Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that the end of the Alexis Sanchez “Will he or won’t he?” saga helped his Gunners focus on the task at hand and clinch a berth in the League Cup Final.
Granit Xhaka‘s winner after an own goal equalizer helped the Gunners to a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea in the League Cup semifinal second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, setting up a Feb. 25 duel for hardware with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
Wenger didn’t have the services of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who joined Arsenal earlier this week in a swap deal for Sanchez, but got lively performances from Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette in the victory. From the BBC:
“We lost a great player in Alexis Sanchez but when a team doesn’t know what’s going on in the dressing room there is less clarity and focus on performances. We know we have to deal with it now.
“We have some time to prepare for the final but we are happy to take our fans to Wembley. We’ve been there a few times now and we’re happy to be going again.”
There are plenty of snarky remarks that can be proffered about success in cup tournaments, but Wenger’s led his men to four finals in five seasons and has won the first three.
At some point, considering he’s trotted out plenty of youngsters, perhaps even the #WengerOut brigade can give the man his due for getting tactics and talent right this often (and maybe wonder how it doesn’t come off more consistently in the league).
As for Alexis, we’re fairly certain his situation became an albatross and it seems no coincidence the Gunners have appeared freed from their bonds in two-straight matches.