All eyes have understandably been on Alexis Sanchez over the last few weeks after a turbulent summer of transfer speculation surrounding the Arsenal forward.
The Chile international made clear during this period that he wished to leave the club and join his former Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, at Manchester City.
Having arrived back in London late for pre-season training due to international commitments, along with the drama of his failed deadline day move, Sanchez has looked a little undercooked at times in his three starts and two substitutes appearances so far this season in the Premier League.
However, after his performance in Arsenal’s comfortable 2-0 home victory over Brighton at the weekend, it’s safe to say the talented front man is back to his best. Sanchez buzzed around the Emirates on Sunday; full of invention and irrepressible energy. His beautiful back-heeled assist for Iwobi’s game clinching second goal was sublime and the only genuinely world class piece of play that the match had to offer.
Sunday’s performance well and truly dispelled any notion that Sanchez’s form would be effected by his stated desire to explore pastures new. In fact, there never really should have been any doubts. Anybody who has watched the Chilean play over his three seasons in the Premier League will agree that this is a player who is a winner and plays the game with a warrior-like spirit.
It is these very qualities that are both the reason why Arsenal fans; (A) had little doubt that he would continue to put everything in to his performances for as long as he remains at the club and (B) don’t really begrudge his wish to leave due to the club’s repeated failure to get anywhere near challenging in the Premier League or Champions League over the last few seasons.
Although there have been rumours of several members of the Gunners’ dressing room becoming increasingly disillusioned with Sanchez’s behaviour, make no mistake, he is Arsenal’s talisman on the pitch. When he plays well, the team invariably play well. It’s that simple.
There can be little doubt that this will be Sanchez’s last season at the Emirates, his contract is due to expire next June but Arsene Wenger will at least be hopeful that he can keep Sanchez out of the clutches of the likes of Man City, Real Madrid and PSG in January.
If Arsenal can continue to show the type of defensive resolve they showed in their recent draw against Chelsea and Sanchez can maintain top form, there is a more than a decent chance that they will regain their top four staus come the end of the season and the talented Chilean can leave North London with his head held high.
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