As Arsenal shape up for a title challenge this term, manager Arsene Wenger has told Alexis Sanchez he is not a “special case” and he will decide when to substitute him in games.
Sanchez, 27, looked particularly unimpressed at being replaced in the recent wins over Swansea and Ludogorets.
However, Wenger said the medical staff test “the fatigue level of everyone” and he decided Sanchez needed careful handling after playing two recent World Cup qualifiers in South America, Mirror writes.
“For me he is not a special case. He is a player like everybody else. When I decide to take him off, I take him off,” Wenger said.
“There is no special case. He has his own character but he is not treated differently from everybody else.
“They all recognise it after the game but during the game they want to stay on the pitch. You want to play even when you are tired.
“I rested Sanchez because he played two games in South America. Sometimes I rest him straight away after. I played him the other day against Swansea so I thought I would take him off when it is possible. We consider every case individually.”
The Chilean star missed two months last season after aggravating a hamstring injury, and he took a while getting back to his usual level.
He has operated as a centre-forward in Olivier Giroud’s absence this season with a return of six goals and five assists, but Wenger doesn’t see a problem playing him alongside the Frenchman.
“I see him (Sanchez) there (as centre-forward),” Wenger said. “He has a short technique and can always create something. He has a good mixture between scoring and giving the final ball.
“Giroud and Sanchez are completely different, but they can as well play together. I have to move Alexis out as I always have that problem with Mesut Ozil being behind the striker, he cannot move much deeper.
“As much deeper you need defensively to work. So one will have to move wide. And if you move one of them wide, it can only be Alexis.
“It is a good option to have. To leave quality players out is tough. But the toughest thing is not to have quality players.”
Arsenal will hope to return to winning ways when they travel to the Stadium of Light to take on bottom club Sunderland in the lunchtime kickoff.