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Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has suggested Arsenal were better without star duo Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for Sunday’s away draw at rivals Chelsea.
The pair were absent from the starting line-up but the ex Reds defender feels it was a blessing in disguise for the Gunners.
Speaking about the game on Sky Sports, the retired defender cum TV pundit claimed their absence made the Gunners stronger.
“A proper, disciplined, away performance,” Carragher said reports Tribal Football.
“It’s about time. A big thing that we mentioned in midfield in the midfield, talking about Ramsey and Xhaka, but a big difference is there is no Ozil and no Alexis Sanchez.
“Yes, they’re maybe better they’re better than these two going forward, but these two in Iwobi and Welbeck have been so disciplined.
“They’ve done their job defensively as a tight midfield, stopping Chelsea going through the middle and forcing them wide to the wing-backs.”
Whilst there is plenty of argument to be made in support Carragher’s take on the subject, considering both players started for Arsenal’s heavy defeat at rivals Liverpool, there is also reason not to fully agree with the ex England international.
Ozil has never been and would never the most hardworking on the pitch, with the Gunners up against a strong combative midfield duo of Kante and Bakayoko, there was a need for the Gunners to match that with legs and power to avoid being bullied in the middle of the park.
On the other hand, Sanchez is a different animal entirely. The winger is always a nightmare for defenders in and out of possession due to his obvious ability and constant harrying of the opposition.
The player admittedly put in a dire performance last month at Anfield, it should however be noted that, firstly, it was the Chilean’s first game back from an injury having also missed much of preseason, secondly, he was a player seeking a move out of the club, with the game played during the window, total commitment from Sanchez was always too much to ask.
Alexis who typically matches his talent with hard work on the pitch would definitely have made the Gunners better had he been included from the start, the 28-year-old came off the bench and was responsible for harrying David Luiz into the dangerous tackle that got him sent off.
To completely agree with Carragher’s comments would be biased, While the Gunners can do with the hardwork and energy that Ozil can’t offer in such games, there is no denying that a fully fit and focused Sanchez is always a plus for the Gunners.