With Arsenal’s latest recruitment of French hotshot Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record transfer fee, the Gunners have finally got a perfect solution to their woes up front. Olivier Giroud’s erratic nature in front of goal coupled with Danny Welbeck’s inability to remain fit for long meant Alexis Sanchez was often handed the responsibility to lead the line last season. And the Chilean indeed stood up to the challenge with match-winning contributions on a handful of occasions, most notably during Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea last term.
Although Sanchez’ future at the Emirates remains up in the air, he is still expected to start the season with the North London club. However, with Arsene Wenger making clear Lacazette will be the preferred choice up front, Alexis will have to content with a role out wide or in an attacking midfield position, provided Arsenal continues to stick with the 3-4-3 formation that worked wonders for them towards the end of last season. But exactly to what extent does the arrival of the 26-year-old marksman from across the channel affect last season’s highest point-scorer’s FPL potential?
Sanchez played half of the last Premier League campaign as a striker while spent the other half playing behind one – either as an attacking midfielder or on the wing. As a number 9, the 28-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and supplied 6 assists. The Chilean was often found in the thick of the action in the final third as he created 2.74 chances per game and averaged roughly 3 attempts every match. His shot accuracy was calculated to be 48.14% while goal conversion stood at 25.93%, meaning every fourth attempt on goal by him found the back of the net.
But these stats took a significant dip when Sanchez dropped down into midfield. A haul of 10 goals and 4 assists for a player plying his trade in positions behind the striker in just half the season sounds impressive but somewhat pales in front of his tally as a forward. El Niño Maravilla’s involvement in the attacking third took a dip as well with him creating 1.9 chances per game. Interestingly, Sanchez averaged more cracks on goal at roughly 4 shots every match. However, while shot accuracy fell down to 30.66%, his goal conversion rate got nearly halved down to 13.33% which implies it took him 8 attempts to score a goal.
The 2016/17 Premier League season was Sanchez’ most prolific in the red and white of Arsenal as he racked up 24 goals and 10 assists. It could be attributed to the fact he got more game time up front in comparison to his first two seasons at the Emirates and the stats do his backing as well. At £12mn, FPL’s most expensive midfielder is undoubtedly a must-have in your squad and is an asset you just can’t dare to ignore.
However, if Sanchez is set to side with the record FA Cup winners for the forthcoming season, he won’t be getting a forward berth frequently as aforementioned. Although it would be a huge call to predict the Chile international won’t be able to reproduce the success of previous term in the upcoming season if his stats in other positions are anything to go by, playing in a supporting role may take some sheen off his amazing individual stats and we could witness an Alexis Sanchez more in the mould of his first two seasons in England – a player with a great attacking potential but with a knack of going astray for a certain time period.