Why has Alexis Sanchez failed at Manchester United?
Alexis Sanchez was relegated to the substitute's bench again at Crystal Palace. Then he suffered an alleged hamstring injury in training that left him off the team travelling to Southampton. When Jose Mourinho first arrived at Old Trafford and Morgan Schneiderlin was frozen out and wished to leave, the club claimed he too was injured for the games leading up to the Holiday fixtures. Questions have been raised about just how much longer the Chilean will last at Old Trafford.
When Sanchez made the move from Barcelona to Arsenal in 2014, he racked up 80 goals and 45 assists in just 166 games. His outstanding form attracted interest from Premier League giants Manchester City. In a surprise turn of events, Manchester United pulled the rug out from under City to sign the South American. Old Trafford Faithful were overjoyed at the announcement of their new no.7. Now, not so much. He has failed to impress, scoring 4 goals and assisting just 7 in 30 games.
Upon his arrival, Sanchez claimed the left wing spot, displacing Anthony Martial. He never made it his and now Martial has. Sanchez's abysmal form culminated in Mourinho dropping him amid mounting pressure from fans. At Arsenal, Sanchez already seemed on the downward spiral but many put his lack of form down to Arsenal's performances and his clear dissatisfaction. Now it's clear his lack of confidence while with the Gunners followed him to the Theater of Dreams.
You'd think a summer to rest would rejuvenate a player. Chile didn't qualify for the World Cup. It may have been exactly what Sanchez didn't need. Last season marked the first summer he's had off in nine years. Some people don't know how to take a holiday. After arriving from Arsenal low on confidence and failing to sort himself over the summer, pundits now wonder if he is past his peak. Apparently, the last thing Sanchez needed was three months to play his failures over in his mind.
Any player will tell you they can't wait for the next match to respond to a poor performance. For Sanchez, that wasn't an option. The lack of an immediate opportunity for redemption resulted in Sanchez returning to Manchester in worse shape mentally. With the glamour, fame and money surrounding footballers these days, it’s often easy to forget they're human as well.
Sanchez recently made the shock announcement on Instagram that he would be splitting from long-time girlfriend and partner Mayte Rodriguez.
I wish you the best of the world it was beautiful to have met you and to share nice moments with you, but we decided that each one should follow their own path, to seek our dreams. I do not usually do this but I ask respect from all those who speak without knowing to do harm because behind everything there is family and children... respect.
Signs of turbulence between the two emerged earlier in the year when they deleted each other's pictures off their respective social media accounts. Sanchez responded to the rumorus on Twitter by saying:
Why is there so much evil and envy in these people? Is it necessary to hurt a couple, family, friends etc … with so many lies? I wish you happy and that there is not so much evil in your hearts. KARMA does not bother my partner RESPECT.
Anthony Martial went through a similar ordeal a few years back with the mother of his first child, Samantha Jacquelinet. During that time, Mourinho commented that Martial’s head always seemed to be in the clouds. Sanchez may very well be going through the same thing. Unfortunately, he has little time to snap out of it.
Sanchez is a naturally menacing player, even when not at the peak of his powers. He causes a sense of panic for those tasked with defending him. The problem for Sanchez now is that the goals have dried up. Furthermore, Anthony Martial's upturn in form means that even if Sanchez does regain a spot on the team it may have to be away from his preferred left wing. For now, Jose Mourinho can only hope Sanchez will persevere so when called upon, he will be ready to prove his doubters wrong.