David Hynter of the Guardian reported yesterday that Alexis Sanchez was the eye of a dressing room row. Reportedly, Alexis was called out for his attitude by Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny and video taken during the game showed Koscielny refusing to move after Alexis scored Arsenal’s third goal.
The video was taken by Akhil Vyas, an away supporter who I have personally met and follow on Twitter.
— Akhil Vyas (@10akhil) December 28, 2017
Akhil is an honest Arsenal supporter who was not trying to stir up controversy with his post and in follow up posts says that he often sees Koscielny holding back on celebrations and has for about a year. Akhil is one of the Arsenal supporters who almost always goes to away games and sees what happens off camera.
Arsenal photographer Stuart MacFarlane posted a photo of the two shaking hands after the celebrations.
— Stuart MacFarlane (@Stuart_PhotoAFC) December 29, 2017
Whether Koscielny was holding back because he’s mad at Alexis or because he’s got an achilles heel problem (which is well documented) is unknown.
What is incredible, however, is the number of times Alexis Sanchez has been at the heart of a dressing room bust up, story.
In 2015 he was reportedly involved in fisticuffs with Chile teammate Marcelo Diaz. The row was supposedly over Alexis taking a free kick away from Diaz. Alexis publicly played down the magnitude of the brawl, saying that words were simply exchanged.
In September 2016, during a 4-1 win over Hull City in which Alexis scored a brace, Alexis took the penalty away from Cazorla and missed. According to Theo Walcott there were angry words exchanged in the dressing room.
Arsenal won the next match 3-0, over Chelsea. Alexis scored and provided an assist for the third in a Man of the Match performance.
In February 2017, after Alexis scored the only goal in a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich, Alexis did his William Gallas/Thinker impression in the middle of a game. There were reports of a dressing room bust up which were vehemently denied by Arsene Wenger. Alexis was given time off to go answer tax fraud charges in Barcelona and posted something on Instagram saying that “I simply work hard and with dedication to be here today and smile at life.”
Alexis was dropped for the next two matches and was noticeably left on the bench against Liverpool. Arsenal lost 3-1 after a first half onslaught and Wenger was forced to put Alexis on at half time. Alexis provided an assist for the consolation goal.
And earlier this season, after the 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool the press reported that Petr Cech blasted teammates for their work rate and dedication. There were also reports that Alexis handed in a transfer request. Arsenal did try to sell Alexis but pulled out of the deal when they failed to land Lemar.
Alexis was benched for the next game against Bournemouth and was subbed on in the 75th minute after Arsenal already had the game won 3-0.
And now there were reports of a bust up with teammates after Arsenal’s Thanksgiving weekend win over Burnley. Hynter says teammates told Alexis to give them kisses, not kicks.
Alexis put in a man of the match performance, scoring twice and setting up teammates with excellent passes from all over the pitch.
Whether there is a row between teammates or not, we know for certain that Alexis is often the center of a good old fashioned teammate bust up story. Hopefully, Arsenal will sell him in January and replace him with a player who just plays football. Or not. Maybe we can just have bust ups all season and it will motivate Alexis to put in good performances. Or maybe it doesn’t. He seems to have good ones sometimes and not-so-good ones at other times.
Maybe none of this matters.