Alexis Sanchez puts Man Utd woes behind him, firing Chile into Copa America quarterfinals
by Chirag R Bhattad
Brasil: It seems that the United colours are cursed. Paul Pogba is a superstar in French blue, but is an overrated social media influencer in Man Utd Red. Anthony Martial was a superstar in AS Monaco’s Whites but is an inconsistent diva in Man Utd Red. Similarly, Alexis Sanchez is world beater in Chile’s Red but is dead-weight in Man Utd Red.
In Brazil, Alexis Sanchez has been lighting up the Copa America. In Chile’s opener, Sanchez scored one and assisted one in a 4-0 thrashing of invited participants Japan. In their second match of the group stages, Sanchez popped up with the winner as Chile confirmed their passage into the quarterfinals of the Copa America yet again.
The manager of two-times defending champions had a theory for Sanchez’s excellent form. He thinks it is the emotional bond Sanchez shares with his passionate team-mates, which has helped him perform at top gear. Here is what their manager Reinaldo Rueda had to say:
"It's not easy to explain, but Alexis has come here and shown a lot of commitment and perhaps in Manchester he does not have the emotional bond he has with his teammates here, that affection.
He's had bad fortune because Manchester United have had problems for a while, so he does not have the structure he has here. He has also had injuries, he's lacked consistency, he has lacked continuity.”
Sanchez has always been a creative player, even through is poor form, with the Manchester derby from two seasons ago coming to mind. Man City were on the verge of winning the Premier League title at Old Trafford, going 2-0 up at half-time. In the second half, Paul Pogba grabbed the headlines for scoring two goals which brought Man Utd back in the game, but it was Sanchez who created both of them to drag his team single-handedly into the game.
He is back to that form, dragging Chile past Ecuador with a 55th minute winner. Sanchez is dribbling past defenders with ease, hustling and bustling for possession off the ball and is running himself to ground every game for Chile. But the one thing that seemed to be missing is back. That is his goal-scoring touch in front of goal.
Sanchez made a name for himself at Arsenal by scoring a boat-loads of goals, scoring 60 Premier League goals and 72 in all competitions in his three-and-a-half years at the club. In 2016-17, Sanchez scored 24 and assisted a further 10 goals, as Arsenal finished a close second behind the unlikely winner Leicester City.
Man Utd need to find a way to build the team to suit Alexis Sanchez’s qualities, just like Rueda has done. Even big stars like Arturo Vidal are working hard to ensure Sanchez gets into good spaces in the attacking front and cause maximum damage to their opposition. With Paul Pogba likely to be on his way out, Sanchez will be the biggest fish in Man Utd’s pond, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an opportunity to make Sanchez his Andy Cole, his Wayne Rooney, his Robin van Persie.