Alexis Sanchez has been well off his best this season so far, and seems to have lost the love of the fans. Is it worth taking him out of the team?
At the start of the season, Sanchez put in one of his worst performances in an Arsenal shirt, as the Gunners were battered at Anfield.
At the time, there were plenty of excuses. The Chilean had only just returned from holiday after international duty, his mind wasn’t in the right place with all the Manchester City rumours, he had an injury niggle, and so on.
But over the next month, things didn’t seem to get any better, and it wasn’t until October 22nd that the 28-year-old scored his first league goal.
After that, he went on a little bit of a run in the goals department, getting three in three games against Spurs, Burnley and Huddersfield. But many felt that was just papering over the cracks in his performances.
Since then, the goals have disappeared, whilst the average-at-best performances remain. There was plenty of talk early in the season about how Mesut Özil had already left the club mentally and that Sanchez would fight until the end.
But against Newcastle, Özil created more chances than the Chilean, had more shots on target, was dispossessed less, completed more dribbles and had higher pass accuracy.
The German also completed a higher percentage of his crosses, committed fewer fouls and won just as many tackles. You could tell the fans weren’t pleased when the boos from the Newcastle fans at Sanchez’s substitution started to spread into the Arsenal end.
Perhaps it’s unfair to compare to Özil, who has been world class for much of the season since that overly-criticised performance against Watford. There isn’t really a player in the squad who could guarantee as much goal-threat as Sanchez when the winger is in form.
But maybe a game or two on the sidelines would get the message across that things need to change. Maybe it could inspire a turnaround in form. If not, then he’s not worth keeping in the team anyway.