It usually takes the best Arsenal players a few seasons to settle properly, to adjust to the top English division – Dennis Bergkamp’s best ever goalscoring season in the Premier League was 16 goals, which came in his third season for the club, Thierry Henry took three seasons to score over 20 league goals, both were described as underwhelming in the early stages of their Arsenal careers – Alexis Sanchez scored 16 goals in 35 Premier League goals, but electrified the best league in the world, worked his socks off and instantly became a fan favourite with his tireless running and fantastic end product.
After what was undoubtedly the best debut season Arsenal fans of this current generation have ever seen, what more can Alexis Sanchez do to impress in the Premier League?
The Chilean is already an Arsenal legend to some, as crazy as that may seem after one season – the 26-year-old made that much of an impression on some. His work rate, and desire to be the best is infectious, paired with the fact he is a pretty incredible footballer makes him one of the most desirable talents in the world.
Only the elite talents of the world could force him out of any squad, and that is exactly what happened at Barcelona, Alexis was let go in favour of Luis Suarez, and with the added firepower of the Uruguayan to a frontline with Neymar and Lionel Messi already lurking, the trio went on to create goalscoring history, whilst also winning the treble.
Alexis, however, did not look back, he may have admitted his regret at not achieving more with Arsenal in his first season, but all that shows is his desire, once again, to be and do the best. The Chilean wants to play football all the time and win everything possible – exactly what this Arsenal squad needs.
Having driven the Gunners to their second successive FA Cup success with goals in the semi-final against Reading, as well as a stunner against Aston Villa in the final, Alexis went on to help his country win the Copa America for the first time in its history, defeating Messi’s Argentina in a tense final and scoring the winning goal himself – an unbelievable feat.
The pressure is off for Alexis at this stage, he no longer needs to show what he can do, everyone has seen the abundance of quality that he possesses, all he must do now is really let his talents loose, go on to score goals for fun and drive Arsenal to the top of the Premier League.
With Chile having competed and achieving victory in the Copa America 2015, the nation’s next major tournament is the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup – meaning Alexis will finally be able to enjoy a summer break in order to recharge his batteries at the end of next season, although from what we have seen this summer, he will probably just run around some more on a beach. But, what is most important about having no summer obligations is the fact that Alexis will be allowed to enjoy a pre-season with the north London side, having never taken part in one previously.
Alexis immediately got off to a good start with the Gunners last season, with his first goal coming against Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League play-off tie, a strike which guaranteed Arsenal’s position in the elite European competition, and literally put himself well on the way to paying back his whopping £35m fee, with the goal believed to be worth roughly £25m.
The former Udinese man went on to score 25 goals in 52 games during his debut season, and was nominated for the PFA Premier League Player of the Year award, losing out to eventual winner Eden Hazard – nevertheless, Alexis won the Arsenal equivalent, another display of just how good he was.
What might be most impressive about Alexis is the way he has gelled with his teammates, he has taken to Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil like a duck to water – the trio have become famous for their ability to find each other in small amounts of space, similar to the way Xavi and Andres Iniesta were in front of the imperious Arsenal-linked Sergio Busquets during the Pep Guardiola era.
Alexis had previously never played with the Spaniard nor the German, so for the three, who are all very different players, to come together and perform the way they have together over the past season, more so eight months, has been nothing less than a joy to watch.
Despite being so much more than goals for this team, they are a vital part of what he brings, and it allows the pressure to be relieved from the likes of Olivier Giroud, Arsenal’s main centre forward who has been relied on heavily for goals over the last three seasons.
As well as Alexis’ and Giroud’s expected goals, the Gunners can expect a widespread number of goalscorers who can get between 5-10 goals this coming season, and in some cases even more, meaning that the club will certainly not be short in that department.
After such an impressive debut season, supporters will expect nothing but greatness from Alexis, who has convinced not only the Arsenal faithful, but the rest of the Premier League as well of his worth, and being such a talented footballer – the Chilean will deliver exactly that, so expect more goals, fight, passion and all round brilliance from the new star of the Premier League.