Player of the Week: Alexis Sanchez

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Arsenal’s golden boy does it again and shows everyone what they missed not signing him, and letting him go. With the impact he’s had in a contrasted first season for a new-look Arsenal it seems strange that Barcelona would let such a powerhouse go for next to nothing. It’s safe to say Sanchez as far exceeded his 35 million price tag in the current game.

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He’s a diamond that keeps on shinning. No rough edges, a pure gem. There weren’t many picks for player of the week with many Arsenal stars failing to meet the occasion. The two clear candidates being the two responsible for both goals: Alexis Sanchez and Mezut Ozil. I thought the German had another one of his stellar games and his assist for the opening goal is the clearest indication of the talent we have. He’s the best in the business so there should never be any complaints. But it’s Alexis who deserves the most credit for taking to us to a consecutive final.

He’s been nothing but sensational since joining the club; leading goal scorer and our most consistent talisman. The first goal was a combination of brilliance for the two highest profiles on the pitch. Mezut picked out an exquisite ball to the Chilean, the pass cutting through an incredible nine players. Name another player in the league who’d attempt and pull off something reaching that audacity. That was the first part. The second belongs to the star man. He took the ball under control, changed feet and turned out of trouble only to keep calm and slot under the keeper for the opening goal. A measure of his head for the game and big occasions. Another player may have panicked, but not Sanchez. He’s been doing it all season.

The second goal came from the same duo, although not without some tragic goal keeping assistance. People and pundits alike are quick to point this out in an attempt to distil Arsenal’s progression to the final, yet they fail to acknowledge Arsenal’s own keeper howler; where’s the sympathy for that? Our arrogant keeper showed why he’s second best at the moment and showed his consistent talent for putting the team under persistent pressure, from his cheap goals to his wayward free-kicks. However, it might be too harsh to judge him so damningly on his rare start for the team, being our cup keeper this season and nothing thing else. He’s likely to be rusty, but it’s clear that Wenger and the team’s trust lies with Ospina. So, Sanchez took a pot shot and the keeper got himself in a muddle and spilled the ball over the line, just when Reading were picking up steam.

The final string to the Chilean’s bow is his phenomenal work rate an attitude to the game. He runs rings round everybody else because he’s one of very few players who displays the consistent desire. I’m sure other players could do it, but with Sanchez he loves football too much to take a breather. His dial is notched up to 11 and the switch is broken. He ran his socks off for the entire game and ran his feet into the ground. He was on his knees as the game reached to a close and so every professional footballer should be. He’s our top scorer for a reason: he hunts the ball down and makes his own luck. Persistence goes a long way in the game and Sanchez has mastered it.

Rounding things off, he’s the likely favourite for our player of the year. The other being Coquelin. It depends on how you want to look it at: does Sanchez win it for being the best signing in years and a hero on the pitch, or does Coquelin take the prize home for repairing this brittle team to something resembling steel? Attack or defence? And if there was any justice or thought in the game then Alexis Sanchez would be the front runner for PFA Player of the Year. For Arsenal, my money’s on Sanchez and if you count up his man of the match awards this season than everything should click seamlessly into place.

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