Information Nigeria Arsenal reporter, Femi, writes about Alexis Sanchez’ importance to an Arsenal side determined to follow up on the recent FA CUP success with an English Premier League win next season.
Alexis Sanchez’s emphatic goal was ostensibly the moment that assured Arsenal a record 12th FA Cup triumph.
And his Manager, Arsene Wenger, stood on the touch-line, grinning from ear to ear, apparently delighted to have signed the player from Barcelona, amid strong interest from Liverpool.
Sanchez has helped improved his team-mates and ignited the desire to win, something lacking for many years since the split ‘The Invincibles.’
If you’re an Arsenal fan, we were all waiting for that type of matchwinner.
Look at what he did in the FA Cup final and what he has been doing since his arrival. He has been more than tremendous.
We want to see that more and more and I know that he has that in his locker. When you have a guy like Alexis Sanchez, it is the X-factor … former striker Thierry Henry told Arsenal Player.
His explosive form, much in the first half of the season, forced oppositions to adjust the way they setup to play Arsenal.
And by assumption, Aston Villa’s boss Tim Sherwood, probably had sleepless nights, searching for a formula to stop the diminutive Chilean.
When Sanchez is not playing, he’s fighting, and the burning desire to be at the end of every ball makes him a constant threat around defenders.
Still, amassing 25 goals in his maiden season in a different country omen a bright future in English football.
Villa were rightful underdogs in the Final especially when Arsenal had, in total, banged in 8 goals against them in the Premier League prior to Wembley’s
But It was bewildering to say the least that Tim Sherwood’s tactics on the day was to play toe to toe with Arsenal, considering the huge quality difference
between both teams.
And had it not been for an excellent first half goalkeeping from Shay Given, the ‘Gunners’ seemed determined to cause a stir.
Yet for all their industrious efforts, Arsenal were only rewarded a goal before halftime when Nancho Monreal’s deft cross would find a rising Sanchez in
the box, his knock down fell to the onrushing Walcott, and with power, buried his effort to send the fans behind the goal into raptures.
Wenger, probably vindicated of his decision to start the England International ahead of Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal continued the second half from where they left off; retaining possession, thereby forcing Villa to commit bodies upfront, then aiming to finish the game off on the counter.
But the man of the moment, Alexis Sanchez had other ideas. Out of nothing, in space, the 26-year-old had viable support from Nancho Monreal on the left flank. But determined to make his own mark, he drifted inwards, and from 25
yards, sent a rocket shot that was too hot to handle for Shay Given.
It was a stunning goal that only Worldclass players could attempt.
The jubilant Arsenal faithful made their voices heard all around Wembley, in contrast to a grim looking Sherwood.
Gabriel Agbonlahor was brought on for Charles N’Zogbia to add pace and work in tandem with Benteke in the final third, but hopes of a comeback was tarnished when Per Mertesacker, at the end of a
corner, easily guided the ball into the net.
Giroud came on and added his name on the score- sheet in the final minute to wrap up a deserved victory that secured a resounding back to back FA CUP success for the North London outfit.
Though they missed out on the title last season by a Jose Mourinho inspired Chelsea team, understandably due to a poor start of the campaign, the onus is on Arsenal to fight for the English Premier League title next season, and when you have a player like Alexis Sanchez in your rank, the wait for League success is closer than ever.