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Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal 2014–2018)

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Arsenalin ihmepojalle oma ketju. Loistava artikkeli, jos vain jaksaa lukea koko tarinan Chilen sankarista.

Senior Career
Cobreloa 2005–2006
Udinese 2006–2011
→ Colo-Colo 2006–2007
→ River Plate 2007–2008

Barcelona 2011–2014
Arsenal 2014–2018

 

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The making of Alexis Sánchez, by those who helped him achieve greatness
 
With fire in his belly and thunder in his boots, Alexis Sánchez’s journey from remotest Chile to the bright lights of London has been remarkable. Martin Mazur asks his teachers, friends and coaches how a media-shy homeboy became the main man.
 
Most of the time, Alexis Sánchez is a superstar living in a carefully constructed cocoon. Shy and reserved, he doesn’t enjoy talking to the press, partly because his Spanish is difficult to understand even for other Chileans. Consequently, he rarely makes news away from the pitch.
 
For the past eight years, in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Udine, Barcelona and 
now London, he has followed a low-key routine: attend training sessions during the week, eat well at home, stay away from public events and nightlife, and then, when the whistle blows, play as if your life depends on it. The nickname Niño Maravilla (Wonder Kid) owes much to this Spartan schedule.

 

Managers from different football schools – from Pep Guardiola, Claudio Borghi and Arsène Wenger to Diego Simeone, Pasquale Marino and Marcelo Bielsa – have fallen in love with his style and considered him fundamental to their tactical schemes. It’s easy to see why. Sánchez’s wrecking-ball style has no room 
for pretension: what you see is what you get.
 
And as Arsenal fans quickly discovered, what you get with the Chilean is a one-man forward line: a Swiss Army knife of an attacker, part winger, part midfielder, part forward; a multi-purpose marauder who plays with a raw intensity that is impossible to fake.
 
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Most players say they hate losing. Sánchez plays like he hates losing. It’s why managers love him, why 
team-mates are inspired by him and why supporters are enthralled by him. And it’s why he already appears to be an Arsenal legend in the making.

 

Meet the real Alexis
There are just two places where the real Alexis Sánchez can be found. One is on the football pitch. The other is in his home city of Tocopilla. A thousand miles north of Santiago, stuck between the mountains, the desert and the sea, lies the tiny town where the Arsenal forward was born. “Tocopilla is like Vina del Mar, only smaller,” he once said on the TV show Nacidos para Ganar [born To Win], comparing his gritty coastal home town to Chile’s ‘Garden City’.
 
But apart from the sea, the two cities have nothing in common. As you enter Tocopilla’s undulating landscape, you see mountains with sharp cliffs, narrow and bumpy roads, ramshackle houses, pollution, poverty and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. The entire region is one of the most arid places in the world. Little wonder the locals refer to it as ‘Devil’s Corner’.
 
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The city skyline now consists of a bay, a port and two big chimneys throwing out black smoke from the thermoelectrical plant. Worse, the area was struck by an earthquake in 2007 and is still recovering, with damage visible on every street corner. Most houses were hit, including those of Sánchez’s mother and aunt.
 
It’s here, away from the luxuries and fame, that the real Sánchez opens up to the public. Every time he comes back, he instantly goes out, talks to everyone, sits in the main bar, plays football with his friends and meets relatives and acquaintances.
 
It’s here, too, that he earned his first nickname, ‘Dilla’, a short version of ardilla (squirrel) – because he was quick, always played barefoot and it only took him seconds to climb onto the roofs of houses to recover lost balls during street games. (Some locals argue that the name Dilla was a contraction of pesadilla – meaning nightmare.) Sánchez was effervescent and active, so they all knew him and cared for him.

 

“I was happy as a boy,” he admitted. “We were humble, hell yes, but I’d give away everything I have now to be back in those days again. I was the happiest kid in the world. That’s why I so enjoy coming back. There’s my family, my friends and my memories. And I like the sea. It’s the thing I like the most. If there’s the sea, then I’m happy.”
 
"We were humble, hell yes, but I’d give away everything I have now to be back in those days again,"
Sánchez on his impoverished boyhood.

 

“It wasn’t easy to get money”
His father left Tocopilla shortly before he was born and Sánchez had to grow up fast, helping his mother Martina along with brother Humberto and sisters Marjorie and Tamara. His uncle Jose Delaigue, who died from cancer four years ago, became a paternal figure.
 
