All Guns Blazing: Sanchez is Arsenal’s only saving grace just now

15:20 05 November 2014

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (left) runs at Anderlecht's Sacha Kljestan (right) during the UEFA Champions League Group D match at Emirates Stadium, London Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (left) runs at Anderlecht's Sacha Kljestan (right) during the UEFA Champions League Group D match at Emirates Stadium, London Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti says Arsenal need to step up to the efforts of their new Chilean superstar.

A little known fact – one that absolutely no one demanded to know – is that my full name is just Alex. Consequently, whenever teachers used to call me Alexander in primary school, I’d make a very big fuss and get told to stand in the corner.

If I were growing up now, I’d probably still get told to stand in the corner, because I’d insist my full name was actually Alexis. Such is my love for the new Arsenal superstar, I’d probably walk into school with my shorts rolled up in that funny way he does and get sent home immediately. Basically, I’ve always been a rubbish student.

Lucky then, that Sanchez is at least a very, very good footballer – the sort who makes kids sideline trivial things like education anyway to spend all day playing football in the park. Even fully-grown sports journalists are falling for it: currently you can’t move for all the gushing analytical pieces written about the industrious Chilean.

I thought Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a great game against Anderlecht on Tuesday, but aside from that, Sanchez was once more the saving grace in a capitulation that no longer stings like it used to, simply because the act of repetition numbs the blow after a while.

I’m hardly falling out of love with football, but there does seem to be a natural stifling of passion when you see Arsenal Football Club performing the way they are.

Here’s a curious example I noticed: four days after Sanchez became a Gooner, he opened up a Twitter account.

He’s hardly as prolific online as he is on the pitch; I can count only five tweets he’s sent since July. It makes you wonder if he was asked to set up the account by Arsenal, to which I can only imagine he replied, “Who is a... Twitter?”

Just this week, glance over and you’ll see a chucklesome video of Arsene Wenger getting to grips with the zipper on his new Puma jacket. There’s also some guff about Lukas Podolski becoming a film star.

In an age of season ticket rises, £3m payments to our owner, repeatedly feeble football and an attitude from the club and players alike that suggests they care most about online LOLs, there’s a simple reason we’ve fallen for Sanchez: he looks like a dedicated football professional who simply cares about winning games.

At the moment, he looks like the only one.

Follow me @alexbellotti


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