To put it gently, Alexis Sanchez has had a difficult season with Arsenal. While he's still pumping in goals at a rampant rate and performing well when called upon, he's often cut a frustrated figure with the Gunners. Arsenal currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League, their fate to qualify for next season's Champions League out of their hands. The performances the Gunners have put forth haven't been up to snuff in Sanchez's opinion, and he revealed why he's been prone to on-pitch outbursts in an interview with Sky Sports.
"Because sometimes when I look at the team we have and the players here... because when it comes to winning the Premier League we often lose or draw against teams at home when we are superior.
"Sometimes the frustration more than anything is about the fact we could be challenging for the Premier League title."
Sanchez also questioned the mental makeup of his teammates in the interview.
"I've always said we have great players here, it's just about having the mentality of being a great player and going out on to the pitch already thinking about winning," he said.
With his contract due to run out at the end of next season, concerns about his Arsenal future are only growing. Here's a look back at some of the more public incidents Sanchez and Arsenal have been through this season:
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Wenger laughs off mega-money contract for Alexis
One of the key obstacles Arsenal face in getting Sanchez to ink a new contract comes down to money. As rumors circulated about Sanchez signing a record-breaking £300k-per-week contract, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger couldn't help but laugh in April.
After joking with reporters about the astronomical sum, Wenger offered a more measured answer. "First of all, I cannot confirm that we have offered that. Secondly, we will do as always, you know, we have to consider our financial potential to sustain the wages for the whole squad."
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The march-off at Bournemouth
When Arsenal rallied from a three-goal deficit to earn a draw in January, all eyes were on Sanchez after the match. To suggest the forward looked unhappy would be putting it lightly. He was seen arguing with teammates and eventually threw his gloves off on the pitch before storming down the tunnel at the end of the 3-3.
The draw at the Vitality didn't doom Arsenal's title hopes — it was still just January at that point — but it severely damaged them at best. Sanchez's outburst drew immediate media attention and his embattled manager immediately went into damage-control mode. After the match, Wenger went on to say, "What is surprising there? You want to win the games and when you don’t win, you are unhappy - it is normal," via the Evening Standard.
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Wenger drops Sanchez against Liverpool
Arsenal 3-1 loss against Liverpool at the beginning of March pushed the Gunners outside to top four for the first time since September. In true danger of finishing outside of the Champions League qualification spots, the decision to bench Sanchez in the crucial tie raised a number of eyebrows. A number of reports suggested Wenger dropped the Chilean after a training-ground spat.
Wenger denied there were any issues, and Sanchez posted an interesting picture on Instagram. The caption read: "The true warrior fights not because he hates the ones in front of him, but because he loves those behind him. Let'(s) go Gunners. The only failure is not trying."
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Despite the ups and downs, Sanchez and Arsenal are still just a point outside of Champions League qualification. A recent resurgence has them at least within striking distance, although they still need help to make next season's big dance. It's conceivable that this late surge from the team actually just serves to prove Sanchez's point. If Arsenal had fought this hard in the previous months, they wouldn't be clinging to life but rather pulsing with it.
"That's what we've done in the last three games," Sanchez told Sky Sports. "We had the mentality to win at all costs and we won and we won well."
Arsenal also have the FA Cup final to look forward to, but Sanchez isn't sold on the idea that winning the trophy would deem the season a success. It's clear what Sanchez is looking for (aside from a fat pay check) ... trophies. Are Arsenal the team to deliver those on a consistent basis, or is it time for him to go elsewhere? It doesn't take a fortune-teller to see which direction the signs are pointing.
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