‘He has similar qualities to Suarez’

Alexis and his team-mates

 Read on for extra quotes from Arsene Wenger ahead of the Leicester City game as he discusses Alexis and his forward options:

on whether Alexis can play in long-term as central striker…
I think so, yes. I think it is worth it to try as he has the quality to go behind. Honestly he did not have the most convincing game [against Liverpool] - he is one of them who is not completely ready physically. We did not dominate the game as much as we would have liked in midfield and he suffered a little bit from that as well. But on the flanks he uses a lot of energy by chasing back and I would like to use his energy sometimes a bit more efficiently by going behind the defenders as he is a good finisher. He has played centre forward at Barcelona.

on whether he reminds him of Luis Suarez…
He has similar qualities and he has a good timing to run behind the defenders. His run through in the first half [against Liverpool], when Monreal gave him the ball, he was just offside, by a fraction. Let’s see. It is interesting to see how well he copes there. He is technically top.

on managing him carefully after two Copa Americas…
With him it is difficult to be careful. Last year sometimes I overplayed him a little bit and he is always looking to stay on the pitch. Maybe I will have to rest him a bit more, yes.

on the ankle injury he picked up with Chile…
When he came back he was struggling a little bit. But he had a good rest, I gave him five weeks. But it takes him a bit longer because of that maybe too, as he could not work and when he came back he was not completely ready to be 100 per cent. This week he was already sharper in training.

on whether he needs to sign another forward to help Alexis…
I believe a club like ours is focused on giving chances to the players we develop in our own club. We have a few strikers who have a chance, if we find the right players we buy. But if you ask people 'give me names', you see that it is not that easy - look at a club like Real Madrid, who have they bought? Up front, it is very difficult.

on other options up front…
It is an important season for Theo, because last year he had a difficult period. He can play as a striker and his numbers are excellent when he plays up front, we have Giroud, Alexis, Walcott, Akpom and Sanogo who is still here but is injured at the moment - the players we buy have to be better. Alexis and Walcott have pace, our game is linked with the speed of passing and the speed of movement and you need two."


More quizzes coming soon!

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