His mother would head to the nearest city to try 
to sell fresh fish, which she would clean one by one. Alexis took care of cars that were parked in the cemetery, washing them or just making sure nobody stole them.
 
“It wasn’t easy to get money,” he told Spanish newspaper El Pais in 2013. “I’d say to my mum: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be a footballer and everything will work out – we’ll have money’, and she would laugh. I would promise gifts, cars and houses to my friends, too.”
 
He had started playing for a local side, Arauco, when he was six. “I remember it very well: he was an outstanding talent and already quicker than the rest of the boys,” his first manager, Alberto Toledo, who still has a picture of one of the first training sessions, tells FourFourTwo.
 
“We would travel to play away in other cities of the region. Alexis was restless and always anxious. Not everybody was happy, because he played all the time but didn’t train a lot. Rather than coming to train, he would stay playing football on the streets. But he made a difference.
 
"Rather than coming to train, he would stay playing football on the streets,"
Sánchez’s first manager Alberto Toledo.

 

“I remember one particular game in the desert. He picked up the ball in our box, dribbled past the entire team and, looking exhausted, arrived in the opposition box, where the keeper made a harsh tackle.
 
Under the burning sun, without caring about the pain of the kick he’d just received, and almost incapable of speaking after his long run, he stared at the bench, imploring me to allow him to take the penalty kick. Pure Alexis Sánchez.”
 
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He once scored eight goals in a game against kids two years older than him. 
Thanks to special permission granted by the local FA, Sánchez competed in, and won, two tournaments at the same time. Still, nothing compared to those endless street games on the pitch near his home.

 

"Playing barefoot gave me my style, running with little jumps, because I was dodging rocks,"
Sánchez explains his unusual locomotion.
 
“Playing barefoot gave me my style, running with little jumps, because I was dodging rocks,” he once declared. But he didn’t understand positions or tactics just yet. “One day a manager told me to play as the right winger, and I had to ask him: ‘where’s that?’” Aware of Sánchez’s humility, the town’s Arauco-supporting mayor gave him his first pair of boots – Reeboks – when he was 15. 
“I was so excited that I wore them on the pavement, even though they had studs and were made for grass,” said Sanchez years later. Up to that point, his mother would borrow boots just for the games he played.
 
Moving away from home
For a town with just 25,000 people, Tocopilla has seen many professional footballers born and raised there over the last century – but only a few that managed to leave the region and progress on a national scale. One of them had been Ascanio Cortes, arguably the best defender Chile ever produced, who played for the River Plate side that featured the famous Maquina forward line.
Like most of his predecessors, Sánchez was so attached to his hometown that he refused to leave permanently when the first offer to move appeared, at 13, to play in Rancagua – 750 miles from home. But the youngster’s talent would open more doors and things were different when he drew the interest of Cobreloa, mainly as they were just 75 miles away in the Atacama desert.
 
“I’ve trained kids with skill and potential, sometimes as interesting as Alexis, but then they get lost and don’t make it,” says Toledo. “You need to be self-centred, not get distracted, not fall for vices – and coming from poor families that’s not easy, you know. Alexis was already convinced he would make it, and that he’d work hard to realise his dream." "I remember his debut at 16 for Cobreloa, a famous 5-4 against Deportes Temuco,” recalls Danilo Diaz, co-author – with his former colleague at the newspaper La Tercera, Nicolas Olea – of the Chilean’s first biography, Alexis: The Crack’s Journey (‘crack’ being what the Spanish call a team’s star).
 
"You need to be self-centred, not get distracted, not fall for vices…
And coming from poor families that’s not easy,"
Sánchez’s first manager Alberto Toledo.

 

Nelson Acosta, who rarely bet on youngsters, sent this kid onto the pitch as they were losing and he changed the game with a couple of stunning actions. From that day I understood he was special, and I would attend his games when he visited Santiago.”
 
Attracting attention
The raw version of Sánchez offered bold acceleration and a seemingly impossible ability to stop on the spot. Not only that, he had the ability to speed up, stop and then accelerate again. Watching him was a spectacle within the game, without caring about results or team performances.
 
