Belfast Telegraph

Alexis Sanchez focus

Alexis Sanchez was unable to prevent Arsenal slipping to a fourth defeat in their last five Premier League matches against West Brom on Saturday.

The Chile international scored his 22nd goal of the season in all competitions to bring Arsenal level but it was not enough as the Gunners lost 3-1 to put a serious dent in their hopes of a top-four finish, with failure to qualify for the Champions League bound to raise questions about Sanchez's future at the club.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a close look at Sanchez's performance at The Hawthorns.

Goal threat

Following Danny Welbeck's return to the starting line-up, Sanchez was shifted back out wide. That meant he was not operating up front as a striker in the position which earned him plenty of plaudits earlier in the season. However, the Chile international was still a threat and looked a constant danger cutting inside from the left hand side - although it was primarily to set up chances for his team-mates.

He did score after 15 minutes though to quickly cancel out the lead given to West Brom by Craig Dawson. Sanchez timed his run perfectly to keep onside before brining down Granit Xhaka's cross on his chest and thumping a shot past Ben Foster and into the roof of the net from eight yards out.

But that was as good as it got for him as he struggled to make a telling mark on the game thereafter.

Involvement

Sanchez has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player this season - scoring 18 and assisting nine. He started brightly and was involved in all that was good about Arsenal during the first half as he probed for passes and linked up well with his team-mates. He faded badly after half-time though.

Attitude

Sanchez began the game as his usual self in terms of application, bursting forward with the ball at every opportunity and pressurising defenders when Arsenal were out of possession. However, this seemed to diminish during the second half, and especially after Arsenal fell behind to Hal Robson-Kanu's strike after 55 minutes.

He began standing out wide on the left, isolating himself and not getting involved. Sanchez was brought down by a robust tackle from James McClean in the first half, which earned the West Brom midfielder a yellow card, and the ankle he hurt was now all of a sudden becoming more of an issue.

Arsenal fell 3-1 behind in the 75th minute and whether the ankle was an issue or not, Sanchez was substituted three minutes later.

Overall

He has struggled to have a telling impact in recent weeks and looked like putting that behind him on Saturday. Sanchez was dropped against Liverpool at Anfield and went missing against Bayern Munich and again today.

He only rarely showed the sort of passion and drive that has seen him become a firm favourite among the Arsenal fans and it is a worry that when things appear to get tough he goes missing.

Even if recent reports of a training ground bust-up and speculation about his future are not true, all does not seem well in Sanchez's world.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph