Arsene Wenger has admitted that he was wrong about Alexis Sanchez’s ability as a forward, and that he should have had more patience when experimenting with him last season

Sanchez has been Arsenal’s best performer this season, and has been nothing short of a revelation in his new role. The Chilean international has already scored 13 times in just 20 games, including a hat-trick at West Ham United and braces against Hull, Sunderland and Bournemouth.

Sanchez has also picked up 7 assists already, highlighting his importance to Arsenal’s overall play in his new role as a centre-forward.

Wenger has previously tried playing Sanchez up front, but never with the consistency that he has picked the striker with in that role this season. And Wenger has now admitted that he was wrong to lose faith in Sanchez’s abilities as a central striker so quickly :

“He has developed very well as a centre forward because he has found a good mixture between coming short and going in behind,” Wenger said, according to the club’s official website.

“He has more freedom as well and he takes advantage of his short technique in the middle much more.”

“I always saw that in Alexis and I must honestly say that when I played him there last year or two years ago I was wrong. The times I tried him through the middle were not convincing and I even remember against Everton I changed it at half-time.”

“Sometimes when you have too many players you cannot attempt something which isn’t immediately conclusive because you’re under pressure. If it doesn’t work in one or two games and you have a top player on the bench, you’re tempted to change it very early.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at London Stadium on December 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Central to Arsenal’s success : Sanchez has thrived in his role as a Centre Forward this season (Photo courtesy Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Wenger was forced to play Sanchez up front after finding himself light in that department due to Giroud’s late return after the Euros and subsequent injury. Lucas Perez only joined the club on 27th August, but was injured soon after and has been in and out of the team because of his injury issues.

Their fitness issues have proven to be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal, with Sanchez proving to be one of the league’s most dangerous performers this season. Sanchez’s form has kept Arsenal at the top of the league, with his hat-trick and assist at West Ham allowing the Gunners to leapfrog both Manchester City and Liverpool to move up to second place, just 3 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

It is no surprise then that Arsenal are working tirelessly behind the scenes in order to secure both Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to new contracts, although progress on these negotiations have been slow and there is no news on how close the duo are to signing extensions.

Wenger has stated that the two are so important to the team that they will see out their current contracts, even if it means that Arsenal risk losing them for free in 2018.

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