Experienced players would end up lying on the ground in training sessions against Sánchez, his reputation as the Wonder Kid already crossing borders. Sánchez was a diamond in need of polishing, but one with endless possibilities.

 

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That’s why Claudio Borghi phoned him personally in an attempt to convince him to join Colo-Colo. At the time, Borghi was the South American Coach of the Year, his style compared to Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi, and everybody on the continent was talking about him. But Sánchez wasn’t expecting his call, so when the man on the phone introduced himself as Claudio Borghi, Alexis replied: “Erm... Borghi? Who are you? I don’t know any Borghis.”
 
"Erm... Borghi?
Who are you?
I don’t know any Borghis,"
Sánchez at 17 when telephoned by the South American Coach of the Year.

 

The celebrated coach had to explain to the 17-year-old who he was and how badly he wanted him.
 
And Sánchez, by then already bought by Udinese for £1.7m, was loaned to Colo-Colo for a year from June 2006 and Borghi said it felt as if a Christmas present had been delivered six months in advance.
 
Two local titles and a Copa Sudamericana final would quickly follow, complete with stunning performances from the Wonder Kid.
 
With the first real money he made, he built a new house for his mum and sisters. In Santiago, the super-shy Sánchez felt like Crocodile Dundee in New York. On his first day at Colo-Colo, the country’s biggest club, he was overwhelmed when he was offered some cookies.
 
Energy, fishing and the Boy Wonder
Exactly 100 years before Alexis was born, Tocopilla was building its first railway, a daring line laid by the Anglo-Chilean Nitrate & Railway Company, which gave life to this area, bringing water to its inhabitants. Few things have changed from those days. Mining is still a key asset and the train is still operating. “It’s not true that Tocopilla is just about me,” insisted Sánchez. “Tocopilla is famous for the energy and the fishing.”
 
However, his presence is everywhere, from posters to advertising boards, graffiti to photos. He is a living legend – a demi-god that hasn’t forgotten his roots. On the contrary, rather than spending his holidays in Bali or Dubai, he comes back to his hometown. Unsurprisingly, there’s a street in Tocopilla named after him.
 
The E10 is the school he attended, albeit perhaps more sporadically than his teachers would have liked: he would bunk off at any opportunity. “He was small and quick, and you could tell he was making an effort to be in class because his career as a footballer was already prospering,” recalls Olivia Gordon, his teacher from the time. “Sometimes he’d barely make it on time and then arrive without his backpack, so his mum would rush in to give him his books and folders.” His mother would also help in cleaning the school to earn some extra money, but Alexis tried to hide when he saw her, feeling embarrassed.
 
"You could tell he was making an effort to be in class because his career as a footballer was already prospering,"
Sánchez’s school teacher Olivia Gordon.
 
The school’s foyer now depicts pictures of its greatest student as an inspiration to the current pupils. Since he left the town, he regularly sends gifts and clothes to the school.
 
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On top of that, every Christmas Sánchez likes to play the role of Santa in the town’s yuletide fair, showering the inhabitants of Tocopilla with presents, usually while standing on the back of a truck with his closest friends. In 2012, the Alexis caravan included several vans all bearing the legend ‘Happy Christmas wishes to you, Alexis 9’, with more than 400 cars full of fans that accompanied him from Antofagasta (120 miles away) or even further.
 
In the visit for Christmas 2013, he was also present at the inauguration of five football pitches which he had financed following a meeting with the mayor. On those pitches, a talent programme to offer opportunities to kids was born. Alexis handed them the first trophy.
 
At Christmas 2014, the visit was impossible due to the Premier League’s fixture list, but Tocopilla residents made the best they could of it, according to mayor Fernando San Roman: “Our citizens were used to this tradition Alexis had set of visiting the streets and giving away presents. He was very missed this time, but we tried to set up activities so the Christmas spirit that Alexis represented didn’t get lost now that he had to keep playing in England.”
 
But in a different way, Sanchez’s figure still loomed larger than Father Christmas. Every New Year, Tocopilla’s tradition is to build giant dolls of popular characters, from the alien in ’80s Arnie vehicle Predator to the cast of The Simpsons, and then set them on fire for luck. Alexis Sánchez is, of course, one of the most sought-after models to burn.

