Alexis Sanchez, the Chile international who left Barcelona for Arsenal during the summer, claims that each and every game is a challenge in England. He says that the Premier League is much tougher and more competitive than both La Liga and Serie A.
The Chile player established himself as one of the hottest properties in world football with his scintillating performances in Italy for Udinese and earned himself a move to Barcelona in 2011.
However, he was unable to display his full potential and sparkled only sporadically at the Nou Camp before joining Arsenal for €42 million this summer. And even though he has flourished in England, netting 11 times in all competitions already, the 25-year-old insists that it has been a struggle to adapt because of the intensity of each and every game.
The football played here is really tough – it’s very difficult. It’s been a struggle to adapt.
Out of all of the leagues I have played in, this is the toughest. I’m enjoying the challenge but it’s anything but easy.
There’s not such a great difference between the teams. The clubs at the bottom of the table can complicate matters for those at the top.
Every game is decided by some small, minor details and I really love that – it keeps you alert, on your toes.
The player is certainly on his toes now, with a series of strong performances in the past few games, and he has almost single handedly won several games for the Gunners. This is after a weak start to the season, when Alexis was dropped against Aston Villa and Tottenham due to Arsene Wenger’s concerns over his adaptation to the club’s famed passing game.
Little by little I am gaining the confidence of my team-mates and we’re getting to know each other better.
At first, I did struggle to understand them – to guess what spaces they would run into, their movements and what their gesturing meant.
Now I know all of their virtues, I know more now what they are like and that makes me feel much more relaxed and allows me to enjoy my game more.
Like anywhere else, first it’s about getting to know your new surroundings, getting your bearings.
Almost unconsciously, I started to memorise the movements of my favourite team-mates and starting to learn how to help them.
I know that I still have a lot to improve on and they have let me know what areas need work: to spend less time on the ball, to play more one-touch passes to instigate counterattacks – that’s vital.
I need to continue learning because those quick-passing moves are key in the Premier League and especially at Arsenal.
The player certainly seems to be learning well and settling in at his new team, and his wealth of European experience will surely prove invaluable to Arsenal.