Cape Town - Arsenal
manager Arsene Wenger insists he is not giving Alexis Sanchez less game
time due to his desire to leave the club in the transfer window.
The Chile international has only made one Premier League start for
the Gunners this season, against Liverpool, and came off the bench on
two other occasions.
Some have speculated that Wenger may be punishing Sanchez for showing
a lack of commitment to the club by eyeing a move to Manchester City
on deadline day, but the French tactician insists the limited game time
is down to fitness concerns.
"Not at all, that's going to very quick conclusions," Wenger told a
news conference when asked if there is concern regarding the player's
"He's been out and injured and I thought he was a little bit short
physically on Sunday [against Chelsea]. I played him last night to give
him more competition.
"There's no disguised attitude on my side. I just try to get him back
to full fitness. I just try to give him competition and get him back to
"He had a long holiday and came back not really fit and then he got
injured. But last night, you could see he's coming back sharp and I left
him on for 90 minutes so he could have a real go.
"All the players are important, he's not more than any other. I used a
team at Chelsea that could be strong on the counter-attack and fight
hard. Sanchez could have played if he had been fit."
The Gunners next welcome Tony Pulis' West Bromwich Albion to the Emirates Stadium on Monday with Wenger hoping to keep pace with the front-runners in the race for the Premier League title.
Kick off is at 21:00.