 

Making history and making friends

The Arsenal transfer had a huge impact not just on his hometown but the entire country. “Now there are hundreds of Arsenal jerseys visible on the streets of Santiago, thanks to the Alexis effect,” says Sánchez biographer Diaz.
 
"There are hundreds of Arsenal jerseys visible on the streets of Santiago, thanks to the Alexis effect,"
Sánchez biographer Danilo Diaz.

 

“Since he is not very open to media, sometimes people don’t realise how big he is abroad, and we only discover it by the coverage of foreign press or what players and managers say about him. It’s a similar case to Marcelo Salas.”
 
Diaz’s book on Sánchez has been an instant hit, selling more than 10 times the average figures for a sports book, and being revised for the third time with an added chapter on Arsenal. 
A survey conducted by marketing company Havas Sports & Entertainment named Sánchez as the most influential sportsperson in Chile, with nearly 66% of the votes going to him.
 
What’s more, it seems only a matter of time until he becomes the most capped player in the country’s history (he’s third, not far behind record-holding team-mate Claudio Bravo, more than five years his senior) and top goalscorer (fourth with 26 goals, 11 behind Salas).
 
He was the youngest player ever to wear the red jersey, having made his international debut when he was 17 years and five months old. By 2018, he could also be the first Chilean to play in three consecutive World Cups, having made a major contribution in qualification for 2010 and 2014. 
 
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“The first time they called me up,” he said, “I entered the dressing room with confidence, but in silence. I realised everybody was looking at me. All of them were giving me a look that said: ‘Who’s this?’
 
“Soon I noticed I was walking through the stars of the national team: Rodrigo Pérez, Nelson Tapia. Then the kit man approached me and told me I was meant to be in the other dressing room, with the youth team. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed.”
 
"The [Chile] kit man told me I was meant to be in the other dressing room, with the youth team.
I couldn’t have been more embarrassed,"
Sánchez on his first international experience.
 
Timid as he might appear, the dressing room and training sessions now reveal a different Sánchez, a closer version to the one he is in Tocopilla. He cracks jokes all the time and knows how to be the centre of attention. 
In terms of personality, he is bubbly and charismatic, like Sergio Agüero.
 
Like those born to lead, Sánchez is able to unite those around him without seeming to try, even in the sometimes political Barcelona dressing room. As Sánchez said in 2011, “Victor Valdés always tells me, ‘Oh Chilean, I don’t understand a thing you’re saying!’, and we all laugh. Lionel Messi’s the only one who actually understands my jokes.”
 
He integrated himself among Barcelona’s heavyweights quickly and easily. “Oh yes, Alexis is a funny boy – we still can’t understand much of what he says, but he’s funny,” admitted Gerard Piqué two years later.
 
Learning and maturing
“The secret of Sánchez is that he was embraced by a generation of veterans when he started at Cobreloa, such as goalkeeper Nelson Tapia, and they gave him good advice so he never actually cared about stardom and always kept his feet on the ground,” says Diaz.
 
Tapia famously gave the youngster a pair of brand new Nike boots because his were broken. They were bigger than his size, but Alexis didn’t dare complain. “It was a dream to have those shoes!” he admitted in an HBO documentary.
 
"When Alexis enters the pitch, he transforms into a kid again, and his mission is to play with the ball with that pride of street football,"
Radamel Falcao, Sánchez’s River Plate team-mate in 2008.
 
In every dressing room he entered, the senior players noticed he was special and needed to be guided properly, because his potential was huge. When Udinese loaned their new signing to Colo-Colo, the 17-year-old quickly became Humberto Suazo’s room-mate and protégé.
 
Special relationships with attacking partners were also helpful with the national team, where he played alongside childhood idol Salas, and at Simeone’s River Plate, where he shared the pitch with experienced pair Sebastian Abreu and Ariel Ortega.
 
“What I like about Alexis is that when he enters the pitch, he transforms into a kid again, 
and his mission is to play with the ball with that pride of street football,” said Radamel Falcao in 2008, while the Chilean was on another season’s loan, this time at Argentine giants River Plate.
 
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In those first years as a professional, Sanchez was so quick he sometimes felt he had to wait for his team-mates. In Austria, playing one of his first games for Chile under Marcelo Bielsa, Salas gave him a vital piece of advice: “If you arrive at the goal-line, don’t wait – just cross the ball. If we’re not there, it’s our responsibility, but you’ve already given us the advantage.”
 
