Pre-match, I had to predict a starting line-up that Arsène Wenger was going to pick for the intriguing test that awaited at Old Trafford.
In attack, Alexis Sánchez was there. Somewhat surprising given he had played for Chile just days before, but also a tad worrying considering the sheer number of important fixtures we have to play.
Then again, this was an important game in itself so questions would’ve been asked if players like Alexis were not involved from the offset against José Mourinho’s side.
His performance was, on the whole, an average one by his high standards. His heavily strapped hamstring suggested that he probably should’ve even have been risked, but like the Duracell battery he is, he wanted to play and was limited going forward.
United enjoyed periods of dominance and as a result, Arsenal’s forward options had to defend in numbers out of possession. Alexis was too deep and most of his passing combinations were to Aaron Ramsey out on the left, meaning he was restricted in terms of positioning play near-and-around the final third.
His late challenge on Ander Herrera in the first-half was simply that, and not deserving of a booking in fairness – but referee Andre Marriner was only yards away and that didn’t help the Chilean’s case.
Completing four take-ons and creating a notable chance, it wasn’t a poor display but he was forced to feed off scraps for large periods – something a player of his quality shouldn’t have to rely on. He wasn’t helped by the limitations of having Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny in midfield with the pair struggling to link with their forwards, causing Sanchez to drop deeper and deeper in search of the ball.
I can only hope for his sake, as well as the team going forward long-term, that he is given ample time to recover from his exploits on international break.