Making his 150th appearance for Arsenal and 100th start in the Premier League, Alexis Sanchez produced arguably his best performance of the season to help the Gunners to victory over West Brom.
While he is still searching for his first Premier League goal this term, the Chilean was a constant thorn in the Baggies’ side with his stunning first-half free-kick leading to Alexandre Lacazette’s opener.
Everything good about Arsene Wenger’s team seemed to come through the 28-year-old, who drove with attacking purpose and intent from the left-hand side. It was a far cry from other showings we have witnessed from the former Barcelona man recently.
As it was, French star Lacazette stole the headlines with his brace but Sanchez’s performance certainly didn’t go under the radar.
Here, we look specifically how the No.7 fared in north London.
Goals – 0
Assists – 0
Shots – 4 (2)
Dribbles – 4
Passes – 44
Key Passes – 2
Pass Accuracy – 84.1%
Touches – 75
Aerial duels won – 3
It may have been his longest run-out in domestic football this season (83 minutes) but he looked close to his best level throughout.
Always willing and able to take on the ball, it was the Sanchez we all know – bustling with energy and involvement in the match.
He took control of set-pieces for the Gunners, with his dipping first-half dead-ball effort leading to Arsenal’s first. Indeed, he looked likely to score every time he placed the ball down and provided ammunition to Lacazette.
The likes of Mesut Ozil, who came off the bench to replace our In Focus player late on, weren’t missed for the key part of the game as Sanchez’s performance provided a timely confidence-booster to Arsenal after a tricky start to the season.
2nd minute: Wins a corner as Arsenal apply early pressure.
4th minute: Bundled over by Craig Dawson (goes down easily) to win a free-kick around 25 yards out from the angle.
5th minute: Quickly takes ownership of the dead-ball situation and sends a stunning free-kick over the wall…and only millimetres wide. Deserved to score.
19th minute: Breakthrough. Sanchez executes a beautiful free-kick, getting the ball to dip and then come down over the wall – in which keeper Ben Foster palms the ball onto the crossbar – allowing Lacazette to nod home.
36th minute: Again, he finds himself in a set-piece situation and curls the ball around the wall – and close – but didn’t quite get enough bend on it.
44th minute: Booked for dissent.
47th minute: A threat on the left, but cross-cum-shot comes to nothing.
61th minute: Turns the West Brom defence on a sixpence and almost finds the searching run of Aaron Ramsey with a through ball.
70th minute: Spots Lacazette on the right-hand side but striker doesn’t manage to grab his hat-trick.
78th minute: The ball breaks to the attacker but his curling effort goes straight into the baggies’ goalkeeper’s hands.
83th minute: Substituted late on for Mesut Ozil and receives strong ovation from Gunners faithful.
Our verdict: 7.5/10
His contract may be up next summer and his future uncertain, but if Sanchez can affect games like he did this one regularly over the course of the campaign then he will prove invaluable to Arsenal…yet again.
Sanchez’s workrate, willingness to run and energy have always been the key hallmarks to his game – along with his undoubted quality.
Whether he remains an Arsenal player or not in the near future, the fact he just seems to be getting on with his business (after a bit of a glitch) on the pitch is good news for Wenger and Co.
A solid 7.5.