Although Sánchez had sometimes been criticised for being too selfish, his maturing process developed rapidly in the national team under Marcelo Bielsa, who found a man willing to work hard and capable of training at the same intensity as he played.
 
“From time to time,” said Sánchez, “people ask me if I analyse the defenders or the teams I will face; if I think of some plays in advance. The answer is no, because good things are meant to come out in the spur of the moment. That’s the way it is – they are just born.”
 
But when it came to training, there was nothing that wasn’t strictly detailed and carried out with high levels of discipline. “His story is one of a boy who worked and trained really hard since he was 15,” says Nicolas Olea, co-author of Alexis: The Crack’s Journey. 
“There wasn’t any luck – just hard work.” 
Chile once had to open one of their training grounds on Sanchez’s request: he wanted to train, alone, on the national team’s day off.
 
"Bielsa left a footprint on my game.
I changed.
With him, I began to understand the game,"
Sánchez on his legendary ex-Chile manager.

 

“Bielsa left a footprint on my game, because I changed with him,” said Sánchez. “Before, it was just about getting the ball, keeping my head down and running forward. With him, I began to understand the game. The World Cup campaign [in 2010] made a huge impact.”
 
The Argentine manager plays down his role. “I don’t feel responsible for his growth because he earned it – it’s me who feels gratitude to him,” said ‘El Loco’.
 
“He can perform on the right, the left and in the centre, can dribble and score goals. He can play well in every side, in every league, because his condition is unusual – almost unique. His human qualities are also worth mentioning. He’s a lovable guy.” 
 
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To Europe
After moving to Udinese in July 2008, Alexis was considered solare – a joyful person who carries the sun in his attitude. But it took some time for his team-mates to understand how to take advantage of his skills.
 
Antonio Di Natale was a key figure in his Italianisation, a maturing process that took him two seasons. Sánchez acknowledged this, surprising journalists at a press conference by breaking into Italian: “As you say here, piano piano si arriva lontano” – ‘Slowly, you can go far’.
 
While Sánchez enjoyed playing in a gung-ho 3-4-3 for the national team under Bielsa, he also learned how to fit into Udinese’s 3-5-2 that sat back – and was devastating on the counter-attack in Serie A.
 
"I received a high tackle from behind.
I turned around and I saw Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.
What do you think: who had kicked me like that?"
Sánchez on toughening up in Italy.

 

“In Spain you see one-on-ones, an attacker against a defender, with lots of spaces,” he said in 2010. “In Italy, as it was in Argentina, it’s one against 11 – they retreat quickly. 
And it’s harsh. The other day I received a high tackle from behind. I turned around and I saw [Andrea] Pirlo and [Gennaro] Gattuso. What do you think: who had kicked me like that?” But then he always was a magnet for scything tackles. “My problem is that sometimes it looks as if I won’t reach the ball, but I do, and when an opposition player has already made the effort to clear it, he gets me. That happened a lot in Argentina. But nothing compared to playing against the older kids in my town."
 
Against Palermo in February 2011, he scored four goals and became the most sought-after player in Italy. Juventus wanted him badly, but there was tough competition from abroad.
 
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When Pep Guardiola took him to Barcelona that summer, Sánchez discovered that everything he knew about football, or thought he knew, had to be learned again. “It’s like playing another sport,” he agreed with Javier Mascherano, another who was moved by the need for improvement to fit in at the Nou Camp.
 
"Alexis has stolen our hearts.
He has the excitement of a kid and his courage is remarkable,"
Pep Guardiola on Sánchez’s Barcelona adaptation.

 

“Alexis has stolen my heart – our hearts,” said Guardiola three years ago, after Barcelona beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. “He has arrived here with the excitement of a kid and hasn’t let that go. His courage is remarkable.
 
“He came to offer something that we didn’t have. He can play in all three positions in attack, he has lots of energy, defensive intensity, one-on-ones, dribbles, with a vertical sense of the game, and he’s also a great kid,” he declared.
 
The problem was that in order to fulfil his dream of playing for the world’s best team, Sánchez accepted a secondary role during what was the best football period of his career so far, especially after Pep's exit.
 
