Better Off Without Him
The Sun ran a story in March 2017, regarding the performance of Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez in the side, in comparison to him out of the team. The figures were pretty startling, most notably the win percentage being over 15% higher with Sanchez out of the team.
Of course, since that article was published, Sanchez has scored in an FA Cup Final and has scored some vital goals for Arsenal. But this season, alongside the serious probability that Sanchez will not be an Arsenal player come the summer (possibly even winter), and the inconsistent performances, many Arsenal fans feel that they are ready to see the back of the Chilean.
For example, in comparison to other regular attacking players in the side, Sanchez has the lowest pass completion rate, by some distance. 71% is his rate, with Lacazette the next lowest on 75%. The likes of Giroud, Ozil, Ramsey and Xhaka are all completing over 85% of their passes.
An accusation levelled at Sanchez this year is that as the team builds up an attack, the winger takes it upon himself to play the final ball, which more often than not results in a counter attack for the opposition. His passing stats would suggest that he simply isn’t the player who should have the responsibility for carving open defences.
The goals he can score, and his confidence on the ball is exemplary, so we shouldn’t be so quick to want rid. However, his stats are slipping, and it seems as though that pivotal position on the left wing could be filled by so many players, such as Wilshere, Welbeck or Iwobi.
Even someone like Ramsey, who has contributed to a superb 0.6 goals per game this season from a deep position, could be up for a change of role, and slot him in behind the centre forward.
It seems bizarre to want away with a player with such obvious world class talent, but Arsenal are, frankly, a bizarre club at the moment.
Fall From Grace
Last season, Sanchez was the only Premier League player to score and assist over ten goals, and finished in contention for the golden boot. 34 goals provided in 38 games, or 0.9 per game. His current return of 0.53 per game shows how far off the pace he is.
His current form should make the decision to sell or not a lot easier though. If he doesn’t pick up his form, then he’s just a mediocre player on a big contract that we don’t need. If he returns to his ability of last season, then that makes the choice harder, but at least we will see strong performances from him in the meantime.
Arsenal this season, like Sanchez, haven’t been bad by any means, but need to be doing better. It may be that the sale of a player like Alexis could be the breath of fresh air the club needs. And if they sell him to Man City, his sale won’t have any impact on the league table whatsoever.