Arsene Wenger has a lot to answer for after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Many an eyebrow was raised when he opted to drop Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal’s record signing – to the bench for a mammoth contest against a top-four rival.
Lacazette duly intensified those question marks when he scored within 10 minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute.
But what will irk Arsenal fanseven more – as Ian Wright suggested on BBC Radio 5 live after the game – is Wenger’s decision to play Alexis Sanchez instead.
Sanchez pushed all summer for a move away from the club and was supposedly on the brink of a move to Sunday’s opponents City on Deadline Day before the plug was pulled.
I’m not denying the Chilean is a professional but he’s made no attempts to disguise his disdain at still being at the Emirates during his performances.
Sulky, disinterested and generally below par, Sanchez’s head has been turned and there’s no going back.
So what kind of message does that send to both Lacazette and the rest of the Arsenal players?
Wenger has now set a dangerous precedent.
Sanchez is far from the ideal role model to the likes of Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles but continues to start every game by virtue of being Alexis Sanchez.
Not only does his attitude stink – his performances are hardly deserving of a regular starting role.
Lacazette hasn’t set the world alight since his move from Lyon in the summer but he offered more in 10 minutes as Arsenal’s main striker than Sanchez did in the proceeding 45.
It took all of Wenger’s bargaining power to convince the French striker to snub a number of Europe’s heavyweights in the summer.
He now needs to start restoring his faith in Lacazette before he creates even more disillusionment within the squad.