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Is Alexis really a bad influence? Or just a bad player (some of the time).

By Tony Attwood

I can’t think when the last time was that I quoted the Daily Mirror – certainly not quoting the Daily Mirror for doing something innovative and interesting which the rest of the media had not done.

But they have done it.  Up to a point.

The article in question was by John Cross who is their chief football writer, and also a Talk Sprout man.  He is very, very critical of Arsenal and Mr Wenger on many occasions, although can suddenly come up with something a bit different.

Of course in part this might be because of the headline writer whose brief it is to make sure the article gets readership, irrespective of what is in the article, but even so….  He doesn’t always come across as pro-Wenger in any way.  But then he also rarely comes across as very original; and that’s not really his fault.  There are a lot of anti-Wengerians about, and few of them have ever bothered to connect up all the issues of what is happening within football, preferring the old newspaper editor adage of “one issue at a time please gents; remember who our readers are.”

So it was with interest that I read him suggesting that, “I am told by TV that Sanchez’s stats, second half in particular, at Bayern Munich [in the first match] were surprisingly bad . They have been in a few games recently.   Al (sic) those histrionics, throwing of arms, dramatically sitting on his haunches to emphasise how much he cares and his disappointment actually just disguised a really bad performance.”

That is interesting, because I haven’t read that in many places – and it is also very unusual for the Mirror to claim that there are actual statistics around (even if they don’t actually quote them) to back up any argument.  (Of course in that regard they are no different from the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Star – the newspaper that only exists to… well, you know the rest of that one.)

We then have a lot of pictures which have explanations beneath them to make sure we get the point – such as “Sanchez throws his arms in the air” and “The Chilean looks dejected” and “Arsene Wenger shakes hands with Alexis Sanchez” and “Alexis Sanchez sits on the bench” – its all good stuff.

But then,

“His attitude has been poor. It’s not just one row, but a few, he sulks when he is substituted, gets niggled and blanks people. It’s hard to work in training with a player with such an ego, with such a difficult approach and the last two or three weeks it’s become tougher.

“That is why Sanchez was dropped at Liverpool but it wasn’t just that. His recent displays have been poor as well. That night at Bayern Munich was the worst and yet still people think he played well because he scored and did some amateur dramatics on the pitch.

“My belief is that he was dropped at Liverpool not just because of what’s happened in training but because of his performance at Bayern. Yes, it was a few weeks back but there’s not been many games since. It was a hangover from that.

“I’m also given to believe a large chunk of the squad thought it was correct to drop Sanchez. And as such, Wenger thought there would be a response from the others out to prove they can cope and win without the prima donna.”

Unfortunately we just never get to see the statistics, but it interesting to get the hint that they are out there, somewhere.   And there is even a word of sympathy for the manager from the Mirror on this occasion.

“But it’s hard managing big players. Look at Antonio Conte. We all say he’s a genius. Well, he dropped Diego Costa when he played up in training. Exactly the same

“Wenger has managed Sanchez for nearly three years so he knows all about managing Sanchez. He bought him, got some great games out of him and has now dropped him for the first time ever. Yet everyone keeps saying he never drops big players or substitutes them.

“Sanchez was dropped for his woeful performance at Bayern as much as what he did or did not do in training.”

If there is disquiet about Alexis among the squad, then all these stories we are now hearing about how half the squad are so fed up that they are ready to leave Arsenal, might have a different point of origin.

Certainly some of the stories make no sense at all (like the story saying Cech is bemused that he is not allowed to play in the Champions League), and some seem just whimsical.  Also there is a case to be made for the fact that some of the players would actually like to play for a team where the crowd get behind the team, rather than putting up placards and chanting against the manager (although to be fair the number doing that is small).

So it is intriguing.  Maybe Alexis, overall, isn’t as good a player as we think.  I thought he was superb against Bayern this week, until the penalty.  And I have seen him play other games in which he was outstanding.  He is also top of the goals plus assists league table with 17 goals plus nine assists – total 26.    Last season the top player in the goals plus assists chart got 24 goals plus 12 assists – just 10 more than Alexis.  Alexis has a maximum of ten games left to go, so certainly could top that.

Yet at what price?  Certainly if he has become a half-a-game player who really annoys all the rest of the team, whatever the price, it might be too much.

