Speaking ahead of the game against Stoke City, Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took time to praise teammate Alexis Sanchez and hail the impact that the Chilean has had on the team. He said that Sanchez’s fierce competitive streak was rubbing off on the rest of the team and has transformed the mentality of the Arsenal squad.
Since the move from Barcelona, Sanchez has consistently been Arsenal’s stand out player and is probably the reason that we are in the top spots of the table. The Chilean has contributed nine goals in the Premier League, the latest of which was the late winner against Southampton on Wednesday, securing another three points for the Gunners. This win was also vital in ensuring that we did not lose any more ground on the top four, especially Chelsea, who already lead us by 13 points.
This is what the Ox had to say:
There is no rest for him. On recovery days he wants to be playing and he is not happy if he is not allowed to play the game at the end of training.
He has brought that winning mentality to the side and it definitely rubs off on a lot of players.
It has been an eye-opener for me. To make it to the top and to be able perform like he does week in, week out, you have got to be an absolute winner and you never want to lose at all.
He is not happy when he does not score. If I had scored as many goals as he has at this stage, I would be over the moon.
He has been brilliant for us and a breath of fresh air, so hopefully he can stay in the form that he is in and we can help him out to keep producing goals like he has been.
Whether it is due to Sanchez or some other reason is up for debate, but the fact is that Arsenal have improved dramatically after the latest international break. In the four games since then, the Gunners have won three and lost just one, to Manchester United. We have also kept three clean sheets, which is a great thing considering our leaky defence. And although we lost the game against United, the loss hit so hard because we had clearly dominated the game for massive periods and conceded through errors rather than great play on their side. After that, we have picked up three wins on the trot and in the process secured qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Thus, confidence will be at a peak going into the weekend’s game against Stoke City and we should capitalise on that with a comfortable win.
The Ox confirmed that the team were also thinking along similar lines; he said that they intended to take it one game at a time and focus on getting results in the League. He also did not rule out gunning for the leaders Chelsea, although he did admit that it would take some time to catch up to them.
I am not concentrating too much on Chelsea. You never know, they might drop off.
If they do, we need to make sure we are back in, following them closely with getting results and trying to climb up the table.
Stoke City have suffered three losses in a row, but they are sure to fancy their chances at the Britannia Stadium. Since winning promotion in 2008, the Potters have won four and drawn two of their home games against Arsenal. Wenger admitted in his prematch press conference that it was going to be a tough fixture, but if we are to seriously challenge the top teams of the League, these are the sorts of fixtures we need to start winning.