Alexis Sanchez has been Arsenal’s most impressive performer of the last two months. He has virtually carried the team with six goals in his last seven games; he also scored two more during the international break. Since he failed to start in the North London derby, he has gone on to start every game after that, and his overall contributions does not stop at scoring goals, rather his work rate, speed of thought and closing down of opposition players are hallmarks of his game. However, one area of his game that still need refining is his pass completion rate, against Manchester United on Saturday, his passing was largely off colour, and one of his passes that went astray to the opposition led to the second goal United scored off a counter-attack.
The 25 year old has played lots of football since his arrival in July, with few periods to recharge his batteries, and over the last three months, he has had to travel on long haul flights to international matches for Chile. In the last round of internationals, he played the almost the entire matches against Venezuela and Uruguay, and he only arrived London on the eve of the match against Manchester United, it was no surprise therefore that he did not display the usual high standards he has become known for on Saturday, yet it was a situation that sources in the Chilean media saw coming, the press in his home country has wield into his private life and they claim he is at a risk of burn out in the coming weeks.
La Cuarta (via daily star), who is reputed to be one of Chile’s biggest media outlets, had claimed that he could become ineffective as a result of excessive football, and his sex life.
While there is nothing Arsenal can do about his private life as that is exclusive to him, however, there is something Arsene Wenger can do in respect of the excessive football he has played in the last few months.
Going by his performance against Manchester United, the fears raised by the Chilean media outlet were justified. The long flight through the Atlantic after the international break seem to have made him heavy legged, he still showed some of his usual closing down of defenders, like the pressing that led to the chance Jack Wilshere failed to score, as well as several chances he created on the day. He played mostly from the wings, which meant he did lots of tracking back, a situation that affected his contributions in the final third.
The only way Alexis Sanchez can avoid burn out is if he is rested. But that outcome seems out of the question for now due to the fact that the team is struggling at the moment plus the fact that he is the only player in the team that can conjure up a moment of brilliance to win a game for the club in the absence of Mesut Ozil.
The atmosphere at the club is toxic at the moment because of the team’s bad form, and Arsene Wenger would not want to risk more backlashes by resting one its better players in Alexis Sanchez. He is getting to a time in the season that would be strange to him as there is no winter break in English football, which only means he has to be managed carefully.