Arsenal History Books on Kindle

The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle.  Full details are here.

Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without.   For full details please see here.

Both books are also available as paperbacks.  Please see here.

38 comments to Is Alexis really a bad influence? Or just a bad player (some of the time).

  • dan

    Some are stating Arsenal are an embarrassment to the PL.

  • Nitram

    dan

    Where as Spurs are of course the pride and joy.

    This is the Spurs that domestically over the last 35 years have won:

    1 FA Cup in 1991.

    2 League cups in 1999 and 2008.

    Oh, and not forgetting of course, HALF a charity Shield.

    And of course lest we forget, not a single title since Black and White TV.

    And of course they’ve flown the Premier League flag gloriously around Europe. I mean who can argue with the way they’ve taken the Europa League by storm, thus:

    2006-07

    QF Seville: Lost 3-4 on agg.

    2007-08

    R16 PSV Eindhoven: Lost on Pens.

    2008-09

    R32 Shakhtar Donetsk: Lost 1-3 agg.

    2011-12

    Went out at Group Stage from a Group consisting of such footballing giants as:

    Hearts
    Paok
    Rubin Kazan
    Shamrock Rovers

    2012-13

    QF Basel: Lost on pens.

    2013-14

    R16 Benfica: Lost 3-5 on agg.

    2014-15

    R32 Fiorentina: Lost 1-3 on agg.

    2015-16

    R16 Dortmund: Lost 1-5 on agg.

    2016-17

    R32 Gent: Lost 2-3 on agg.

    Arguably they are getting worse. The last 4 years they’ve gone out at the R16 twice and the R32 twice, against such giants as Gent and Fiorentina.

    They have qualified for the CL once, in 2010-11, where they reached the QF, losing 0-5 to Real Madrid.

    So not embarrassing at all then !

    Look, I’m not really having a go at Spurs, well I am a bit, but my real target is the way our comparative records are portrayed in the media.

    We get into the toughest contest in the World year after year. We often as not end up facing one of the best teams in the World and come up short. Okay sometimes well short. But we are talking Barcelona and Bayern Munich here, fantastic teams that often as not go on to win the damn thing.

    Okay, I would like us to do better, but embarrassing? Really?

    But when you compare it to Spurs record? Now THAT is embarrassing.

    And yet the abuse we get far far out ways anything aimed at Spurs. Yes there are rumblings for a few days but come the next match we move on as if it never happened.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me if we are being labelled an ’embarrassment’ because as usual we have a totally disproportionate reaction from the media, especially when you compare it to the far more embarrassing capitulations of others.

  • Nitram

    It’s not about winning trophies, if it was Wenger would have been sacked a long time ago.

  • dan

    Nitram

    YouTube Arsenal, so much hurt at the moment

  • Nitram

    dan

    Well there’s a surprise.

    It never ends. Even when we win there’s always an angle to have a dig.

    We where lucky. Our goal shouldn’t of counted. There goal should of. They should of had a penalty, we shouldn’t have. Blah blah blah, and so it goes on.

    Our own fans never stop criticising no matter what. Our own ex players never stop moaning.

    If we lose a tight game against great opponents it’s still reported as the end of the World.

    We lose 2 games and the seasons over.

    We take a stuffing and we are an embarrassment, no matter the circumstances or superb quality of the opponents. (see above)

    God forbid we should have a bad ‘period’. It’s Armageddon.

    So heaven knows what will happen should we have a bad period AND take a stuffing or 2 as well.

    Oh, we do know, as you say, just visit Arsenal on Utube.

    I’d rather not thanks.

  • Menace

    dan – YouTube the 50th & pass it to the fans. Many who poke fun are below us in the table.

    Nitram – the truth does not matter. This is the media – they publish bullshit like it smelled of roses. Problem is many fans have lost the sense of smell & think bullshit is roses.

  • Tommo

    Oh dear.

    I don’t know what’s the funniest? That Sanchez isn’t as good a player as we think, or that John Cross isn’t pro Wenger?

    It could go either way…

  • @Tommo, you’re right on the money there, this blog must be funded by Arsene. Sanchez gives it all on the pitch, we all know what side John Cross breads buttered on, still the ministry of lies has its work to do.

    BTW, afternoon Menace, at what point do we finally get rid of a failing manager?

  • Leon

    Sir Chips has spoken!
    So everything’s OK now!

    Speaking of Sanchez; was there any doubt as to his quality & commitment?
    He will probably leave this close season, and if it’s because we won’t pay him the reported “£250,00 per week”, then that’s fair enough. He’s not really in that rarified group of footballers, so the search for his replacement will begin.

  • Leon

    £250,000 per week

  • Leon

    ….and if Ozil wants the same, let him leave also. Definitely not worth it. Give Ox Chamberlain a new good deal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Klis, maybe it is worth looking at the first link in the comment section.
    I must admit I was very and utterly surprised by the numbers in that article. If those numbers are real (feel free to quote other stats if you have them and could link to them) Alexis is amazing in pretending to work hard.

    And as those numbers are not from Untold you might even care to have a look at them without prejudice. Or will you claim that skysports was funded by Arsène?

  • Walter, worth reading Untolds latest blog, could be fatigue, also, what about other members of the team, how are their stats… For goals scored and assists he’s the man. so are you saying he should be dropped for not trying.

  • MickHazel

    Regarding John Cross I have recently read the book about Arsene Wenger written by him. If anyone would like to read it and is able to collect from where I live in Crawley, W Sussex you are welcome to have it. You can get my email from Tony.

  • ossasa

    If Cross is anti-Wenger then Tony must be so far to his right he is collideing with Trump via slippery Stan. Tony – you forever knock people who are professionals getting paid to do a job. Do you really think you are somehow riding the high moral line above the English press wholesale? Take a leaf from Kevin over on Online Gooner. The guy writes brilliantly on Arsenal and never resorts to daily carping about what the professionals are to. If Untold have given up on Sanchez canwe please have a list of players who are liked presently.

  • Matthew

    Didn’t take UA (or John “Lord Haw Haw” Cross) long to start the PR offensive against Sanchez. Martin Keown was also at it during his commentary. So transparent that Wenger has to be protected at all costs and that Wenger’s allies are closing rank. At this rate, in a few years time, UA will be arguing that Sanchez was never again good.

  • Walter, Meant Le Groves latest blog….worth getting a different perspective on the situation.

  • ossasa

    Was not that long ago there was an article on here about how much more impressive was Sanchez verses Henry. Mind you – poor old Terry is not the most popular of players on here either. As for Paul Merson Grrrrrr ….

  • Knobby

    Alexis Sanchez is the teachers pet that wants to be the milk monitor every day..
    But the teacher has sussed him out.
    Barca did it far earlier.

  • The teacher doesn’t seem to teach the sylibus anymore, still using the old text books. Still keen to coach the school footy team.

  • dan

    This is rich, the fans can’t critise the manager but Sanchez is game at any level!!!

  • Josif

    I think that Untold – for all its unique character- has to avoid falling into a fabricated clash between our best player and Arsenal (yes, that’s exactly how it is presented).

    The stats about mileage are pretty useless, not least because we are not competing in athletics. Alexis plays as a false nine. He used to play as a winger and probably ran more and tracked back more. Last season, at some point, Arsene said that Alexis would be less spent at No.9 role than on the wing. (I think after the home match against Dinamo Zagreb.)

    To question his work-rate at Arsenal is pretty pointless. If you want a proof, take a look at Nacho Monreal’s performances with Alexis on his side and with anyone else. In those, say, eighteen months of Alexis’ support, Nacho had been the best left full-back in the league. Once Alexis was moved to the middle, we got more goals (Arsenal have been among the top scorers in the league) but Nacho has become a liability.

    Sadly, it looks like “they” (to use Brickfield’s term) are now ready to hide behind Neville Chamberlain’s skirt in order to attack Arsene while at this side of the common sense, Alexis has been picked as a scape-goat. It’s a war in which only losing side will be Arsenal Football Club.

  • Knobby

    Running less than Giroud is pretty damning stats thou.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I like Sanchez as a player, hope they are doing all they can to replace him.
    But if he won’t sign…..and I read he is a man for three seasons or so, then we will just have to recruit,,develop and get on with it, as we have many times before

  • Tommo

    What has John Cross started? All eyes are now on Sanchez, and I now expect a ‘Sanchez Review’ for the next game.

