Arsenal: Wenger on subsitiutions; No special treatment for Sanchez; Gunners told to sign Aguero
Arsene Wenger said it was an ‘easy’ decision to bring on Olivier Giroud, after the Frenchman scored two crucial goals from the bench to help Arsenal vanquish Sunderland.
In the end, the 4-1 victory was a fair reflection of the Gunners’ dominance at the Stadium of Light.
However, Wenger’s side failed to put Sunderland to the sword in the first hour and when Jermain Defoe tucked away at penalty it looked as though they might be kicking themselves back to London.
Giroud’s fine volley wrestled the momentum back and they coasted home from there on.
Sunderland were desperately poor and three points is exactly what Arsenal should get from this fixture but they had to overcome some circumstantial difficulties.
Firstly, they had to bounce back from dropped points against Middlesbrough and secondly, Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott were absent. Wenger said:
“I would have signed for a 2-1 at that time, but the last 10 minutes were relaxing. The first two balls Giroud touched were goals, and that shows you when you have quality on the bench, it’s easy to make good decisions. With Giroud back, Ramsey back, Xhaka not suspended anymore, overall I think we are in a good position.”
It is too early in the season to talk about factors that could make ‘the difference’ for Arsenal, but the strength of their bench is a major asset. In previous seasons, Wenger’s side have put together good patches of form but always looked one major injury away from a struggle.
Their tactical a balance has rested on a very narrow ledge, and one or two absentees could see them fall off in dramatic fashion; as was the case with the loss of Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. However, this year there is a layer of players waiting in the wings who have barely featured; Giroud, Lucas Perez, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel and Per Mertesacker.
Elsewhere, Alexis Sanchez was in supreme form in yesterday’s game but his manager has told him not to expect any special treatment when it comes to being substitutes. The former Barcelona forward is a hyperactive character, and Wenger purportedly had difficulties handling him last season.
The Chilean did not react well when he was told he would be rested or when he was hooked before the 90 minute mark to save his legs. However, the two seemed to have cleared the air this season and Wenger has told him he will have no hesitation to rest him. Sanchez has flourished in a centre forward role and given Arsenal a fresh attacking outlook.
Finally, club legend Ian Wright has told his old club to target Manchester City target Sergio Aguero if Pep Guardiola continues to ‘mess around’ with him. There is no chance whatsoever of City sanctioning that deal, and Sanchez is doing a decent impression of Aguero at the moment; even if he isn’t quite as natural a goalscorer. Wright said:
“What I would like to happen is that Pep continues to mess around with Aguero and then Arsenal buy him.
“And then we just win the league off the back of that, simple as that.”
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