Arsene Wenger has called on Alexis Sanchez to deliver on the pitch and silence those Arsenal fans who jeered him during the 3-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth.
Sanchez came close to a deadline day move to Manchester City, only to see Arsenal pull out of the deal after they failed to land Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as his replacement.
The Chile forward is out of contract at the end of the season and can walk away from the Emirates Stadium for free.
Wenger had insisted all summer that he would rather allow that scenario than sell the former Barcelona man, although that stance appears to have softened towards the end of the window.
Sanchez was named on the bench against Bournemouth as Danny Welbeck hit a brace and Alexandre Lacazette also netted to get Arsenal’s season back on track after successive defeats before the international break.
Welbeck struck on six minutes on Saturday and wrapped up the points with a smart finish either side of Lacazette well-taken strike.
Sanchez was introduced for Welbeck in the closing stages to a mixed reaction, with a number of supporters jeering his name – presumably upset with his apparent desire to leave for City.
“We have to accept those responses from people,” Wenger said when asked about the negative reaction from some quarters.
“I don’t know why (there were jeers). The best way to get people on your side is to perform.
“I had a chat with him after the game and he didn’t look unhappy. Maybe it’s because he wanted to score.
“The interpretation of the attitudes is always very dangerous.”
Next up for Arsenal is their opening Europa League fixture against Bundesliga outfit Cologne.
Wenger is likely to make a raft of changes, especially given a trip to reigning champions Chelsea follows on Sunday.
– Wasteful –
And the Frenchman admits Jack Wilshere could make his long-awaited return to the Arsenal first-team for Thursday’s game.
“I told you in the pre-match press conference that he’s getting stronger and stronger,” Wenger said.
“The fact that Francis (Coquelin) is now out gives him a chance as well. I don’t know yet. He’s not far from that.”
Eddie Howe has now seen his Bournemouth side lose their opening four Premier League games of the campaign.
The Cherries remain without a point but Howe insists he does not intend to change his approach in the coming weeks in an attempt to get off the mark.
“Parking the bus is not our way,” he said. “It will never be our way but if we are going to play the way we want we have to do it better.
“I don’t think losing the early goal helped, it was a poor goal to concede.
“We were a bit passive, too reactive. On the ball we were negative, wasteful and slow and that is not like us.”
Howe had been full of praise for his players as they lost 2-1 to Manchester City before the international break.
Only a stoppage-time winner from Raheem Sterling prevented Bournemouth from taking a share of the spoils from Pep Guardiola’s men but the loss here was a different matter.
“It is very, very disappointing from our perspective,” added Howe. “It was a poor performance from start to finish.
“We hit the post and at 2-1 it would have been very much game on, but not only did we not score with that moment we conceded moments later which effectively ended the game.”