Alexis of course scored the first goal of the game, whilst also playing a perfectly waited ball over to Mesut Ozil for Arsenal’s third. Like he has done on so many occasions before, Alexis Sanchez has shown how much of an influential player he is on the ball and his skill, ability, confidence and determination to win, is exactly what has made him a great success at Arsenal. In fact after scoring 47 goals in 100 appearances for the Gunners, one goal behind the legendary Thierry Henry, Alexis has in fact been likened to Henry, with many suggesting that the Gunners may have finally found a player of similar calibre to replace the striker spot left by the Frenchman all those years ago.
The comparisons have continued today, with former Gunner Martin Keown speaking about the similarities of Henry and Alexis. The former defender said: “This fella is the icing on the cake, I haven’t seen anyone of this quality for years, since [Thierry] Henry. You just cannot take risks with him here, he picks his pocket [Gary Cahill] absolute quality.
“You can’t get tight to him. Cahill, David Luiz didn’t know how to cope with him. And it gives Arsenal that extra little bit of something.
“The Arsenal faithful have finally got a player that can make a difference. It takes a lot of things to be champions. But you need a player at the top of the team that he rest can believe in.”
First things first in that it’s true that Arsenal do have a player who they can believe in and the rest of the team can follow onto success. In fact through the likes of Ozil, Cech and perhaps even a little from Mustafi and Koscielny, Arsenal have plenty of players who are proven at a top top level and they can be the base for our success over the coming years.
I personally don’t take the approach so far however, to suggest that Alexis is the next Henry, because although their scoring statistics may be very similar, there are plenty of off the ball factors that do not make Alexis Sanchez the next Thierry Henry for Arsenal. Firstly is age, the fact that Henry achieved what he did in his eight seasons at Arsenal, at a younger age than Alexis. Henry was in fact arguably a bit of a ‘failure’ at his previous club before Arsenal and he developed into a world class player in North London at a relatively young age. Alexis Sanchez however is 27 now and was already a world renowned talent before he joined the Gunners.
Alexis also for me can have his periods of inconsistency and although he spent a lot of last season out injured, upon his return to the side, it did take some time for the Chilean international to settle and regain his form. For Thierry Henry on the other hand, the man was always on form and scored countless goals with ease.
There’s no suggestions in this to suggest that Alexis Sanchez isn’t a world class player for Arsenal, but to compare him to Henry and potentially name him as the next Thierry Henry, in my opinion may be the fans getting just a little ahead of themselves again. But on current form, surely Wenger must keep Alexis as centre-forward while he is scoring in every game?