Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he’d welcome the Arsenal fans in the Emirates Stadium turning against Alexis Sanchez on Friday.
Solskjaer spoke to MUTV ahead of the game, confirming that Sanchez will be involved in the Arsenal FA Cup clash. The manager insisted that a hostile atmosphere for the Chilean forward would only drive him on to silence the supporters.
“He’ll be involved. I think he’ll love it if the crowd turn against him,” Solskjaer said (via Manchester Evening News). “As a player, pride kicks in and you think ‘I’ll show all of you’. He’s been fantastic in training, his attitude has been spot on so hopefully he’ll enjoy the game.”
Historically, Sanchez has been pretty poor in this fixture. Everyone remembers his fantastic performance in the 3-0 win over Manchester United in 2015/16, but that was actually the only one of eight games for Arsenal he got a goal or assist in. Similarly, he drew a blank in his first game against The Gunners last season.
The 30-year-old’s disappearing act in the away fixture in 2015/16 arguably cost Arsenal a run at the league title. His inability to finish chances saw Arsene Wenger’s side fail to complete a comeback in last season’s 3-1 defeat at the Emirates.
Another non-performance at Old Trafford in 2016/17 was mostly forgotten when Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score with Arsenal’s first shot on target in the 89th minute.
All this to say, if Sanchez does suddenly start turning up in these matches because of a few boos, you have to question why he couldn’t motivate himself for the same fixture when Arsenal needed him.