Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil missed Arsenal’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea due to a lack of preparation and injury, Arsene Wenger revealed.
The two men, Arsenal’s leading protagonists over the past few seasons, remained in their club suits at Wembley stadium on Sunday, left out of the matchday squad.
The decision caused concern for some on the red side of Wembley, as Sanchez’s future remains uncertain despite Wenger insisting he will be an Arsenal player for the 2017-18 season.
He explained, however, that Sanchez and Ozil’s place on the sidelines was not a tactical decision. “Look, I left them all out because some are short of preparation, like Alexis Sanchez,” Wenger said.
“Some, like Mesut, got a kick on his ankle and [it] is swollen, [he] couldn’t play, couldn’t practice yesterday. Overall, we’ll see. He has a little chance to play Friday night, [Aaron] Ramsey has a chance to play, but I think he will be short as well because of a little calf problem.”
Mesut Ozil, left, and Alexis Sanchez, second right, at Wembley Stadium, London, August 6. Dan Istitene/Getty
Arsenal hosts Leicester City on Friday night in the opening game of the new season, with new options available to Wenger for his starting line-up.
Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac and French striker Alexandre Lacazette, the two new summer signings at Arsenal, featured at Wembley, the former scoring the equalizing goal after coming off the bench.
“He had a very interesting performance last week and I had an hesitation to play him from the start,” Wenger said of Kolasinac. “I thought Wembley, with the pressure [might be too much for him], but when he came on I thought he was outstanding.”
Although unable to open his scoring account for Arsenal, Lacazette hit the post in the first half and caused problems for Chelsea’s back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta. Wenger insists the Frenchman is showing the potential that saw him part with £46.5 million (about $61 million).
“Lacazette is stronger every week and I believe today is the first time you see physically he’s ready,” he said. “He still needs to adapt to the physical intensity of the game but in the first half he had very interesting moments and I believe what we have seen today will become stronger and stronger.”
Source: Tom Roddy| Newsweek