63% pass accuracy as £35m signing struggles against Everton

Alexis Sanchez Chile

Alexis Sanchez failed to make an attacking impact for Arsenal throughout their weekend encounter with Everton.

Alexis Sanchez Vs Everton By The NumbersAs Arsene Wenger’s side recovered from a two goal deficit to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, the Chilean international was forced to watch the second period from the stands, following an unimpressive first-half performance.

Ultimately the £35 million summer signing lacked the penetration and attacking guile required of an effective Premier League forward. Proving ineffective in the final third, it was no surprise to see his performance cut short.

He failed to register a single touch of the ball in the opposition penalty area, and he found himself tracking deeper into the midfield at times in order to receive the ball. In total he controlled possession on just 26 occasions; an abysmal total for a player expected to be in the thick of the action.

Even with the ball he proved a disappointment, seemingly shackled by the pressure of playing a central role. Completing just 63% of his attempted passes, he was far from his usual best. He failed to create a single chance for his team-mates and found success in just one take on.

Physically he struggled, and this is something the Emirates faithful will need to endure throughout the first few months of the season. He is a fantastic talent – technically one of the best players in the world – but he does need time to grow familiar to the nature of English top flight football.

However, he did prove his desire to work hard for the club, and regardless of his form, or success in front of goal, this is a trait will continue to earn the respect of spectators. Despite his miss-fortunes in Saturday’s match he worked relentlessly to turn the match in Arsenal’s favour. Winning one tackle and giving away two fouls, he proved his wish to impress in a Gunners shirt.

Arsene Wenger’s decision to end his match after just 45 minutes proved particularly telling, although the Gunners’ head-coach has insisted he is undeterred by the form of his marquee signing.

"He is not ready physically but I am not worried about him," he told BBC Sport. "Once he will be at his best physically his confidence will come back."

Olivier Giroud’s second-half arrival ultimately transformed the momentum and the eventual outcome of the match. The Frenchman proved significantly more effective, although he did have the advantage of facing a tiring Everton back-four. Nonetheless, he was able to fashion five attempts at goal - a stark comparison to the standard set by Alexis in the first period.

It’s too early to write him off as a centre-forward, but yesterday’s match failed to offer many signs of hope. Only time will tell if he can make a positive impression as a Premier League striker, but for now, he appears a far more valuable asset when given free-reign in attacking-midfield or on the flank.

Based on early impressions, the Chilean is going struggle whenever he is required to lead the line for his new club, thus highlighting the need for Wenger to recruit a top quality striker before the close of the transfer window.

Can Alexis establish himself as a top quality Premier League striker, or will he be more successful when deployed as a winger?

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