Arsene Wenger had previously indicated Sanchez would be used down the middle of the Gunners attack, but says because of Walcott’s injury his plans for the Chilean may change.
“He can play through the middle, he can play on both flanks and he has the qualities that I think are needed in England,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.
“He’s brave, works hard and all these qualities together made me go for him.
“At the moment he might play on the flank because Walcott is injured. As well [he can play] through the middle in some games; we can play with [Olivier] Giroud, we can play without Giroud in a 4-4-2 or in a 4-3-3.
The last line from Wenger saying he may play in a 4-4-2 is a huge hint towards a potential formation change. Arsene is clearly looking into playing with two forwards next season, as he experimented with in the FA Cup last season. The manager said that is why the club were so happy to spend the reported £30million on the forward.
“That’s why he is a major signing for us [and] that’s why we spend a lot of money on him. He has the quality to be efficient everywhere he plays.”
Whether he plays upfront or out wide, Sanchez is not a possession player. That’s the major difference between him and most of our midfielders. He’s more direct and willing to take a risk. These traits are shared not only by our best player last season Aaron Ramsey, but also by transfer target Sami Khedira. Arsene is adapting.
In the last few seasons Wenger has experimented with wide midfielders like Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. This has not seen much success. It is a suffocating style of play, especially when two central players are played out wide. It restricts what the team can do, makes them predictable and blunts the attack. There is often no outlet, especially when Giroud played as the striker and it makes us look depressingly dull. Arsene knows it and that is exactly why he identified Alexis Sanchez as the man to morph us into a new dimension.
He is a hard working forward, a rare, but important attribute in the modern game. Arsene Wenger himself listed this as one of the reasons he signed the Chilean. If Arsenal want to play the high pressing tactic they experimented with on occasions last season, they need to press from the front. Signing Sanchez will give Arsene the opportunity to permanently implement this system. He puts defenders on the back foot and forces them into decisions.