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“Alexis needs freedom, and in Barcelona he had to cover a certain area that was not best for his personal game because it made him lose participation,” explains Chile manager José Sampaoli. “He had to be part of a philosophy that wasn’t convenient for him, and now he appears to be freed again.”
 
Guardiola and Tito Vilanova seemed to know how to use him; Jordi Roura and Tata Martino, less so. In Sánchez’s last season in Spain, even if he’d played better and scored more than Neymar, he ended up on the bench. It was the right time to leave.
 
“Now, at Arsenal, we’re seeing the wild Sánchez that we discovered 
in Chile, running here and there, but with another concept of the game,” says Diaz. 
“The Premier League seems perfect for him.”
 
For someone so driven, it’s hardly surprising that Sánchez already has plans for his retirement. “I’d like to become an actor,” he said three years ago. “It’s why I try to make an effort in all the ads I shoot. The problem is that I don’t speak English so I probably can’t make it in Hollywood!
 
“But it’d be a dream to appear in the movies, either as a detective – you know, a smart chap, well-dressed, pistol, cool attitude – or as one of those lads who works at NASA and knows about everything.”
 
But first, Sánchez is set to star in the story of his own remarkable life: the all-action hero who takes on the bad guys single-handedly. Whether it has a happy ending remains to be seen. But considering where he’s come from, you wouldn’t bet against it.
 
Alexis Sánchez - YOUR player of the season

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Lukemisen sijasta voi myös vain katsella ja kuunnella pelaajaan liittyvän seuraavan dokumentin, mikä on tullut parikin kertaa tiirailtua.

 

Alexis Sánchez (BBC Documentary)

– From Devil's Corner to Wembley Way –

 

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Alexis Sánchez - Best Ever Goals

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What Arsène Wenger can learn from Chile's use of Alexis Sánchez
 
The Chilean's first season in north London was nothing to sniff at, but Paul Wilkes suggests there's a way to maximise his potential at Arsenal next season...
 
Alexis Sánchez has had few problems adjusting to the pace and power of the Premier League: the versatility of Arsenal's second-most expensive signing has allowed him to settle into his new country with relative ease.
 
However, his terrific debut campaign wasn't a non-stop thrill ride: it took him four competitive appearances to net his first Arsenal goal, though manager Arsène Wenger was understandably unperturbed about his player's 'slow' start to life in north London.
 
"He is not ready physically but I am not worried about him," said Wenger after the 2-2 draw with Everton. The Frenchman was right not to worry, of course, as Sánchez went on a run of 18 goals in his next 26 games.
 
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An intensive Christmas schedule contributed to a run of just one goal from 12 matches – against QPR – before the livewire 26-year-old returned to his best in the emphatic victory over Liverpool.
 
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Home hunting
Sánchez spent the majority of last season on the left wing of a 4-2-3-1, although he did occupy a number of different roles for Wenger's outfit. It wasn't until the Champions League meeting with Galatasaray in October that he found his reference on the left, scoring and assisting another for Danny Welbeck. If you want to be overly-critical it could be argued that his displays have dipped in high-profile encounters. Sánchez did score in matches against Manchester City, Dortmund and Liverpool, but equally managed just two goals in nine matches against last season's top six.
 
The Chilean's tactical flexibility means that his team-mates reach a higher level just from his sheer presence.
 
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At Old Trafford against Manchester United he was on the periphery throughout and Arsenal struggled to bring him into the match; however, against Chelsea at the Emirates, he saw enough of the ball to make a difference but couldn't break down José Mourinho's defensive block.
 
But the Chilean certainly shouldn't be judged on goals alone, and his tactical flexibility means that his team-mates reach a higher level just from his sheer presence and movement.
 
It's been evident throughout his career; at Udinese he moved from a wide position to become a central winger and in turn made himself one of the top performers in Serie A. His speed caused havoc for holding midfielders, and he was able to make late runs into the box to finish chances. It was this switch that led Sánchez to hit double figures in league goals for the first time in his career.
 
When he moved to Catalonia, it took longer to adjust to the methodology of Pep Guardiola. But Sánchez kept at it, and when he left he was only behind Lionel Messi in the side's scoring charts that season.
 
sanchez_udinese.jpg?itok=rhiR3yF6
 
Hot for Chile
At this summer's Copa América in his own country, Sánchez has symbolised his national team's changeability which has allowed them to find answers. Perhaps the recent efforts of Sánchez and Eduardo Vargas are something Wenger has paid attention to. In the opening game with Ecuador, Sánchez was utilised as the lone striker. It took a penalty to break the deadlock, with Vargas arriving as a late substitute to combine with the Arsenal man and put the game beyond doubt.
 
