Why Alexis Sanchez is Pivotal to Arsenal Success

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in action during The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Lincoln City at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)
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No fight, no quality, no hope. The first half without Alexis Sanchez against Liverpool just over a week ago was a damning foreshadowing into what life may be like without the cherished Chilean. It was gutless, insipid and deeply worrying as Gunners fans were left to contemplate just how their season may have fared had Sanchez not been a part of it at all.

Why Alexis Sanchez is Pivotal to Arsenal Success

Arsene Wenger tried to put Sanchez’s axing down to tactics, but it seemed obvious that the drop was personal. Reports swiftly arrived of rifts within the Arsenal camp between Sanchez, his team-mates and the manager.

It seems Sanchez has a refusal to settle for the mediocrity that Wenger has shrouded over Arsenal in the past decade. The wide-forward is a man who wants to win at all costs and he was no doubt humiliated at his team’s humbling in the UEFA Champions League. Sanchez carries the mentality many think Wenger should carry; if he cannot win the major trophies at the Emirates he will look elsewhere. And these types of frustrations appeared earlier in the season as well.

The Sanchez perspective

Olivier Giroud was ecstatic when he equalised against Bournemouth. It was as if he had just scored the goal to win Arsenal a Premier League title. In reality, he had won the Gunners a point at a ground where many would have said three was the minimum requirement.

Sanchez, by contrast, was pictured looking less than happy. He was aware that this was two points dropped and was not prepared to wear the facade of achievement at coming back from three goals down. Yet he appeared the only player to take on this view. Based on body language, the rest were far more content to mask this failure as a victory.

Extra dimension

Sanchez is an elite player with a difference. He’s not just a mercurial talent; he has powerful grit and heart. Like a kid in the playground, he wants to chase down every ball and this is a refreshing quality.

Compared with Eden Hazard, technically they’re almost impossible to separate. What is the real differential is the far superior work-rate of the Chilean. It means even when he’s not at his best, he is still pressing, probing incessantly and trying to force mistakes out of the opposition.

Overriding influence

Squawka gives Sanchez an overall score of 1078, which is the highest rating of any Arsenal player. With 17 Premier League goals scored and nine assists from 64 chances created, Sanchez has been a massive creative force behind attacking positivity this season.

Underestimating his influence on the team could see severely negative impacts moving forward for Arsene Wenger’s side.

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