Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez was voted as our Player of the Season after he claimed over 60% of the votes in what was one of the most one-sided polls in recent memory.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 10, 2015
Few can argue with the outcome of this particular award such was Alexis’s majestic displays over the past nine months, culminating in arguably the greatest goal in an FA Cup final at the new Wembley to clinch our 12th FA Cup trophy.
Scoring 25 goals in all competitions during your first season in a new country is almost unprecedented; Alexis became the first Arsenal player to score over 20 goals in his first season since a certain Thierry Henry.
As mesmerising as his talents are, you get the sense that Alexis can go up a few more gears and observing Wenger’s comments about him quickly shows us where the boss sees room for improvement.
Alexis was often frustrated at Barcelona, where his sole task was to continuously make runs off the ball and let the playmakers dictate possession.
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Guardiola’s strict style didn’t allow room for flexibility and the Chilean was tasked to break the lines constantly and hope the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta could find him at the perfect time.
Seemingly, those forgettable memories have forced Alexis to go completely in the other direction which could make him predictable on some occasions. Wenger is clearly adamant that our explosive forward doesn’t let go of a quality which could make him even more lethal.
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“He can run with the ball, but his runs off the ball are as well very good and when he mixes that well, I wouldn’t like to be a defender,” Wenger said before the cup final (via BT Sport).
An illustration of what the boss wants to see more of is in the goal below and while surrounded by the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, the former Barcelona man can bag even more goals by utilising the quality he begrudgingly picked up during his time at the Camp Nou.
As well as his runs off the ball, Alexis must use his left foot more often in order to make himself less predictable when attacking a full back. Quite understandably, his natural instinct is to cut in on his favoured right foot knowing that he only needs half a yard to produce a strike similar to the one that we witnessed at Wembley against Aston Villa.
However, the fact that none of his 25 goals came by way of his left boot should raise alarm bells among our coaching staff.
Alexis’s left foot is desperately needed when teams come to the Emirates Stadium and ‘park the bus’, similar to what we experienced against Chelsea, Swansea City and Sunderland.
When attacking his full-back, constant forays inside only congested our football further and played right into our opponents’ hands. The key to breaking down a stubborn defence is through the wings and when you possess the pace and dribbling abilities that Alexis does, if he chose to go on the outside after beating his man and sent vicious crosses into the box more often, our game would become less foreseen and subsequently more dangerous.
Should Alexis add those two components to his game next season, not only will he swoop all the individual awards domestically, he will undoubtedly be named in the same breath as the likes of Neymar and Luis Suarez in the chase to accompany Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Ballon d’Or.