Wenger: ‘I played Alexis before he was fit’

Date published: Friday 25th September 2015 10:57

Arsene Wenger says he may be to blame for Alexis Sanchez’s poor form after playing him this season “before he was completely fit”.

Arsenal boss Wenger admits the Chile forward, who has yet to find the net in his eight performances this season, is working off a hangover from the summer’s Copa America success and felt he perhaps should have been given more time to recover.

“I think I played him very early before he was completely fit, physically, that is one explanation,” said Wenger.

“The second is that every player who has won a big trophy with the national team takes some while to settle and come back to his best. These are the two main explanations for me.

“Physically he is not completely ready, coming out of a big achievement and that takes time.

“I don’t worry for Alexis Sanchez. Even when he doesn’t score he is still a major threat for everybody and I am confident he will score very soon.”

Arsenal will have midfielder Santi Cazorla back to face Leicester this weekend after his red card at Chelsea, but must wait on an appeal against an improper conduct charge for defender Gabriel following the fall-out from his clash with Diego Costa.

Wenger said: “He was sorry for what happened and very disappointed, but he is a fighter and his attitude in training the whole week was completely focused and motivated.

“If there is no punishment we are a bit lucky, if there is a punishment I have to take it.”

Midfielder Francis Coquelin is recovering from a minor knee problem, while Wenger revealed Jack Wilshere’s operation to help heal a hairline fracture in his fibula went well and the England international could be back around Christmas.

Leicester are a place above Arsenal in fourth, having impressed with an unbeaten start to the campaign under new boss Claudio Ranieri.

Wenger believes the Italian is a welcome addition back to the Premier League following his work at Stamford Bridge from 2000 to May 2004.

“He built the (Chelsea) team that was so successful at the start,” the Gunners boss said.

“I remember them finishing second in the league with Ranieri and the team was upcoming with young players like John Terry and Frank Lampard, who were the players that contributed to the success of Chelsea.”

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