Why Alexis Sanchez needs to step up for Manchester United this season
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels Alexis Sanchez can still “make his mark” at Old Trafford and grasp the “opportunity” created by Romelu Lukaku’s departure.
Lukaku left Manchester United for Serie A side Inter Milan on the deadline day. Being a striker at United has always been about more than simply finding the back of the net.
There is an expectancy from the fans to see their no.1 striker linkup with his teammates and fellow forwards around him. Perhaps, this was the reason why Lukaku didn’t seem a good fit in Solskjaer’s system.
The Belgium international is regarded as one of the prolific number 9’s in Europe but his deficiencies are very well known. He isn’t very good at linking up play with his ball control and first touch often poor.
The 26-year-old, however, scored more goals (42) than any other United player over the past two seasons.
In all fairness, Lukaku struggled to make an impact on the side last season and it was clear from the off that he was not going to be part of Solskjaer’s rebuild at United.
The Red Devils did not replace the big Belgian, increasing the expectation for goals on Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and teenager Mason Greenwood. Well, Solskjaer also expects help from £350,000-a-week star Alexis Sanchez upfront.
Sanchez, 30, has scored three goals in 33 Premier League appearances for United and requires further time to regain fitness after injuring his knee at the Copa America in July.
The Chile international started only a handful of games under Solskjaer due to injuries and poor form last time out.
The 30-year-old has struggled to live up to the hefty expectations of the Old Trafford faithful following his switch from Arsenal in January 2018. He hasn’t been able to find the form in a Red shirt that once made him one of the most devastating forwards in the Premier League.
Certainly, injuries in the last couple of years have played a big part as Sanchez has lost a yard of pace or two but Lukaku’s departure could apparently hand him a new lease of life.
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Solskjaer wants United to play free-flowing, fluid attacking football with intensity and high-pressing. He wants his front three to interchange and get themselves into the opposition’s box as much as they can.
Such a fluid system should help the United forwards and it’s now up to Sanchez to find himself and starting firing all cylinders again.
If Sanchez can regain his lost mojo, the Red Devils’ fortunes will improve in front of goal and chances of achieving a Champions League spot next year should become higher.