    The question is, with Ref Reviews, Media Reviews, Time Wasting Reviews, Body Language Reviews, etc, are there available resources?

    Sanchez fails to acknowledge Gunnersaurus entering the ground, get rid He throws a tantrum on the pitch, get rid. He smiles, get rid. Hands on hips on 70 mins, get rid. His workrate is less than the 4th official, because John Cross says so… get rid.

    Remember fans attitudes to Fabregas and RVP. Never won the league when we had them anyway. Won’t be missed. Get rid.

    Can see exactly where we are heading.

  • WalterBroeckx

    When it comes to Wenger they say: no manager is bigger than the club.
    When it comes to Alexis he suddenly is irreplacable? We have replaced TH, Adebayor, RVP, … We will and can find other strikers that maybe are more team players. As brilliant as he can be in many matches he also is the one that holds up play a lot and makes us lose the ball a lot. Bayerns second goal anyone

    I don’t want him to go but as Leon said 250.000 a week is too much for Arsenal. Crazy money. If he would score in all the top matches each time he could be worth more than he earns now. But his stats in the top matches are not as good as the one from Giroud.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tommo and Sky sports say so…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tommo, why wasn’t Marquinos send off against Barca and only yellow carded?

  • Walter, who did we replace TH, Adebayor, RVP or Cesc with…?

  • Knobby

    Walter.. I would and I don’t like doing this.
    Swap Sanchez for Fabregas and Willian if Chelsea really want Sanchez.
    Then with Fabregas we don’t need Ozil. Sell him we then have enough money for a top top striker as Merson would say.
    Just for conversation like…

  • Knobby, why not keep Sanchez and buy Cesc and Wiliam…

  • Knobby

    Because I don’t think Chelsea won’t deal with us after Cech, so we need a bait.

  • Tommo

    Walter, no idea why someone wasn’t sent off against Barca?

    Judging by the comments on that game last night, it sounded like the ref was a cheat and corrupt. If so, I’m surprised he never issued a red card if he had a chance to.

    Funny how the ref was slated from start to finish in that Barca game on every call, but you want to use him as an example of ‘good refereeing?’ Talk about tying yourself in knots

    Makes you wonder if he got that call wrong too?

  • OlegYch

    Tony, so Sanchez is a as good as his last half of a game, eh?
    the Mirror article seems like just another attempt to undermine Wenger

  • Menace

    Klis – The manager ensures that everyone in his charge works for the betterment of the company. If the manager is not able to do that then it is time to be replaced.

    The betterment of a football club is not only trophies but financial stability & growth. The trophies in football have become controlled assets of the associations. The EUFA trophies are policed by referees. The EPL & FA cup are policed by PGMOL. To win despite these policing organisations is extremely difficult. The corruption is easy to locate but not so easy to circumvent. When referees are appointed rather than elected, there is no sport.

    My opinion of Alexis is that he is a fantastic footballer but seems to have an agenda on the field currently to spoil the movement of the game. His passing & retention of the ball seem to have either deserted him or gone awry. He may be doing some of it on purpose, in which case I would instantly withdraw him from the squad. Wenger has his work cut out.

    As manager of Arsenal Football Club, Wenger has several areas of responsibility. The coaching is the one that most fans respond to & ignore all the others. When Arsenal have to face PGMOL on a regular basis with their select chief of staff Riley, what chance of a fair game of football? The answer is nil. The establishment across Europe has a vendetta against Wenger for the Marseille debacle in the European Cup.

  • Menace

    Just while we are on the subject of players with special needs – Thierry Henry was in a situation where his domestic life was uncomfortable. He was also regularly suffering from groin strain due to extra curricular activities. Wenger let him go for a paltry £16 million so that he could strain his groin in Spain (could be a line for someone poetic). These things are not easily realised but simple deduction my dear Watsons & you could have figured why one of our best was allowed to exit paradise.

  • Josif

    @Menace

    I always thought Arsene let Henry go because he had gone through awful 2006-07 campaign with number of injuries, high wage and 30 years on his back. We needed money and it was a reasonable decision as Adebayor and RvP were knocking on the door.