Arsene Already has a Replacement for Alexis Sanchez – In fact, he has Two

Our game against Man City left us with many thoughts about the team and players, as well as our tactics and other choices the manager made. During a game like this we need the big players to stand up and lead the rest. There is no doubt that Alexis tried his best to do this, but his passes were well below par time and again, and the longer the game went on the less involved he became.

Alexis’ stats for last season were great, and if you mainly watch him perform for us on Match of the Day you will simply love him. I believe it was a big mistake to play the out of form Iwobi in Alexis’ position last Sunday and to leave the unknown to MC, but already deadly for us this season, Lacazette, on the bench. Wenger made another change by moving Alexis into the CF position, and it just did not pay off. The Chilean firecracker worked hard to get involved and hold onto the ball so others could find space around and behind the MC defence to spring an (counter) attack; but Iwobi and Ozil are not lethal attackers and Alexis was not able to pass to them accurately anyway. Alexis is a naturally predatory, selfish player with limited passing qualities (even though ever so often he produces a world class one), and this showed once again against the league-leaders.

And it is this lack of passing accuracy that makes me believe that Alexis will not get a new contract and will be either sold in two months time or allowed to run out his contract. Lacazette is the one who can score the goals Alexis scored for us last season, so Wenger will now move for a better, all-round, wing player, if you ask me. He could do this in January, and the rumours re Wilfred Zaha are interesting, but he could easily wait till the summer, as to find a quality/long-term addition to the team.


It looks like Iwobi will be the player to replace the Chilean in the mid to long term. Alex is not having the best of seasons but that was to be expected. Young players go through dips, but Iwobi has so much quality that he will get out of these relatively quickly again. His passing is great and his football intelligence is extraordinary for such a young player. The only thing missing is a constant goal-threat, as too many opportunities go begging. It will come.

The player ready to replace Alexis on a permanent basis is of course Danny Welbeck. For this we have to hope he will stay fit for longer periods now he is reaching the most important years of his football career. I have no doubt that if Welbeck can stay fit Wenger will not look anywhere else for an Alexis replacement. He also knows he can play Iwobi as a replacement if need be. However, Welbeck’s fitness issues will need to be closely monitored, and if he does not stay fit for most of the remainder of the season, Wenger will (have to) go for a quality replacement in the summer.

A front-line of Welbeck/Iwobi and Lacazette, supported by Ozil, looks like the future to me. There would be plenty of movement, running, passing and energy between them and they could develop into a deadline threesome within no time. For this we would need to sign up Mesut but that is for another post.

Alternatively, I reckon Lacazette could play from the left as a Winger/supporting CF, with either Giroud or Welbeck, or even Theo, as his partner. So there are plenty of post-Alexis options even without buying this January (which always seems to be hard). Maybe it is time to start gradually weaning ourselves of Alexis and start building towards a front-line of Welbeck/Iwobi – Lacazette. Both Giroud and (to a lesser extent) Walcott can play an important role too this season. And there are a few young players who could break into the first team, given a chance.

I reckon Alexis will still play an important role this season (to get us back into the top four), but I must admit I feel he is holding ‘our game’ back and look forward to playing without him going forward.

By TotalArsenal.


32 thoughts on “Arsene Already has a Replacement for Alexis Sanchez – In fact, he has Two

  • I would exchange Sanchez in a second for Smalling and Shaw…no cash either way. Then Ozil for Draxler…….instant success with a balanced squad of players who actually want to play for AFC.

  • Please don’t mention Theo when talking about the future of Arsenal. Theo has been stealing a living for 10 years and the sooner he goes to Luton/Derby/Fulham the better.

  • 17,
    I hope you feel better after dropping the Blacks/bananas, Catholic priest molesters, comments. So in a way, you can ascribe it to me. Tarring someone as racist always a good tactic. Even funnier when there’s not even a hint of it.
    People here dont deserve to be involved in the type of political debate we would have. I’m on the right and love debating opposing views, and finding common ground is the best feeling in the world, because everyone just refuses to move an inch from their staked side. There is no hope for discourse lately, because people shout down even the slightest opposing views. It seems that’s the way you are too. You appoint yourself arbiter of not only right and wrong, but also peoples motivations.

    Even with all the differences we have, i cant help but respect your Arsenal opinions, it’s still good stuff, even when we disagree on the club. But you are a tiny bit oversensitive and judgemental, in general life, it seems.

  • T, sorry to say, but every week that passes, the hope of Alexis, or Ozil having much effect on Arsenals quest for success THIS season, seems less and less likely. I had hoped you were right, but the seasons a quarter through, and i dont know what disruption it will cause in january.

    So I’m still of the view that the braintrust left us in a mess, and i wish it had been resolved very early last summer.

