Alexis Sanchez: Thoughts on his Impact at Arsenal this Season
Sometimes you just need that extra piece of the jigsaw puzzle, that get-out-of-jail-free card, that top top quality that can give you the edge when the chips are down, that footballer that can drag himself teammates to do better. In a team like Arsenal, such a demand is no different. Down the years, such players marauded Highbury and a couple more became heroes at the Emirates. The trend isn’t going to stop, not today, not ever.
This season, many heroes have emerged in various positions, and their collective improvement has made Arsenal a better team to watch and savor. The results on the pitch have been superb as well. Following the convincing 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday, Arsenal had notched up eight consecutive victories at home – a feat they’d not achieved in a decade.
As expected, it has been down to a collective team effort but some players have obviously shined more than others. Take a good look on the situation between the sticks for Arsenal. Since Wojciech Szczesny’s rise to glory in 2010, he has seen off the challenges of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and more recently, Lukasz Fabianski. It was expected for that bullishness and some complacency to creep in, especially when the new goalie, David Ospina, was struggling for fitness. Following his shocking performance in St. Mary’s on New Year’s Day, Ospina has replaced him in the Premier League and the Colombian’s record reads – P9 W8 L1 GC 5 CS 5 (GC: Goals Conceded, CS: Clean Sheets).
Going further up the pitch, Nacho Monreal’s recent form has seen a first-team regular like Kieran Gibbs struggle to get into the team and on the other flank, Calum Chambers hasn’t convinced people enough to show that he would be Matt Debuchy’s deputy because of a certain Hector Bellerin. In holding midfield, Francis Coquelin has been phenomenal and even though Mathieu Flamini has been injured in recent weeks, there’s no way, he’d get the nod to protect the back line when the Coq is fit.
This season, Arsenal surprised everyone by signing Alexis Sanchez from FC Barcelona, a player that had come on the end of a career-best 21 goals in La Liga and he followed it up with a good performance for Chile in the World Cup. His first goal for the club turned out to be his most important, as he scored the goal that gave the Gunners their Champions League qualifying berth.
Since then, it has been one hell of a roller coaster ride with one of the most motivated footballers I’ve ever seen in the beautiful game.
We live in a football world that is governed by stats, so took some time to focus on Alexis Sanchez’ contributions to the team, starting with the Premier League. The Gunners have played 29 league games this season, scoring 56 goals (averaging almost 2 goals per game) and conceded 30 goals. In these fixtures, the Gunners have won 17 games, drawn six and lost six as well. The chart below shows Alexis contributions to the team in the Premier League.
The Chilean has missed only three Premier League games this season (the victories Aston Villa (home and away) and the loss to Tottenham) which shows how important Sanchez is to the team. In fact, only Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker have started more league games than the Chilean. Alexis has also featured heavily in other competitions which has taken his overall appearance tally this season to 40.
Bringing it closer in terms goals scored, the chart below shows Alexis goalscoring contributions to the team.
The table above shows that Alexis has scored 23% of Arsenal’s goals in the Premier League this season. Olivier Giroud has 19% (11 goals), Santi Cazorla has 12.5% (seven goals) while the remainder has been shared between Danny Welbeck (four goals), Aaron Ramsey (four goals), Laurent Koscielny (three goals), Mesut Ozil (three goals) and the other folks that have scored just one goal in the competition (Matt Debuchy, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, the Ox, Mathieu Flamini, Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin).
This season Alexis has scored has first league goal in the draw against Leicester and followed it up with a wonder goal against Manchester City at the Emirates. A few weeks later, he had a six-goal blitz in four games with goals against Hull, Sunderland, Burnley and Swansea. This was followed with a last-gasp goal against Southampton which was a game remembered for Fraser Forster’s heroics in goal. After scoring QPR, Alexis bagged a brace against Stoke before going on a drought that was finally ended in the victory over QPR. His goalscoring exploits hasn’t been limited to the league alone, as he has smashed in a couple in the cup competitions.
With the Gunners still in the FA Cup as well as that intense battle for European qualification, the fans will be counting on him to come up with the goods.
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