Arsenal round-up: Carabao Cup win; Wenger on Sanchez; Sterling interest
Arsenal qualified for the next round of the Carabao Cup with a narrow victory over Doncaster Rovers. It wasn’t a classic performance, but they got the job done and gave minutes to squad players. Theo Walcott got the goal, while Jack Wilshere and Reiss Nelson were given valuable minutes. They have been given another home draw in the next round against Norwich City.
The Gunners need to slowly rebuild the club and the Carabao Cup is a good competition to win to breed a winning mentality. However, it might not be in Arsenal’s best interests this season as they have the Europa League to contend with. They will have a heavy schedule and it would be beneficial to drop out of one of the competitions, as this carries the least prestige.
Arsene Wenger has delivered his pre-match press conference ahead of West Brom. Alexis Sanchez has yet to make a Premier League start and the manager insists that he will have to earn his place, as there is no hierarchy at Arsenal. BBC Sport report the following quotes:
“Not more than any other. There is no real hierarchy. I used the team at Chelsea who could be strong on the counter-attack and fight very hard. Sanchez could have played if he was 100% fit from the start. I have six or seven strikers but if I go in one game with three strikers, the three who have not played will play in mid-week no matter what game that is. But that is nothing calculated.”
It appears that Wenger is trying to stamp his authority on the dressing room by side-lining Sanchez for the time being. Another reason for this stance could be that he is punishing the Chilean for trying to force a move away. That said, it would be idiotic not to use the attacker after fighting so hard to keep him. If he isn’t going to be used, they should have sold him.
There were rumours that Raheem Sterling could have been used in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez and the Mirror report that Arsenal are keen to revisit that. Arsene Wenger is a huge fan of the England international and could try to bring him to North London as part of the sale of Sanchez. Manchester City aren’t keen to lose the winger, but this rumour refuses to go away.
It is difficult to take any transfer story seriously at this stage of the season. The previous window has just finished and there is a long time until the next one opens. Arsenal would likely be keen on signing Sterling, but their negotiating position will be weakened in January. Given the contract situations of the two, Manchester City would be right to refuse a straight swap deal.