  • Hey T A many thanks for finding my spam post. I must admit I thought that it had flown off into cyberspac. I know I should copy them, but it just doesn’t enter my brain as I work myself into a storm of opinions.

    Great post which deserves comments. Unfortunately I personally don’t think, either Iwobi or Welbeck is the answer to our problems. Both are good players but not top quality in my book. Maybe Iwobi can go and and make, let’s hope so. As for Danny ( another player who performs better for country than club). It worries me when we use that well known phrase ‘if he can stay fit’
    I am also getting a little concerned about Lacazette. Not because of his quality, but the fact that ( I am probably wrong here). I don’t think he has completed a full ninety minutes yet? He strikes me as a player who doesn’t like being substituted or being messed around with as happened at the City game. He doesn’t look like a happy bunny to me

  • Interesting post Total, I guess if all depends on when Alexis leaves or not?

    If the Lemar deal had gone through then Alexis would be tearing it up in sky blue right now, so that would suppose that either Arsene didn’t see an internal solution at that time, or he was anxious about the crowds reaction and felt Lemar would placate the more agitated wing of the Emirates crowd?

    Is Lemar a possibility in January?
    Not for me, but I can see Alexis leaving if Man City make a reasonable bid or that often far-fetched swap deal with Draxler becomes a possibility, moving Alexis to France would certainly be more palatable and acceptable especially if we got someone in exchange.

  • Hi all..
    Hi TA.. Nice post.

    I think we need to change the formation..
    We did it last season.. but a bit too late..
    We change from 4-3-3 to 3-4-3.. to gave our defenders more room to move..

    Now we were used to 3 CB and 2 WB team..
    But we still lack our balance.. the others 5 players must be switch roles..
    As I said before in last post comment, we might be more dangerous in 3-5-2 scheme.

    Two Striker Will be Sanchez and Lacazette off course.. and I wish Sanchez one step behind Lacazette on the left.. or as second striker..
    Xhaka playing a bit deeper in the centre of our midfied and Ramsey – Ozil as our double AM.

    Yes it will look like something new again.. but this time we try to put the Players on the best position according to their best performance on their nation teams.

    I hope someone Will agree with me.. hehehehe..

  • I like Danny Welbeck and he is probably the closest internal solution to replacing Alexis that we currently have at the club, he is also popular with the crowd so would be favourable from a political prospective, not that I’d advise Wenger to say so publicly.
    Can Danny replicate Alexis’ goalscoring? Up to a point but he’ll never be as prolific.
    What about fitness? Alexis is like the Duracell bunny, he never stops, Danny alternately has caught the injury prone bug in recent years, hopefully it’s now at an end for him, but we’ll know more about that as this season proceeds.
    Danny can be as influential to the team as Alexis even if he isn’t as eye catching, so I don’t see much difference there, Danny puts in a good shift in other words.

  • Hi HenryC

    I don’t think that in his entire time as Arsenal manager that Arsene has ever started a match with two strikers, although he’s ended many a game with 3 or 4 on the pitch when chasing a game. 😉

    Arsene, imo, is quite a conservative manager, he sticks to what he knows, what has worked for him in the past, that’s why it was a major shift for him to go to 3 at the back last season.
    I honestly can’t see him changing anytime soon.

  • Hi TA great write up, we need some quality in the team, a physical defensive midfielder in wanyama who we can get from our rivals spurs as he is available just like we did when arsene went for sol ‘mr muscle ‘, as for Alexis he should leave our club…he doesn’t feel like playing for the shirt any more, let him go

  • Total, I don’t see Iwobi as a replacement for Alexis, chalk n cheese springs to mind mate, well certainly not in the long term.
    I thought that Alex would really push on this season, but it’s still not happening for him at a consistent enough level yet although I think it will.
    He’s still only 21, has 68 apps and 7gls in the tank so I guess he’s still in his probationary period.
    I see him more in the Ozil mould eventually although that situation is very much in flux with Ozil’s future with us in doubt and what will happen with Wilshere either way?

    Great to see Eddie Ntekiah hitting 4 goals in 2 games for England U19’s.

  • Hi TA, Cheers for putting up a new post and I agree with several parts of it. Others not so much…

    Count me in the group that doesn’t like Alexis as our #9. Also, I noted that quite quickly in the ManCity match he started positioning himself out to the left anyhow. City was on the ball most of the match (as we played on the counter) so maybe Alexis felt he could get back and onto the ball in that space where he can then use his outstanding burst of pace to move the ball forward and/or to the right and into the center of the pitch. To me, Lacazette, Giroud and even Theo seem more disciplined for central positioning when given the role.

