Arsene Wenger has warned the Arsenal fans not to expect too much from Alexis Sanchez when he makes his first team return next week as expected.
Two games in and it seems there is crisis at Arsenal, following their 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
The Gunners suffered their first defeat of the season in their second game at the Bet365 Stadium, prompting for renewed calls for manager Arsene Wenger to step down, despite only signing a two-year contract earlier in the summer.
The game also saw Mesut Ozil come for serious criticism for his below-par display, while Alexis Sanchez didn’t play. And both players have uncertain futures at the club, as their contracts run out at the end of the season.
The loss to Stoke has now made keeping Sanchez all the more important, despite running the risk of losing him for free next summer, even though the Chilean would prefer to move now.
Sanchez scored 24 league goals last season but is yet to play in this campaign after suffering a muscle strain, which sources insist is a legitimate injury. He is expected to return at Anfield on Sunday but Wenger has warned supporters not to expect instant miracles.
“We’ll see how he goes through the week. He has not played for a long time,” he said.
“He was out with a muscular strain and hopefully he will survive the tests first before he comes back. He’s not played now for six weeks and it’s difficult to be at your best in the first game straight away.”
This defeat at Wenger’s least favourite venue exposed all those familiar problems, with Arsenal’s three-man defence appearing brittle. Ozil performed one of those infuriating disappearing acts, which probably underlined why he is still at the Emirates Stadium, while Stoke pressed Arsenal into panic.
Wenger could point to a number of controversial refereeing decisions, including a disallowed goal for Alexandre Lacazette and two unsuccessful penalty appeals, but always seems on the edge of a crisis. Supporters are continuing to question the wisdom of that new contract.
“Let’s not go overboard. We lost one game. I can understand that, but overall I believe there were a lot of positives in the game as well because we created many chances,” he said.