Belfast Telegraph

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Wenger: Contract situation doesn’t change Gunners’ trust in Sanchez

Crystal Palace 2 Arsenal 3

By Graham Luney

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists there has been no dressing room fall-out with Alexis Sanchez.

The Chile international, whose future is set to come under renewed speculation ahead of the impending January transfer window, scored twice as the Gunners beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park last night.

It gave Wenger a win in his record-equalling match as a Premier League manager but he was faced with questions over Arsenal’s players showing an apparent lack of desire to celebrate Sanchez’s goals.

Wenger, though, went into familiar mode when asked whether there was any fracture in the camp.

“No, not at all. I did not see that,” he said.

“I am not fearful (of a bid coming in), but that is a subject that will turn up because of his contract situation.

“I have said that many times since the start of the season so I can only repeat what I have said.”

Wenger celebrated his 468th win of 810 league games at the Gunners and it came after nervy finish when James Tomkins scored late on for Palace.

Sanchez’s double had made it an easy looking evening for Arsenal after Andros Townsend had initially cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi’s opener.

“It was convincing, the second half was more difficult than the first because we didn’t take advantage of the chances we created,” Wenger added. “When you come here it’s a difficult game for everybody — to go home with the three points you need to suffer a little bit, and we did that tonight.”

Midfielder Jack Wilshere again impressed and is hopeful of tying up a new deal of his own in the near future.

“I spoke to the boss and he said he will speak to me so we’ll see when he speaks to me, I am sure it will be done,” he said.

On his improving form, he added: “It’s difficult to say, I was happy with my form last year, I’m probably better now, I feel better, I feel fitter, I’m getting better each game and I am enjoying my football.

“Another game, another three points. I am happy.”

Defeat for Palace sees their impressive eight-game unbeaten run end.

Boss Roy Hodgson said: “At 1-1, I thought we were playing well at that point and we were on the front foot, but the second goal was so difficult, to go down 2-1 was a difficult task.

“But you have to give the players credit, at 3-1 a lot of teams would have capitulated but we certainly didn’t do that.

“Our second goal was a scant reward for the chances we had in the second half, but we were beaten by the better team on the day.”

Palace: Speroni, Kelly (Fosu-Mensah, 80 mins), Tomkins, Dann, Schlupp, Townsend, Cabaye (McArthur, 53 mins), Milivojevic, Loftus-Cheek (Sako, 70 mins), Zaha, Benteke.

Unused subs: Van Aanholt, Hennessey, Puncheon, Riedewald.

Arsenal: Cech, Chambers, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka (Maitland-Niles, 78 mins), Wilshere, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette (Coquelin, 75 mins). Unused subs: Ospina, Walcott, Holding, Iwobi, Welbeck.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez

Match rating: 8/10

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