    It’s that burst of pace, getting around his marker and giving himself nearly perfect set ups with his own right-footed touches that gives Alexis his world class ability to make his own shot, which, is very (very) good as we know from the set-piece and open play goals he’s curled so often into the far top corner of the net. Frankly, while Iwobi and DW are less selfish with their positioning and their passing and run hard to make both things happen, they are a far cry from Alexis in terms of being able to do anywhere near as much on their own. It’s OK by me as I prefer the team game and believe a well-schooled team–playing unselfishly–can beat a group of great individual players. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I think we’d be better positioned to play evenly with City if Alexis had gone their way. He’d be a great addition to their group in romping over most teams but those selfish tendencies, I believe, hurt the team effort against the better teams–which at our best, Arsenal can be. As much as I would have liked him gone, A-kev is absolutely right that, politically (or optics-wise) losing him without spending big for somebody (anybody…), even if that player wasn’t a direct replacement, was absolutely necessary. Let’s hope that he (and Ozil) can come around and find a way to help us back into the top 4, ideally playing as much of a team game as possible, before he (or they) leave. Doing it by way of that sort of team play would make replacing him (them) with internal solutions much easier. Still I think we’ll have to replace via the market, however, for both on the pitch and political purposes…

    Finally, though I’d like to drop it as well, jnyc (from the last thread), you’ve just about completely misinterpreted what I was saying. In no way am I calling you a racist. I’m just trying to point out that it’s not very hard–esp. for a smart guy who writes very well–to avoid insensitive language that can hurt people by reinforcing stereotypes. For me, esp. when I’m around my mom and aunt, the Jewish stuff grates, as would those things I mentioned about Blacks and Catholics, I’m pretty sure. I probably am over-sensitive, but, like in my hoops game, it seemed important and not very hard to avoid possibly offending language even if the folks involved were using it amongst themselves. I still felt very much part of the group. In fact, that basketball game (and those guys–and maybe the much better food, of all varieties) is probably what I miss most about moving up to the mountains. Luckily, it’s only 3 hours away and I’ll be spending more and more time down that way in the future, I’m pretty sure. Enough of the personal stuff (unless, you need the last word, of course…) and maybe we can even get back to our ongoing debate about the management and how it spends its money… For everybody else, I’m definitely sorry to have hogged the last thread with it…

  • Kev, I’m with retsub, I dont see Iwobi, and certainly not Welbeck as possibly taking over for Alexis. I actually see more potential in Nelson or even Ntekiah, but further away time wise.
    To replace a dynamic scorer, hard worker like Alexis ( though not a perfect all around player) with guys who haven’t shown similar abilities would be a disappointment, and a big step down.
    Sanchez is a wild card on the pitch. A guy who can make something happen, score a goal from nothing, out of nowhere, without the perfect buildup that we’re famous for. That’s one reason i was so thrilled when we bought him. I thought we needed those attributes, instead of another walk it into the net type player.

    Welbeck has always been a guy with tremendous physical gifts, size, pace. Also extremely hard worker trained by Fergie, and a good kid too. He should be better at holdup play and bodying people off the ball for his body type…. also, he is wasteful in scoring…. not good for a striker or forward. Maybe wasteful is too kind, because he seems pretty clumsy at the point of pulling the trigger on a shot. We all know it’s true.
    All of that being said, how could he ever replace a killer scorer like Alexis. That’s why i said a big step down. Honestly, most people in the world would be a step down. So, we’re in a tough spot. We are in a league where we need to get better to compete, not weaker.

    I won’t go into the options, because those are just dreams for now. But for me, Iwobi is a good player for secondary competitions, not lighting up the premier league with pretty good playing opportunities so far. Welbeck, is a fantastic option off the bench for many situations. To bring on a hard worker in midfield late, to protect a lead, rest an attacker after an hour or so, add size on set pieces (attacking and defending). Also has the pace to counter attack against a team thats desperately trying to equalize.

    So I’m positive that Welbeck can contribute, but not replace a superstar.

  • I see your point Jonnie and tbh I wasn’t comparing like for like as Alexis isn’t an easy player to replace like for like, but when he leaves, be it in January or July, we’re gonna have to do something to replace him as best we can and as it stands a fit Welbeck is probably the best option.

    I’m not expecting anything this January and I’m not holding out for too much in the summer, for two reasons, the first being that Arsene has not really done what’s necessary in the summer transfer market since David Dein got the boot so I can’t that changing anytime soon and the second reason being that Arsene is likely to promote our youngsters instead of spending mega bucks in any case.

    In a way I’d be quite happy to see the youngsters given their heads, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the kids coming through the academy/Combination.

  • As for Nelson and Ntekiah, we’ve awhile to wait for them to develop enough to be regulars, although I can see Reiss taking over on the right flank in the next 18 months, that’s why I can’t see any truth in the Zaha rumour.

    Can Maitland-Niles and/or Willock establish themselves in midfield, because that’s going to be more difficult for them as midfield is so competitive.
    Arsene will encourage them I’m sure and he’ll also have an eye on the Aaron Ramsey contract situation as the Welshman is out of contract in the summer of 2019 so we’ve got all that to look forward to…
    Therefore AMN might have an avenue into the first team by then if he continues to work hard?

