Questions were asked of Alexis Sánchez, after a relatively slow start to the 2015/16 campaign.
Taking everything into account, it was a harsh assessment of a player who missed their pre-season preparations after his exploits with Chile at the Copa América.
Against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup, once introduced, Alexis looked lively, full of energy, and unpredictable in attack – a joy to watch. Away at Leicester, he scored his first hat-trick of his Arsenal career. All three of his goals were well-taken, and plenty of critics began suggesting, perhaps the electrifying Chilean is back after all?
Manchester United started slowly today. They were comprehensively punished as a result, and Sánchez was unsurprisingly at the forefront of this. Scoring the opener, he was cheeky but also subtle. His movement was excellent to pinpoint his run in the box – and latching onto Mesut’s low ball, he still had a lot to do with his back to goal.
But, it’s Alexis. Nothing fazes him. With his back to David de Gea, his backflick nestled into the bottom corner and sent the home supporters into raptures.
He wasn’t finished there, either. Just a minute later, his audacious skill chop fell into the path of Ozil – whose one-two with Walcott was clinically finished off seconds afterwards.
Working hard for the side throughout until he was withdrawn with ten minutes to play, he’d shown his desire to get forward at speed – which was reiterated in the build-up to completing his brace.
With shades of his piledriver against Liverpool last term, he went on a marauding run towards the box, and despite getting his feet caught up initially, he maintained enough composure to fire home on the edge of the area with de Gea’s sprawling dive in vain.
3-0 and cruising, Sánchez was eager not to rest on his laurels. Defensively, he was always chasing after the ball, applying pressure to United as they tried to create chances of note for all the possession they had.
As he came off, he was given a standing ovation from the home supporters. Deservedly the Man of the Match, he’s quite simply the driving force behind the Gunners attack. Sublime to watch, as usual.
With the impending international break on the horizon, it’s come at the wrong time from an Arsenal perspective. Alexis back firing on all cylinders, a morale-boosting victory after their disappointing defeat during midweek, what more could you ask for? No players to get injured, I suppose.