Sanchez does it again

Alexis Sanchez’s eighth goal in seven games was enough to give Arsenal a narrow 1-0 victory over an in-form Southampton side on Wednesday night, as the Chilean forward once again proved just how important he is to the Gunners’ hopes this season.

Starting the game six points behind the Saints, Arsenal fans had to wait until the 89th minute before their side grabbed the winner in a match which had looked to be heading for a draw courtesy of an inspired Fraser Forster performance in the Southampton goal.

Saints Sunk

Arsenal were handed a number of boosts along their way to the three points. Jack Cork, who had replaced the injured Morgan Schneiderlin in the team, was forced off the field with his own injury after just 30 minutes of the game. That early substitution came back to cost Southampton later in the game when Toby Alderweireld's hamstring problem left Southampton a man short in the closing stages of the match.

While Arsenal controlled large parts of the fixture, they could do nothing to find a way past Forster or his defence until the latter stages when the hosts’ man advantage began to tell. The England shot-stopper enhanced his growing reputation with a man-of-the-match performance, keeping the game scoreless until the 89th minute despite a string of Arsenal attempts on his goal.

But just when Southampton looked set to leave North London with a fortuitous point, Aaron Ramsey found some room in the box to set up Sanchez and watched on as the striker slotted home his 14th goal in 22 appearances for the club.

Since his £35million move from Barcelona in the summer, Sanchez has wasted no time in establishing himself as a firm fan favourite, proving those Premier League betting fans wrong after they had claimed the Chilean would take some time to adapt to life in England.

Gunners On A Role

Without Sanchez in the team this year, Arsenal could be facing a very different second half of the season, but they are instead now on a run of three-straight victories, including beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and are just two points away from fourth spot in the Premier League.

The victory over Southampton might not have been Sanchez’s most impressive performance in an Arsenal shirt, however, the forward popped up at the right time to continue his sensational scoring run.

With Sanchez in this kind of form, Olivier Giroud back fit and Theo Walcott also being eased through a return to the fold, manager Arsene Wenger could be forgiven for focusing on other areas of his squad when it comes to the January transfer market.

Window Shopping

While Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in their last three games, Wenger will be under no illusion he needs to add a fresh face or two to his defence in January. This recent run of victories cannot paper over the obvious areas of concern in the squad.

For all of Sanchez’s goals this season, an injury to Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny between now and the end of the current campaign could all but kill off any chance of a top-four finish let alone a title challenge.

No comments:

Post a Comment