Manchester United suffered a shock Champions League Round of 16 home defeat against PSG at Old Trafford. Two goals in quick succession from Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe helped the visitors clinch a magnificent, hard-fought victory at the Theater of Dreams. And the flop of the night was none other than the highest salaried Premier League player: Alexis Sanchez.
Alexis Sanchez, signed from long time rivals Arsenal in a straight swap for Henrikh Mkhitariyan, has proved to be a nightmare for the Red Devils. A player of his stature and caliber was surprisingly poor for United on what could prove to be a fateful Tuesday night.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had this to say about his talismanic striker:
“He has lost his place. He plays in the same position as Martial. Today, who would say he is indispensable for Manchester United? Nobody.”
At Arsenal, under Wenger, Alexis Sanchez was a fearsome striker who ignited fear in the hearts of defenders with his precision in passing, dribbling and goal scoring. During his four years at the London club, he had all the elements that made him one of the most dreaded strikers in the league.
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Sanchez combined with Mesut Ozil to form a vicious force that rallied the Gunners during their most difficult times. He was always one of the most crucial players to watch out for. His fortunes seem to have changed and his attacking prowess seems to have dwindled of late.
Alexis Sanchez has lost possession of the ball more number of times than the number of passes he makes in the final third. He simply can’t dribble past players, can’t hold the ball, nor can he score in 1 vs 1 situations. There has been a paradigm shift in the nature of the player he once was and the player he is now.
Sanchez has received criticism for his form ever since he signed for the Red Devils. This was often overlooked with the help of an excuse that he played for a defensive minded manager, who made him compromise his natural flair for disciplined attacking methods.
But, under the new caretaker manager Ole, when everyone has improved significantly, the Chilean’s case is a mystery. What is more surprising is that there were brief moments of play where he did not even touch the ball, let alone give away possession.
At full-time, his stats were abysmal for a forward of any age, any club, any league, let alone a European Championship Round of 16 match.
Alexis Sánchez vs. PSG:
⚽️ Shots: 0
? Key Passes: 0
? Crosses: 0
?️ Dribbles: 0
Will the real Alexis, please stand up? ?? pic.twitter.com/sTo0GswR98
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) February 13, 2019
Alexis Sanchez Against PSG:
- 0 Shots
- 0 Key Passes
- 0 Crosses
- 0 Dribbles
Calling for a complete 0/10 in player ratings.
Even the calm and composed Solskjaer was vexed by his performance and said:
“I can’t do anything about Alexis Sanchez. When he plays he needs to finds himself because we know there’s a quality player there.”
This is definitely not the Sanchez, the fans wanted to see. 5 goals in 37 appearances speaks volumes of how disappointing he has been in that Red Shirt for United.
Alexis Sanchez has failed to impress time and again and might soon be running out of chances with two academy prodigies waiting in the wings. Since, Martial has found his foot back into the starting XI and his unwillingness to play on the Right Wing, it will be a lot more difficult journey for him to get back into the team.
Manchester United are in a position to test their mettle. They have some pretty tough fixtures lined up in all competitions. Their grit and resilience will be definitely tested along with Ole’s abilities of bringing out the best from the limited resources at his disposal.
With Lingard and Martial in doubt for FA Cup tie against Chelsea and Liverpool in the PL,Ole has little time in hand to re-develop Alexis Sanchez into a world-class player that he once was.