  • Kev, Welbeck as the answer has to be disappointing in respect to Arsenal quality. Reiss Nelson and Ntekiah seem to me to be the most exciting prospects to come through in a long while. So I hope they can be worked into the lineup as soon as possible. Wenger hasn’t been too shy to try youngsters in the past.

  • Good comments guys and thank you for chipping in!

    I think Wenger has bought Lacazette to be the 25+ goal machine and he wants better alround players around him to play better football. Iwobi is that long term for me and Welbeck can do it right now in the supporting striker role. Once Alexis is gone I reckon we will do better up front. I would expect Wenger to get a new player though, both for squad depth and PR reasons!!!

  • If I was Pep I might reconsider buying Alexis. Of course he is a great player, but City are on fire at the moment and why change a winning team? I don’t know what’s the stats are but Alexis loses the ball a lot, but compensated with a great finishing rate. I am not sure Pep will like that approach and his players even less.

    Just a thought.

  • Retsub, I have been thinking the same thing about man city, even when they were trying to buy Sanchez. I thought they were overloaded with talented attacking players, and now the way they’re going, even more so. With Sane, Jesus, and Sterling playing well. How much would Alexis play? And could he be happy as a part timer? It could be more of a headache for Pep and ruin the current chemistry.

  • Have a place in my heart for irrepressible athletes like Alexis.
    Guys who never stop hustling– that earn their minutes– no matter the sport.
    A trait you don’t generally see in players who are considered at/near ‘the best’.
    Usually overachievers– who fill roles making others more effective.

    That’s the catch for me with Alexis.

    It’s rare for him to make his teammates more effective.
    He scores goals and provides a fair number of assists. What he does, he does well. When he’s doing it– well or not? The rest of the team — is usually just that. Waiting to see the result of whatever AS tries next– and if something can be made of it. Making his teammates job more difficult actually.

    In August, I agreed with the stance that it was in the club’s interest to keep him– money-be-damned. Now, in November, I don’t see the fit anymore. Have a gut hunch he won’t be as productive now, Not convinced Arsenal can play effectively with him on the pitch.

    Chile’s WC qualifying exit looms large here IMO.

    Hope he changes my mind by January.
    Love to be wrong.


  • Retsub, it could be Rodney Marsh all over again or Asprila at Newcastle if Alexis moves to the Etihad this January, but although there’s a lot of chatter on the rubbish click-bait sites, which is normal for them, I suspect that we’ve got Alexis and Mesut for the duration of this season, unless there’s a politically sensitive fee available from any suitors…

    Jonnie the only way I could see City going for Alexis this January is if there’s a strong feeling in their camp that he could be lured to PSG in the summer.

  • Yes Kev, agreed on everything. I just fear that their impact will diminish by the week, or just become a disruption, not purposefully, but the rumours and resentment of leaving for virtually nothing, and then possibly going to competitors in the premier league.

    If it were my call, I would have tried everything to get Psg to take him at the beginning of last summer. Even if it included a player in return to satisfy them.

  • Jync, I am guessing he needed to show he is his own man, after it appeared Wenger was trying to influence him with the comments made about Jack, right before Southgate released his list for the friendlies. Either that or he wants to show he means business when he said he will only pick Jack if he’s played himself into the Arsenal first team for league games. Which also lacks merit since he’s selected a number of players who don’t get as much game time as Jack has even had playing in the Europa league and domestic cups.

    Hi guys. Nice to see that the comments have been coming, as always.

  • I remember Wengers comment. But to take it out on the player is really unfair. Also shows he is no judge of talent. He’s being pig-headed and omitting Englands best midfielder. Arsene should call him very privately and apologize, as well as get some starts for Jack. This week would be perfect.

  • Yep Eris, I make you right about Southgate, it’s a bit of a macho thing, because Jack would have been perfect for us against the Brazilians, by us I mean England, sorry. 😉

    Welbeck was throwing himself into training so it seems that he could be in contention for this NLD?
    Mustafi is borderline for Saturday, therefore it all depends on Kozzer and his achilles I guess.

    Jonnie, I just want Jack to sign a new deal, if he doesn’t go to Russia then that’s good for Arsenal, I’d actually like to see him start against the Spuds this weekend.

  • Jync, it was just a guess, really. He won’t get away with it for much longer as all of England awaits the inclusion of Jack in the Three Lions side to Russia. It is only injury that will prevent Jack going to the WC. He is badly needed by that team, as it stands.

    Kev, the NLD may be too soon for Welbeck and Mustafi, certainly not for 90minutes. If fit, I would have liked to see him against the spuds. Happy that Alexis has been training with the rest of the team without call ups during the FIFA window. He should be up for the derby.

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