Centre forward? Winger? - What is Alexis Sanchez's long-term role at Arsenal?

Alexis Sanchez Chile

Alexis Sanchez started Arsenal's game against Crystal Palace on the right hand side, but which position will he play in the future?

The Gunners got their season off to a good start with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening, but it didn't come without a scare. Breder Hangeland gave the Eagles a shock first half lead, but Laurent Koscielny's header drew Arsenal level, before midfielder Aaron Ramsey stole all three points in injury time.

The game saw three new signings make their Premier League debuts for Arsene Wenger's side, as Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers started in the defence, and Chilean international Alexis Sanchez was deployed on the right hand side, just ahead of Debuchy.

Sanchez was Arsenal's big capture of the summer, arriving in a £32m deal from Barcelona as Wenger looked to give his attack a much needed boost. The 25-year-old hit 39 goals in 88 La Liga games for the La Liga giants, and an impressive World Cup only served to enhance the belief that Sanchez would be Arsenal's missing piece in attack.

However, his debut was far from impressive, registering just one shot on target and three completed dribbles out of the ten he attempted. Having featured in a number of roles for both Barcelona and Chile, where does Sanchez figure to feature most prominently for Arsenal?

The graph on the left shows that Sanchez featured most on the right hand side, where he had little impact. Despite having Olivier Giroud at his disposal, Wenger decided to use Yaya Sanogo as his loan frontman - a position where Sanchez had been tipped to play, according to Wenger.

"He is a striker and he's a good finisher," Wenger said upon Sanchez's arrival. "He made a great impression in Italy [with Udinese] - I saw him there and he was really outstanding."

Given those comments, it seems that Sanchez's stint on the right hand side could be short lived. The return of Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott could be key to this, as both Walcott and Ramsey - who started in the centre in place of Ozil, can play out on that side.

And given the struggles of Giroud and Sanogo in recent times, Sanchez could yet be Arsenal's answer at centre forward - despite repeated speculation of a move for Edinson Cavani - it just may take some time for him to play there regularly.

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