Sanchez is exceptional; but can he lead the way for Arsenal? by SE
Alexis Sanchez, though he is still coming to terms with the pace and intensity of the Premier League, has been by far Arsenal’s best player this season. He has lived up to expectations of being a hard worker, a team man and, more importantly, has been a positive influence on the North Londoners. If there was one game that didn’t go well for the Chilean, it was the clash against Everton when Sanchez played as Arsenal’s No.9, ahead of Giroud, and mustered an insipid display. Otherwise, he has slowly but steadily exhibited his wide repertoire of being a classic dribbler (the way he setup Welbeck’s goal against Hull), clinical finisher (the way he volleyed in Wilshere’s cross in the game against Man City), and in always trying to help the team out defensively. With plenty more to come from Sanchez, can the Chilean rescue Arsenal out of this big, big trouble?
Firstly, and most importantly, you are looking at someone who has been with the same club for a long time, to show the way and lead by example. Some of the perfect examples (leaders) are John Terry, Javier Mascherano, Vincent Kompany, Mats Hummels and Philip Lahm — who are defenders and boast a commanding presence within their teams. But, when you look at Arsenal, the Gunners are simply devoid of a leader who can carry them through, and dictate their team’s performances. Mertesacker, albeit a very experienced player in Arsenal’s ranks, just doesn’t seem to be the man who commands his teammates, and be a positive influence on them, when things aren’t quite clicking.
Sanchez, for the kind of form he is in and the number of marquee players Arsenal are missing, would do the Gunners a world of good if he, in addition to his good performances, can rally the Wilsheres, Ramseys, Cazorlas and Welbecks around him, and bring about some sort of cohesion into Arsenal’s game. In the most recent Premier League clash against Hull City, Sanchez’s intentions were translucent. Starting as the Right-Winger, Sanchez started playing more centrally, as Arsenal went in search of a 2nd goal. It’s not rocket science for someone to drop deep, and take a position in the middle of the park; but the intent and awareness on the part of Sanchez, was greatly important in Arsenal securing a point when the final whistle was blown.
Albeit circumstances will be massively different when you play different teams, Sanchez, Arsenal’s best player so far, has to be the figure to rescue the Gunners out of this rut. With colossal expectations to live up to, Sanchez has to assume leadership, and be the orchestrator who not only plays his part in the game, but can also be a key influence in getting the best out of others. Arsenal would be hoping that Sanchez can play the role he did against Hull City, and in that process, his good form can rub onto those around him.