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Against Mexico, Vargas started as the left-wing-back in a 3-4-2-1, with Sánchez leading the line on his own once again. It quickly became apparent that Vargas was at his most effective when he ran into central positions and tried to link up with Sánchez.
 
Coach Jorge Sampaoli opted to switch Sánchez with Vargas when Chile went 2-1 behind and this duly paid off when the Napoli winger equalised. In the second half, the duo played closer together, although it wasn't until almost the hour mark that they started operating as a pair.
 
Then, in the 5-0 thrashing of Bolivia, Sampaoli finally used them in tandem from the beginning for the first time in the tournament, with a diamond midfield behind. This only lasted till half-time, as Sánchez was rested for the final 45 minutes having scored eight minutes before the break.
 
It's not the first time that Sampaoli has deployed the duo in this way: Chile enjoyed a decent World Cup with a front pairing. The two attackers aren't too dissimilar stylistically, although Vargas is clearly not at Sánchez's level having spent last term on loan at relegated QPR.
 

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The Arsenal influence

With Arsenal seemingly looking to solve some issues in the transfer market, they might need an attacking solution for a true title challenge. Sánchez could be partnered with either Theo Walcott, Welbeck or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; the fluidity of two quick strikers provides problems for opposing defenders, while all of the aforementioned have played as wingers.
 
Wenger could take advantage of Sampaoli's pragmatism and combine Sánchez with a like-minded forward.

 

This enables them to drag centre-backs wide, taking up positions between the full-back and central defender, or drop deep to supply key passes for onrushing midfielders. Olivier Giroud isn't mobile enough for the system to work, although that's not to disparage the Frenchman's contributions.
 
Off the ball, the striker-winger hybrids would be able to press high, win the ball back quickly and help perform rapid transitions from defence to attack. Their energy means that they can alternate in tracking offensive full-backs. Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge performed similar jobs for Liverpool, which resulted in their own championship attempt.
 
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Wenger has flitted between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 in recent years, so a diamond midfield would allow him to control the midfield and operate with a No.10 simultaneously. Mesut Özil could fill the role of Arturo Vidal, albeit in a completely different style, as the German prefers to drift laterally rather than vertically like Vidal.
 
There are multiple contenders to supply the passing and running from central midfield, with Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey leading the way. The Gunners are fortunate to have a number of progressive full-backs who would be more than capable of providing width.
 
Wenger might not be as adaptable throughout matches as Sampaoli, but he could take advantage of the Argentine's pragmatism in his starting line-up and combine Sánchez with a like-minded forward.
 
__________________________________________________________
 
 
Alexis Sánchez - Player of the Season (2014/15)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpjTEOzI6Wc

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Respect. En jaksanut kuitenkaan käydä läpi tietokoneen tekemää käännöstä joten menkööt.

 

Alexis oli siis matkustanut Tocopillaan jakamaan lapsille Arsenal-paitoja.

 

Check Alexis Sánchez's visit to his homeland for charity event
The Arsenal player came to Tocopilla to a football tournament with the children of the city.
 
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Alexis Sánchez is enjoying his vacation after Copa America. The Arsenal player, who went on a trip to Punta Cana after the tournament ended, landed today at Tocopilla for a charity event with the children of the city.
 
Was the player himself who announced his arrival to his homeland through social network capable. "We came to Tocopilla with childhood friends. Happy!" Sanchez wrote in his Instagram account, accompanied by a picture with the plane that led him to his village. 
 
The reason for the arrival of former Barcelona to Tocopilla has to do with the completion of the second version of the tournament by playing a dream, a football championship to be held in conjunction with the children. In addition, it will use the occasion to share with friends and family before returning to England.

 

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Pakko arvostaa kuten yläpuolellakin olevassa viestissä olevaa.

 


Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez ‘sends aid to flooded hometown of Tocopilla’

 


It’s hard to know where Alexis Sánchez is more loved – at Arsenal, or in his hometown of Tocopilla.

