Tag Archives: Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal boss hands club crucial transfer boost

Arsenal seem to be on the rise again, having sealed their place in next month’s FA Cup final following a 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Wembley.

Goals from Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez saw the Gunners come from behind to take the win, having conceded the opening goal to Sergio Aguero, but the positives of that performance could be overshadowed by continued concerns regarding the futures of Arsenal’s star-players.

Match-winner Alexis Sanchez is one of many players who face an uncertain future at Arsenal, as the Chilean is rapidly approaching the final 12 months of his contract and is attracting vast interest from across Europe.

Whilst many feel Alexis will move on this summer, Arsene Wenger has a different view and has issued a huge statement following yesterday’s victory- claiming the former Barcelona man is going nowhere.

What was said?

Quoted by The Sun, