While Manchester United’s season goes from strength to strength under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, one player at Old Trafford who continues to struggle is their Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez.
Since joining the club in January 2018, when Jose Mourinho was still in charge, Sanchez has hit the back of the net just five times. Only three of these goals have come in the Premier League, all at home and against teams in the bottom half of the table, with the other two netted in FA Cup matches in the capital.
And an injury against Southampton at the beginning of March meant he played no part in United’s dramatic – albeit slightly fortuitous – success over Paris St Germain in the Champions League a few days later.
While the Reds were edging to an away-goals success over PSG in Paris, the 30-year-old could only watch in the knowledge that he is likely to be out of action until mid-April.
United are now 10/1 to win the Champions League in the football betting and Sanchez may not even be available for the second leg of their quarter-final tie, which will take place on either April 16 or 17.
Speaking ahead of the second leg game against PSG, Solskjaer said Sanchez’s knee injury was a major concern for United and that he expects his forward to be sidelined for around “four to six weeks.”
The Sanchez story so far
As for Sanchez, his Old Trafford career does not make good reading – at the momemt.
During the final few months of last season, Sanchez could only score twice in the Premier League – in 12 appearances – with these goals coming at home to lowly Huddersfield and relegated Swansea.
The only other time he found the net for United during 2017/18, was a semi-final effort against Tottenham at Wembley, which was arguably his only significant contribution for Mourinho’s men last season.
Matters have not improved much this season either. So far, there has only been one goal in the league – a last-minute winner at home to Newcastle in October – and another in the FA Cup at former club Arsenal in round four.
He did manage one goal each against those footballing powerhouses of Costa Rica and Honduras, during international matches for Chile, but his dreadful goal tally for United was ultimately one of the reasons why Mourinho lost his job in December.
But while United’s fortunes have improved dramatically under Solskjaer, Sanchez’s have not and this injury is another setback for a player who is reportedly earning over £300,000 a week at Old Trafford.
Arsenal and Barcelona
All this is a far cry from his form during his three and a half seasons at Arsenal, and his three years with Barcelona before that.
With the Gunners, he netted 60 times in the Premier League, including 24 during the 2016/17 season alone. He also scored in two winning FA Cup finals for the north Londoners, when Arsene Wenger was manager.
At Barcelona, it was a similar story scoring, on average, almost one goal every two games as he enjoyed La Liga honours with the Catalan club in 2012/13, one year after collecting a winners’ medal in the Copa del Rey.
As for his United legacy, that is yet to be decided but first, he must overcome the knee injury which has left him a spectator at a rejuvenated Old Trafford.