So, he’s finally back. After a magnificent season with Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez met up with his Chilean teammates to partake in the Confederations Cup. After falling to Germany in the finals, and an extended break being provided for his excursions, he is finally training back at the London Colney. His return to full fitness is desperately needed as Arsenal, quite frankly, have looked embarrassing throughout the first 3 games of the season.
Despite not having the captain’s armband around his arm when he walks on the pitch, make no mistake about it, he is the clear leader and focal point of the team. His tenacity and fervour spread throughout the team to the other players and he drives them on to be the best version of themselves that they can. When the team is in trouble, the players look to Sanchez for the inspiration to bring them through that difficult time and lead them to the promised land of the victory.
After becoming only the 5th man to score more than 20 or more goals in a season in Arsenal history (24) and also chipping in with 10 assists, arguing that Sanchez isn’t the best player on this team would be preposterous. In seasons past, Wenger may have thrown Alexis in the line up in prior matches hoping that he can inspire the team to victory, however, with his importance to this current team heightened, Wenger has ensured that is fully fit before restoring him to the line up.
Additionally, throughout the course of the crazy transfer window, numerous rumours have been heard that Alexis would be on his way out of the club. In years past, Arsenal have been accurately described as a feeder club. Providing assets to title challengers while our supposed assault on the title wilts before it gains any momentum leaving our fan base scratching our heads and asking the same questions year in and year out. However, Wenger has remained resilient in his stance that Alexis is not for sale and this proved to be true after numerous bids from Man City, with the highest bid topping £60M, were continuously rebuffed and this only further highlights the necessity for Sanchez to be in the team. Wenger, a man who has gained a reputation for financial frugality has accepted the fact that he may well not get a return on his £35M investment, all for the sake of formulating a genuine assault on the Premier League, but he knows that this is only possible with his best player and the emotional leader of the squad.
After a shaky start to the season in the first two games where two late goals were needed to beat Leicester and a tepid attacking display against Stoke lead to a disappointing loss to Stoke, we made the trip to Anfield. Liverpool completely dismantled and humiliated Arsenal in a humbling 4-0 defeat. Sanchez started this game but was a shell of the player that we are accustomed to seeing. The fight and desire didn’t seem to be there and he looked extremely frustrated at his current situation. But, the transfer window has now closed and Sanchez has to come to terms that he most likely will be at the club until the end of the season and needs to show his best form for potential suitors next season. Judging by his recent Instagram post, he understands this concept and his caption stated, ‘FOCUS’ is needed for this upcoming season.
We as fans have been clamouring for the return of Sanchez of last season because we know what he brings to the team, and the impact he has throughout the squad. At a time where players are being protected and rested, Alexis is the opposite. Playing in all 38 games last season and only appearing as a substitute in two of those games demonstrate his commitment to the game. Additionally, surely the potential link up play between Ozil, Lacazette and Alexis should leave any fan drooling at the mouth and is something the Arsenal fans have been clamouring for since the signing of Lacazette was announced.
What is clear is that Sanchez is needed for our team to perform the best that it possibly can. His talent and skillset are near irreplaceable and there is no doubt whatsoever, that with Sanchez on song and playing his best football, good things are sure to come.
Written by @_TimPD