The build-up to Arsenal’s weekend game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park was around the impending return of Alexis Sanchez to the Gunners’ starting line-up. The Chilean was given extra time to get himself fit after his exertions in Copa America, but he was very quickly thrown into the action.
When Arsene Wenger was asked early this week about the return of Sanchez, he described the Chile superstar as ‘a hyperactive guy’. Traditionally this is not a term that is used in a positive context. But, with all due regards to Wenger, he meant it to speak more endearingly about the electrifying forward.
And the match suited Sanchez to the ‘T’. The whole match was engrossing with end-to-end action and the tempo was up every moment of the game. If you end up thinking that these adjectives describe Sanchez, you would not be blamed.
Sanchez was a revelation for the club last season with 25 goals and 12 assists in 52 club matches. He looked out of sorts towards the end of the season but that was more because of the fatigue as Wenger would eventually point out.
The break looks certainly invigorating for the forward who looked his electrifying self in the game. Mesut Ozil was the designated ‘best player’ for the game but his link-up with Sanchez should have been the candidate hands-down.
Sanchez started the game rampaging down the left wing but he was practically there in the centre, the right and in fact, everywhere on the pitch. The pace of the game also suited Sanchez because he reveled in the fast pace that Alan Pardew’s men brought to the fore.
The second goal which proved to be the winning one for Arsenal was credited as an own goal but Sanchez had a hand (or rather head) in that. The cross from Hector Bellerin spotted Sanchez at the back post and Sanchez towered above all the tall Palace defenders.
Eventually, Sanchez was hauled off the pitch by Wenger with 15 minutes left in the game. Wenger needs to ease him into first-team action and also the fact that he wanted to protect his lead. Wenger will only hope that this is the first of many things from Sanchez for the season. The supporters will only pray that it all ends up in a title.
The fact is that if Alexis plays like this when he’s only half-prepared, what will he be like at full throttle!