Following Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez has come in for a lot of criticism, with some suggesting he should be dropped. But, is Alexis really out of form?
This season, Alexis has been accused of playing for himself, and not the badge. That may be a fair comment for some players, but Alexis has played for himself. He’s always lost the ball on a regular basis, and he’s always aired his frustrations at his teammates on the pitch, with Aaron Ramsey regularly finding himself on the receiving end of one of his tantrums.
These criticisms are all fair, however the key point people overlook is the fact Alexis Sanchez is a match winner. He’s a genuine world class talent and he steps up for Arsenal when he’s most needed.
Those saying he’s out of form seem to have a short memory. He has scored three in his last four after all, including an ice cool last minute penalty against Burnley and the all-important second goal in the North London derby. These performances led to the fans and media raving about the Arsenal front three, and how the partnership of Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette could see the club really push on this year. That talent is still there, one bad performance does not change that.
Goal scorers and creative players needed to take risks, and Sanchez’s stats show he loses the ball on average just slightly more than Kevin de Bruyne and Christian Erickson. And, what do all three have in common? They make things happen in the final third. This is the most congested area of the pitch, and one slack pass or holding on to the ball a second too long will result in you being surrounded by defenders and bullied off the ball.
This adventurous creativity and ball greedy approach is in Alexis’ make up as a footballer. At 28, he’s not going to change that. And, although he may not be hitting the same heights as last season, the best season of his career, Alexis is still one of Arsenal’s best players. The people questioning his selection need to ask themselves who they’d rather see play in his place?
Wenger seems intent on not using Lacazette and Giroud together, while Theo Walcott looks a long way off a Premier League recall. Alex Iwobi is slated every time he plays, and Reiss Nelson is just youthful talent at the minute.
Dropping Sanchez would be counter intuitive for Arsenal. He’s one of the best players in the squad and Arsene Wenger needs to get as much out of him as possible, before his likely January exit.