Redknapp: This horror move was just like Newcastle all over again
By Alex Stevens
Jamie Redknapp has claimed that Arsenal’s demotion of Alexis Sanchez reminded him of Newcastle axing Alan Shearer 18 years ago.
Ruud Gullit stunned Newcastle fans in 1999 when he axed then star man Shearer from the starting XI for a Tyne-Wear derby.
The Dutchman quit as manager three days after the 2-1 defeat and Redknapp claimed in his Mail column on Monday that Arsene Wenger’s shock decision to axe Sanchez could also sound the death knell for his time at Emirates Stadium.
The Chilean forward has been Arsenal’s outstanding player this season and would undoubtedly have been considered the dangerman by Liverpool ahead Saturday’s Premier League encounter.
But Sanchez was on the bench as Wenger preferred Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck in his starting XI.
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Liverpool were already 2-0 up when Sanchez was introduced into the action at half-time and, although he set up Welbeck for a superbly taken goal, the home side went on win 3-1 with a dominant display.
“Dropping Alexis Sanchez for the trip to Anfield was Arsene Wenger’s Ruud Gullit moment,” Redknapp told the Mail.
“Ruud left Alan Shearer on the bench for a Tyne-Wear derby in 1999 and it proved to be his downfall — he resigned three days after the 2-1 defeat.
“When things start to go wrong managers can get desperate. Andre Villas-Boas left out Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien for a Champions League first leg against Napoli and in his last full season, Brendan Rodgers did not pick Steven Gerrard for a trip to the Bernabeu.
“Wenger will point to the fact that Sanchez has scored just twice in his 12 away matches against Arsenal’s top-six rivals and assisted only two goals.
“But when you make the big call to leave out your best player for such an important match you have to win. Arsenal played into Liverpool’s hands on Saturday and Wenger could live to regret his decision.”
Arsenal ended the weekend outside of the Champions League positions and now face a battle to secure a top-four finish in an extremely competitive fight among the leading six clubs.
In other Newcastle transfer news, Mike Ashley is plotting a sensational £30million bid.