by Lewis Ambrose
As the host nation, Chile have made their way to the final of the Copa América with little trouble so far.
Wins in the quarter-final and semi-final against Uruguay and Peru respectively were far from comfortable but, with their opposition reduced to 10 men on both occasions, they never found themselves behind.
A final against Argentina is a mouth-watering prospect, but Alexis Sánchez needs to step up.
Coming off the back of a World Cup and a gruelling first season for Arsenal, Alexis has not impressed.
“He himself is aware of his poor performance,” writes Alejandro Tapia in El Telégrafo. (Thanks – or perhaps no thanks – to Google translate and incredibly limited Spanish of my own.)
“Alexis has been very erratic.
“For example, in the game against Peru the Chilean striker played 90 minutes, only shot once, had one assist and 40 passes, of which 80% were accurate. He won 15% of his duels, committed 3 fouls and lost the ball 22 times. Barely did he recovered a ball.
“Alexis has not yet found his game.”
It is beginning to look doubtful that he will, the man seems to be badly in need of a rest.
His saving grace is his work rate. In fact, having watched the majority of the tournament, I actually thought his performance against Peru was his best so far – maybe that is damning with faint praise.
“The shortcomings of Alexis have been evident throughout the Copa America. In the match against Uruguay he lost the ball 29 times.
“‘I did not feel fresh,’ substantiated the striker after that match. In that game, Alexis did not have a single effort on goal.
“Even before the match with Peru, Alexis Sanchez had managed the following numbers: 88 losses of possession, five chances, 101 successful passes, eight crosses, 12 shots, 3 shots on goal, 25% shot accuracy and 8% conversion.”
It is clear that Alexis Sánchez has to step up for Chile and will have to perform better than he has this summer if Arsenal are going to win anything next season.
He seems to know himself that criticism is justified but my concern is that will only make him work harder.
What he really needs is a good rest.