Alexis Sanchez played the full 90 minutes of Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium, with Arsene Wenger claiming a “break makes him tired”.
Sanchez was magnificent as the Gunners kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League knockout phase for a 16th consecutive season, plundering two goals after Mesut Ozil had struck the opener.
With the club’s marquee players firing against outclassed Dinamo, Arsenal head to Athens on December 9 knowing a 3-2 victory or better over Olympiacos will be enough to see them advance from Group F behind Bayern Munich.
The Gunners led 3-0 with 21 minutes remaining, and when asked why Sanchez was not substituted, Wenger said: “Because a break makes him tired.
“I would have loved to have done it in this game, but when you’re 3-0 ahead you’re not in a position where you need him to work back.
“We put him central up front where he could spare some energy. It’s not like the flank where he has to go up and down. I tried to compromise a little bit, rest him a little bit.
“Olivier Giroud had a little problem on his ankle over the weekend so I decided to give him a little breather.
“I took Hector Bellerin off because he had a groin problem just before. Then of course I couldn’t take Sanchez off. We now have five days to recover anyway.
“I don’t know how important Alexis is percentage-wise, he’s just a very important player.”