Just when it seemed that Arsene Wenger was utilising winger Alexis Sanchez as a centre forward due to the lack of options, the Frenchman claimed that he may consider transforming Sanchez as a striker. The 27-year-old has started both of Arsenal’s Premier League games as a striker. The impact that he has had has been so marginal that Arsenal would be far better off using natural forwards like Olivier Giroud. Giroud was unavailable for the opening game against Liverpool, while he came on with just over 10 minutes left against Leicester City.
Once the Frenchman gets his fitness back, it is highly likely that Wenger will realise his mistake and revert to Giroud. Two games or 180 minutes of action is certainly not an ideal gauge to judge a player, but Sanchez has had such negligible effect on the team that he would be far better off playing as a winger on the left. Statistics do not lie and it is clear that the Chilean winger is struggling in the striker role.
Last season, he had 3.6 shots per game in the 30 Premier league outings. In fact, Sanchez has regularly averaged around this figure since coming from Barcelona in 2014. Yet, this figure has dropped to an alarming 1.5 shots per game in the opening two matches. Sanchez is widely known for his dribbles and being able to beat his opponents in one-on-one situations. He often relies on his pace and dribbling skills to get him away from his marker and get some quick shots on target.
Wenger says that Sanchez has qualities similar to that of Luis Suarez. The Barcelona man is regarded as one of the finest forwards in world football. Suarez has the ability to operate out wide and yet come up with a large number of goals. He has also been equally successful since being moved to a more central position in recent years. Suarez is better when it comes to physicality and it is helped him deal with the two centre backs at the same time. Sanchez, though, seems a lot let down by his physical stature. The lack of strength also means that he is unable to dominate defenders in most situations.
Once the ball does not stick to the forward, Arsenal winger will feel an inability to make any impact in the final third. Wenger has had some successful conversions in the past, but he may have judged Sanchez’ versatility in the wrong manner.