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Alexis And Sanogo To Form Devastating Partnership

Yesterday Arsenal defeated Premier League’s titleholders Manchester City in the Community Shield with new signings Debuchy, Chambers and Alexis all earning their competitive debuts with the Gunners. They did well for their debut and no doubt the season will be promising for them, however, today I want to focus on a very specific theme; the connection between Alexis and Sanogo which I found very encouraging.


Arsenal started the game with Cazorla on the left, Sanogo central and Alexis on the right - in theory. In fact, as often is the case, our wingers drifted towards the centre and were very lively. In the Chilean’s case, he often partnered the Frenchman up front and they both linked up very well.

Alexis just never stops running and hassling the opposition whether he has the ball or not. He just has so much energy to put in his games. He only featured for 45 minutes (which I believe was planned) yet we can point out some key elements of his game.

Firstly, I found Arsenal were incredibly efficient at going forward after they won the ball back because Sanchez was always available. Chambers and Koscielny had the opportunity to release forward passes towards the Chilean who dropped deep to fetch the ball and throw himself forward. It is quite a drasticly different option to what we are used to because Arsenal often struggled to get out of trouble in defence last season and Alexis offers something different, something new.

Alexis was – as expected – very comfortable on the ball when going forward. At first I thought he tried to do too much on his own and could have relied upon his teammates to progress towards Manchester City’s goals. Manchester City tried to block him with a couple of players surrounding him. But Alexis is a very intelligent player therefore his moves allowed him to get rid of the opposition’s pressure. Once he found the needed freedom, he looked much better.

And that leads us to the main point of this article: Sanogo and Alexis’ connection. As I’ve said previously, and likewise Walcott, Alexis provided support to Sanogo up front and options for the ball holder. For instance, on Cazorla’s goal, Sanchez made himself available and produced a cheeky lay-off to Sanogo. At the same time, the Frenchman managed to put himself in a decent position where he was facing the goal and therefore the defender marking him.

Yet again, on Arsenal’s second goal, the team won the ball back and Sanchez immediately received the ball in his side of the pitch. Manchester City’s pressure seemed a bit weak and disorganized, and when you grant a lot of space to a player like Alexis Sanchez you are always going to suffer. Thanks to his pace, he hurtled down the right flank and provided a terrific through ball to Sanogo who made the perfect call.

Arsenal even could have been 3 goals up at half time had Alexis managed to forestall Caballero and the ball had sped past the goalkeeper. Once more, Alexis received the ball deep and immediately turned around to face the game. He made Arsenal’s counter attacks destructive. In this very case, Sanogo is the perfect target man and as if it were a relay race he held the ball while Alexis did not stop running forward for a single second. Inevitably, a decent move is always going to damage a defence and Manchester City could testify.

Alexis is going to be an absolute world class player for Arsenal because he is intelligent and cunning. It is not only about liveliness for if you make the wrong moves you are a handicap to your team and the only thing that you’ll provoke is tactical disorder. I advise you look closely at how composed he is, his passes are timed and precisely calibrated.

I found this Franco-Chilean connection great to watch and despite playing together for only 45 minutes, one can expect to see some more of it in the future. In addition, I’m not Theo Walcott’s biggest fan but I am really looking forward to seeing those two link up. With Giroud giving hard times to defenders I can see Walcott and Alexis exploiting every single inch of space available in their back…

Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?

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Tags: Sanogo, Alexis Sanchez

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