Belfast Telegraph

Alexis Sanchez focus

Alexis Sanchez made only a passing contribution to an otherwise enthralling 2-2 draw between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Sanchez had scored three goals in his previous three games but after his early shot was tipped onto both posts by Thibaut Courtois, the Chilean gave way to others in a thrilling London derby.

With the January transfer window now open and Sanchez yet to sign a new deal with Gunners, scrutiny on his performances has increased. Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at his display at the Emirates Stadium.


Sanchez took his place on the left side of an attacking midfield duo alongside Mesut Ozil and behind Alexandre Lacazette. While Ozil, however, often dropped deeper to form a midfield three with Jack Wilshere and Granit Xhaka, Sanchez stayed high, hanging off Chelsea's midfield waiting for a chance to counter-attack.


With transfer speculation now in full flow, some might have expected Sanchez's focus to waver but there was little evidence of that here. He was harrying Chelsea's back five from the off and when he cleared out Cesc Fabregas from behind late in the first half, there was no shortage of passion in his vociferous protesting towards referee Anthony Taylor. Fabregas smothered him with a smiling hug.


Sanchez went closest to a first-half breakthrough as his toe-poked finish was tipped onto one post by Courtois, rolled across the line and hit the other post before staying out. He twice tried to play in Ozil too and almost connected with Ainsley Maitland-Niles' deep cross at the start of the second half, but the ball was just too high. As the match wore on, however, Sanchez's influence faded.


For a period in the first half it looked as though Sanchez would again be a protagonist in this end-to-end contest but he drifted into the background as the late goals flew in. Few could argue this was a result of off-field distractions, however. Sanchez seemed as committed as ever and after three games in seven days, he may simply have run out of gas.

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