Analysing Alexis Sanchez's impressive two-goal display against Bournemouth
Arsenal were given a real test by Bournemouth in Sunday’s match and the two-goal lead flattered them. Although they are close to the leading pack, this Arsenal side has yet to announce themselves as title contenders, with many issues still to be resolved. The main ones being their transition phases and the out-of-form Mesut Ozil. They won’t be able to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, unless they resolve these two issues. That said, they recorded a crucial win over Bournemouth to remain in touch with the leading pack with Alexis Sanchez scoring two goals.
The influence of one player can sometimes be overrated, but Alexis Sanchez is certainly carrying his side at this current time. He is delivering elite performances on a weekly basis and showing why he is considered as one of the best players in the Premier League. The Chilean has won the Copa America twice in the last two years and he will now be aiming for success at domestic level. It is very important that Arsenal begin to challenge for major honours over the next 18 months, or they will risk losing one of the best players to have ever played for the club.
On Sunday, he was the match-winner as he scored two of Arsenal’s three goals. His role has changed this season as he has been played as a striker. It took the 27-year-old time to adjust to his new position, but in recent weeks he has been sublime. There were doubts about his fitness after suffering a knock while with Chile, but based on his performance against Bournemouth he is fully fit and eager to help his side to a successful season. He was part of everything that was good about Arsenal’s performance and was easily the best player on the pitch.
Although his two goals were different, they both showed why he is considered one of the best in the Premier League. The first showed his excellent awareness as he pounced on a Bournemouth mistake before firing past Adam Federici. He is one of the best finishers in the business, but it was his reading of the game that made the goal happen. The second displayed his intelligent movement as he found space in the Bournemouth penalty area, providing Olivier Giroud with the simple task of passing the ball to him. His razor-sharp instincts in the final third are crucial for him to make his own chances and considering Arsenal’s problems in midfield, that is required at the moment.
Sanchez is very hard working and he never stops running for his side. His promotion ahead of Olivier Giroud in the striking ranks has had a positive effect on Arsenal’s play off-the-ball. The Chilean is a much better presser than Giroud and he forces defenders into mistakes high up the pitch. That was evident for the first goal as his presence led to Steve Cook misplacing his pass. This has added an extra dimension to Arsenal’s play and although they aren’t a pressing side, it is useful to have an attacker who is able to reclaim the ball high up the pitch.
It was a display of the highest quality and he was arguably the difference between the two sides with his movement and clinical finishing. Arsenal aren’t at the level to compete with the top three just yet, but Sanchez is keeping them in touching distance which gives the Gunners an outside challenging for the title. The difference between Arsenal and Tottenham right now is that Arsene Wenger’s side have a word class player performing at elite level and he is winning them points on his own.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Stuart MacFarlane