Thierry Henry insists that perhaps Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger needs to be a bit more careful with how he manages Alexis Sanchez.
Before match against Norwich, Arsenal legend Henry was speaking about the importance of keeping your players fresh throughout the season and said he thought Arsene Wenger would take Sanchez off when the Gunners were leading by 3-0 against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.
The Chilean star has featured in 1,107 minutes in the Premier League this term, more than any other attacker from a Champions League side and also played regularly for his national side in their World Cup qualification campaign.
Yet Arsenal boss chose to start Sanchez on Sunday’s league clash only to see him pulled off with another hamstring injury after an hour mark.
“He plays for Chile, travels 14 hours there and back and plays every game,” Henry was clearly concerned about the Chile international’s fitness when talking to Super Sunday.
“Even when the game is won sometimes he will still go and put some pressure on teams and that’s why I mentioned it at the beginning of the game.
“I’m not a coach and I don’t know how it is. I don’t know the pressure of the players. I know I was a pain in the neck when you would take me out in the game.
“I thought, at the time, the game was won against Dinamo Zagreb. He scored, he had a good game and he didn’t get injured. With 20 minutes to go, take him out.
“But I’m not a coach. I don’t know how the guy would have taken that in the dressing room. At the end of the day it’s your decision.”
After the Norwich match, Arsene Wenger also revealed that Laurent Koscielny, who was substituted before the break, and Santi Cazorla had also sustained injuries.
However, before Sunday’s match Alexis Sanchez insisted he was fit enough to play full 90 minutes and Thierry Henry admitted he has full sympathy for Wenger because right now he has a tough situation in hand.
“I can feel for Arsene in a way,” he further said. “You are playing for the title and you come here [to Norwich] and you need to win.
“Obviously if you ask Alexis Sanchez if he is OK, he is going to say yes. If a guy says no then he might as well leave the club. You are there to play.
“But I think you almost don’t have to ask him anything if you want to rest him. You need to go out and say nothing or, ‘I’m resting you today and that’s the way it is’.
“Again, I personally wouldn’t have liked that when I was a player, but you take it on the chin and see the bigger picture because you want to be out there and play the whole season. Yes, it was difficult to rest him today because you want to win, but I go back to the Zagreb game. With 20 minutes to go at 3-0, you can give him a little rest.
“Obviously I would like to think the 14 hours travelling, playing away with Chile for the World Cup in South America, doesn’t help.
“Now we can all say the same thing. If he played today and he scored he would have said, ‘I was right to play him’, but he got an injury so we are obviously going to say he should have rested him.”
Arsenal’s league title dream suffered a double-blow yesterday after a draw with Norwich was compounded by Sanchez’s hamstring injury.
The Gunners had the chance to move level on points with Premier League’s joint leaders Manchester City and Leicester but they were held to an unexpected 1-1 draw against the home side.