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Wenger: I’m not punishing Alexis

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The boss says his selections of the Chilean are fitness driven, not motivated by any hostility.

Arsenal v Doncaster Rovers - Carabao Cup Third Round
The Alexis Sánchez saga continues.
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

In his press conference today, Arsene Wenger was asked about his recent deployment of Alexis Sánchez and if playing him in the Carabao Cup and Europa League was punishment or retribution for the transfer drama.

The boss denied any “disguised attitude” toward the Chilean, saying that he’s just trying to get Alexis back to fitness. He reminded the media that Alexis came back late from the summer break and then picked up an injury, slowing his return even more.

I believe Wenger. Alexis still looks to be finding his form. Sure, he scored a brilliant goal against Köln, but he is still overhitting routine passes. It also does no good to alienate Alexis. Whatever you may think of the transfer drama, he is at the club at least through the January window. Arsenal need him engaged and at his best, not sulking and disinterested.

As a side note, Wenger offered a bit more clarity on his rotation policy with Arsenal’s attacking players. He said that “the three that don’t play [on the weekend] will play midweek, no matter the competition.”

With Welbeck out and Alexis playing midweek, it will be interesting to see if/how Wenger deploys the Chilean against West Brom on Monday. My bet - he starts.