I must say that up until Arsenal went to Southampton for the Boxing day game, it was looking as though we would not pay the penalty that we had all feared after losing thge Chile international star Alexis Sanchez to a hamstring injury in the final game of November.
Having lost Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin as well around the same time, Arsenal looked in big trouble but thanks to the form of players like Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, the Gunners were having a very decent December indeed. We might have been making hard work of it but were getting the right results.
However, the signs were there against Man City as we should have wrapped the game up but were instead hanging on at the end and it was more relief than joy at the final whistle. The energy and ability of Alexis would certainly have helped and his industry and desire was even more lacking at St. Mary’s.
We cannot know for sure, of course, but I have to think that he would have at least matched the work of the Saints’ players and he tends to inspire his Arsenal team mates into more effort as well. Would their right back Martina have been so far forward in acres of space for his opener if he had Alexis to worry about?
Arsenal should expect a similar efforty from Bournemouth so will the Arsenal players be able to match it this time or will the injury to Sanchez really start to hurt?