Alexis Sanchez is a lucky boy. Lucky that Eden Hazard exists.
Eden Hazard’s awful form this season – Just a single goal from the penalty spot in an FA Cup against MK Dons has meant that the press have not focused on the fact that Arsenal’s Chilean winger’s has had 2nd season syndrome.
On the face of it, 10 goals in 22 games is a good return and is a similar goals to games ratio as what he did in his exceptional first season. But when you dig down, good form he has certainly not been in.
His 6 Premier League goals this season in 15 games have in fact come in just 3 games. A hat trick against Leicester, a double against Manchester United & one against Watford. All 3 games were consecutive. So what reads as 6 in 15, is in fact 6 in 3, 0 in 12. Not a great return.
When you expand it to include all goals (for club and country), he went on a run between September & October where he scored in 6 consecutive games. A sparkling run of form ,yes. But throughout the rest of the season, he has only scored in another 2 games.
To add to his poor goal scoring form, he also has just 1 assists this season. Last year he got 8.
A llof his stats this season, whether it is defensive or attacking, have dropped from last year.
He is making less tackles, less interceptions. Successful dribbles have halved. He is not crossing the ball as much, nor has he been playing as many through balls. The only thing that is up dramatically is how many shots per goal he needs. Not a good thing.
Of course, there are other reasons alongside his own poor form as to why things have not gone well.
One of those is the exceptional form and fitness of Mesut Ozil.
Last season, everything positive about Arsenal was going through Sanchez. This year everything has gone through Ozil. That is not a slight on Sanchez. It is Ozil’s job to create, Sanchez’s to finish.
Sanchez has also not looked as sharp this season.
He had a summer playing an international football, winning the COPA America for Chile. He returned from this quickly. Maybe too quickly.
Then he had his hamstring injury against Norwich (I think it was). He had not looked fully fit for a few games before he got this injury. Was he hiding it from the club? Or was the club trying to manage him through due to the injury crisis of wide players at the time? Or was it an accumulation due to playing too many games over the previous 18 months – World Cup, 52 games for Arsenal, COPA America?
I think anyone that saw him live would agree that he did not have the same sharpness, same energy, as he did in 2014/15.
Recently, Ozil has had a dip in form. He needs others around him to pick up the slack. Whether it be Walcott, Ramsey, Giroud or, more importantly, Alexis Sanchez.
There has been no external pressure on Sanchez this season, due to the form of Hazard.
If Sanchez re-find’s his 2014/15 form, it will give Arsenal the best chance of winning the league.