger added; “We showed our quality in the second half. I thought we were very efficient in our ‘transition’ play and we showed good quality.”
The long-serving Frenchman was full of praise for the opposition performance in the opening 45 minutes. He said: “They played really well in the first half. They should take some encouragement from the way they played.
“I thought we were a little fortunate in two of our goals but overall Swansea showed they have good quality.”