It’s probably best if you shielded your eyes right now, Arsenal fans.
Please tell me you’re not still looking. I hope you’re not, for your own sake.
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Alexis Sanchez was dropped to the bench before Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, of which you’re already fully aware. Arsene Wenger said after the game that the decision was for tactical reasons. The real reason for the Chilean superstar’s exclusion from the starting lineup, however, has only just come to light: Sanchez reportedly grew frustrated and stormed off the training field earlier in the week, and was then confronted by a number of first-team players upon finding him still in the locker room after the session had ended. The players were reportedly involved in a heated exchange.
With hopes of the Premier League title gone (Arsenal are 13 points back of leaders Chelsea with 12 games left to play), and progression in the UEFA Champions League highly unlikely (they trail Bayern Munich 5-1 ahead of the two sides’ round-of-16 second leg on Tuesday), it’s another season — for all intents and purposes — lost, for the club, and for Sanchez, who turned 28 in December. Given his rabid, incessant work rate and style of play, it’s just about time we begin to wonder how much longer he’ll be able to maintain his current levels.
With his contract — and that of Mesut Ozil, let us not forget — set to expire next summer, this is the last thing anyone connected to the club would have wanted. At this point, it seems almost inevitable: either Wenger will go in the summer, or Sanchez will. Of course, the majority of Arsenal fans picked their side in that battle long, long ago.