Whether you think Alexis Sanchez is world-class or not, zero question marks can be had over whether his hat-trick against West Ham was world-class; it was pure poetry in motion. Cheek, guile and aggression; unplayable.
The debate surrounding the Chilean’s position: can he play at No.9 on his own; is he wasted on the wing? Boring. In similar fashion to many at Barcelona, the 27-year-old was unable to consistently hold down a starting position, and therefore a clear conclusion of his talent seemed to be void from his ability.
However, the forward seems to be finding that identity as a player this season; that clinical edge which justifies Arsene Wenger’s decision for picking the former Barca man week in, week out as the main striker. Probably through default rather than to Sanchez credit; yeah, yeah, Lucas Perez scored a hat-trick in the Champions League, and Olivier Giroud has a ‘fantastic’ goals-to-game ratio, it doesn’t matter, neither of the pair will win you the title playing up top; Sanchez can, though.
And, it’s no surprise the Chilean has argued how he learnt his trade over in the Nou Camp through the best in the business. Training with the talents the Catalan club produces could even make Marouane Fellaini look half decent. Here’s how Sanchez learnt from the best…
“At Barcelona I learned how to play football all over again. From [Andre] Iniesta I learned how to accelerate, from Xavi how to move, from Leo [Messi] to think ahead, and from Pedro I learned how to shoot”
Although there is no questioning the comments around Messi and Pedro; with the Argentine’s 40:40 vision, and Pedro’s ability outside the box…
Así fue el GOLAZO de Pedro Rodríguez para empatar el partido ante el Tottenham en Stamford Bridge pic.twitter.com/wUECzTpkiT
— Shalom Sports (@Shalom_Sports) November 26, 2016
However, Iniesta’s acceleration?! Are we missing something here? The Spaniard’s no slouch, but a gasman?! No chance. And, Xavi, the pass maestro, the architect, but learning how to move through a bloke who covers less ground than Lucas Leiva; not so sure.
Anyway, regardless, the Chile forward is Arsenal’s main hope of winning a title this year, and learning a lot of his trade through the Spanish giants shows how Barca deserve credit in nurturing a quality, quality player.
Have a look at 9 of the Premier League’s best ever off-the-bench goalscorers…