Defensive lynchpin Per Mertesacker spoke to arsenal.com after the team’s win against Southampton, and the German was full of praise for his teammate, Alexis Sanchez. It is hard to overstate the impact the Chilean has had since his arrival from Barcelona over the summer. Not only is he a constant threat to oppositions with both his creative and goalscoring abilities, he manages to keep the entire team more energetic and positive when he is on the field.
The Chilean has become something of a talisman for the Gunners this season, single handedly winning us games when the rest of the team was looking disjointed. Now that the remaining players are slowly discovering themselves, Sanchez is becoming a creative engine in midfield, capable of distracting and confusing enemy defenders while also creating space for the duo of Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud.
Against Southampton too, it was Alexis who secured the three points when he scored his 14th goal of the season – it was the eighth time he has broken the deadlock for the Gunners this season, further highlighting his impact for the team. Aside from his obvious eye for goal, the forward has also received widespread praise for his determination off the ball, something Mertesacker elaborated on:
He’s unpredictable and even if he loses the ball, he’s so quick in transition and that is absolutely amazing. Every day he’s in and has so much energy.
He’ll never give up and that’s the South American or Chilean mentality he brings to the squad. He scores vital winners for us and that keeps our confidence – and the confidence he can deliver every single game – high.
That causes threats for any team in the world and I’m very pleased with his performances and pleased to have him here.
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We are enjoying ourselves a bit more after these three wins and defensively we have been very solid. [1-0 wins] are the best way for us to be successful at the moment.
South American forwards seem to be the key to success in the Premier League of late, and it bodes well for us that our Chilean is firing on all cylinders. Look at Liverpool last season (Suarez), Manchester City (Aguero), Chelsea (Diego Costa, born a Brazilian). Now we need to take it one game at a time and hopefully by the New Year, we will be back to the Top Four where we belong.