 

The Chilean’s place of birth has been battered by torrential storms that have affected the whole country, damaging the town’s infrastructure and claiming lives.

 

And Sánchez, who is renowned for his fierce loyalty to Tocopilla, has once more come to his hometown’s aid by sending two lorries filled with water, supplies and first-aid material to the affected region.

 

According to Chilean newspaper La Tercera, the two lorries arrived in Tocopilla on Monday, with the town’s mayor Fernando San Roman confirming that Sánchez was quick to help out once he heard about the floods.

 


‘He hasn’t forgotten about his land and that’s why he wanted to be involved,’ he said.

 

‘He spoke to us in order to send aid to the people of Tocopilla.

 

‘We initially discussed bottled water, some basic first-aid products and clothing among other things and it’s already in the region.’

 

Sánchez’s family members and representatives are helping to co-ordinate the aid effort, with the supplies set to be distributed imminently.

 

What a guy.

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Alexis wins FSF Player of the Year award

 


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Alexis has been named as the 2015 Player of the Year by the Football Supporters’ Federation.

 

The Chile international topped the fans’ vote, holding off stiff competition from runner-up Jamie Vardy. Sergio Agüero, David De Gea, Harry Kane and John Stones made up the rest of the shortlist.

 


More than 180,000 votes were cast in this year’s awards - previous winners include Luis Suárez (2013) and Agüero (2014).

 

“I’m delighted to receive the FSF Player of the Year award," Alexis said. "It’s been a great year for me on the pitch and I’m thrilled it has been recognised by the fans.

 

“Arsenal have enjoyed a good start to the season and it was disappointing to pick up an injury at this important time. But I‘m hoping to be back soon to help my team-mates have another successful year.”

 

Arsène Wenger said: “Alexis has had a fantastic year - winning the FA Cup with us and the Copa America with Chile. He has made a huge impact on English football since his arrival and I’m very happy that his skill, ability and dedication has been recognised by football fans across the country.”

 

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “Alexis is a fantastic player who has lit up the Premier League since arriving in 2014. He’s a constant threat and played a huge role in helping Arsenal win the FA Cup last season, including a goal in the final.

 

Thierry Henry called him Arsenal’s best signing of the past six years - and we certainly wouldn’t disagree. He’s a worthy winner of the FSF Player of the Year award.”

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Alexis oli mukana jälleen, kun Chile voitti toistamiseen Copa Américan. Mestaruus oli Chilen maajoukkueen historian toinen ja toinen peräkkäinen.

 

Arsenalin hyökkääjä valittiin turnauksen parhaaksi pelaajaksi.

 

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Linkissä kooste Alexisin otteista kyseisessä turnauksessa:

 

Alexis Sánchez – 2016 Copa América Centenario

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David Ornstein kirjoittaa. Eiköhän tässä siis aivan totuus ole takana ja selvää näyttää olevan myös se, että informaatio tapahtuneesta on vuodettu journalistien suunnalle itse seuran toimesta.

 

Alexis Sánchez: Arsenal forward dropped after row in training

 

Olisiko tuleva osoite sitten Paris. Toisena vaihtoehtona sitten Juventus, eikä Chelseaa ja Bayernia voi myöskään sulkea pois.

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Robert Pirès on Bein Sports: "Claims in press there was a fight are false. I was there. There was a bad tackle on Alexis, a clash, he left the pitch."

 

"Fans have to understand. There was a disciplinary sanction. Nothing serious happened. I was there yesterday too... No problem."

 

Pirès also confirms on that when Sánchez walked out of training, Laurent Koscielny followed, as captain, to talk to him.

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En itse kylläkään ole tästä yhtään yllättynyt.

 

Ehkä sinänsä huvittavaakin, että juuri nyt nostetaan esille kuinka Alexis on joukkueen yksi laiskimmista kentistä pelaajille kilometrien puolesta ja esimerkiksi Özil väärinymmärretty, kun aikaisemmin Alexis on aina tehnyt kaiken oikein, mutta Özil olisi kentällä jotenkin täysin passiivinen. Totuus kuitenkin on ollut asiaan perehtyneillä jo tiedossa kauan. Tosin ymmärtäähän näiden tilastojen julkaisijoiden ajatusmaailman melko helposti.

 

Na_ytto_kuva_2017_03_08_kello_22_25_31.p

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