As Arsenal won the FA Community Shield against Chelsea, all eyes were on Alexis Sanchez. His wave towards Arsenal fans was seen more along the lines of a ‘goodbye’ than a celebratory one. As the players passed the shield around, Sanchez refused to hoist it towards the Arsenal fans, fueling speculations of him leaving Arsenal.
Sanchez has been Arsenal’s most influential player ever since his signing for the Londoners in 2014. His attitude, work-rate and winning mentality helped propel Arsenal to two FA Cups. Almost all of Arsene’s tactics were built around the Chilean.
One of his standout traits is his winning mentality. In a club like Arsenal, that has really failed to make a mark in the Premier League for quite some time, Sanchez was the driving factor for their pursuit of the league title. But as has always been the case with the Gunners; what starts off as a promise, fades into oblivion.
Signing huge players is sure to send a statement to your rivals, but your ability to hold onto the players speaks a lot about your desire to mount a serious title challenge.
Being Alexis Sanchez, should you stay at Arsenal, or leave for greener pastures?
Arsenal are famed for their fluid, attacking and entertaining football. Alexis Sanchez was box-office entertainment and perfectly fit into the Arsenal system from the moment he stepped out in the Emirates. In Arsenal, he had found a team where he could assume the role of a playmaker and enjoy the freedom which was not provided at Barcelona. He could play anywhere and everywhere and no one would say a word against him. But for a man with his work-ethic and dedication; for a man who always chases success as Alexis does, would staying at Arsenal be the right thing?
The signing of Alexandre Lacazette may be an exciting proposition for Alexis, for he now has a proven goal-scorer assuming the responsibility of a CF. On comparison to Olivier Giroud, who didn’t provide the mobility that creative midfielders would like from their forwards, Lacazette can get past defenders and use his positioning ability to bang in a few more goals.
But was scoring goals ever the issue at Arsenal? A more insightful look into their previous campaign would tell you that it’s their distinct lack of holding on to winning positions and slipping up in crucial games that led to their 5th placed finish. Arsenal conceded 44 goals, the most of anyone in the top 6. While there is still time left for the transfer window to close, it is perplexing to think Arsene has not thought of strengthening his central defence. Mertesacker is now 32, and to be fair, he was never really gifted with pace. Koscielny too is currently 31. While Mustafi has had moments of brilliance last season, he too has not lived up to the billing. Maybe the onus was on Arsenal to sign someone who can fulfil the role of CB on a long-term basis?
Coming to the midfield.
Ramsey and Wilshere are injury prone and Cazorla and Coquelin are out with long term injuries. Xhaka, though instrumental has a temperamental issue. That leaves only Elneny and Oxlade Chamberlain.
It doesn’t take a footballing genius to tell you that the scenario presented above is worrying.
While it has been blatantly obvious from quite some time that Arsenal don’t like to spend big on players, spending wisely is definitely the need for the hour.
With an alarmingly low strength in depth, and no real conviction shown by the side in the transfer market. Should a player as ambitious as Alexis Sanchez be castigated for his desire to leave?