The Frenchman believes the Chilean’s natural physicality and quick recovery rate means he will be able to maintain his impressive form until May.
LONDON — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there is no reason why Alexis Sanchez can’t keep up his high energy levels all season despite the heavy workload he has placed on him so far in 2014-15.
The Chile forward has played 36 matches for club and country since August, 34 of which have been starts, and at the beginning of December Wenger admitted he considered him “in the red zone” physically.
“Sanchez is in the red zone, you can see when he plays, but he can dig deep,” the Frenchman said. “Unfortunately, you never know how far you can push it.
“We are not scientific enough to predict that completely, but he recovers very quickly.”
But Alexis has gone on to play all six of Arsenal’s games during the busy Christmas period since being rested for the Champions League trip to Galatasaray and was brought off in those fixtures only twice – in the 87th and 84th minute.
Once again, the 26-year-old was at his superb best in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Hull City, setting up the first goal before scoring the second himself, and Wenger is confident he will not tire.
“I was tempted [to rest him] but [Olivier] Giroud was suspended today and I knew it was an important game for us,” the Gunners boss told reporters after the FA Cup third-round tie. “In the end, he feels always ready. Can he keep that energy level up all season? I hope so. There’s no reason [he can’t] – you’re always told that when a player’s confident, [you should] keep him playing.
“When players are confident it’s important to keep them going, especially when they have that physical potential. He recovers very quickly and doesn’t look in our tests to have any fatigue problems.”
Last season, Arsenal relied heavily on marquee signing Mesut Ozil during the first half of the season before the German’s form dipped dramatically in February. He then suffered a muscle injury in March.
In the Premier League alone, Alexis has played four more games and 278 more minutes than Ozil had on this date in 2013-14.
Ozil is expected to step up his return from a knee injury this month, with Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, Serge Gnabry, Yaya Sanogo and Jack Wilshere also currently sidelined.