Alexis Sánchez the substitute symbolises Arsenal’s decade of sorry stagnation | Jonat

Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson's Articles (Bot)
Aug 1, 2010
The Chilean, dropped for the crunch fixture against Liverpool, threatens to be the latest in long line of false dawns at the EmiratesThe same again, but this time with more angst. Arsenal lost again away from home to a top-six side and again looked flat and brittle. The difference this season is that there are six sides with genuine hopes of taking the four Champions League qualification berths and, worse, that the future of Arsenal’s two most expensive signings, the players on whose presence fans have built their dreams of progress, looks increasingly uncertain.
How big a loss Mesut Özil would be is debatable, so much so that it is not immediately clear which other European club who could afford him would want him, but Alexis Sánchez is another matter. Each when signed seem to hint at a new economic reality when Arsenal, the bulk of the debt on the stadium paid off, could compete in the transfer market. Neither started on Saturday. Özil’s absence with flu had been anticipated; Sánchez’s relegation to the bench had not. There was no fitness reason for the Chilean being left out of the starting lineup: he was dropped. Given Arsenal’s next game is the surely fruitless attempt to overhaul a 5-1 first-leg deficit against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, it cannot be claimed that he was rested.
Related: Liverpool bounce back into form with spirited victory over listless Arsenal
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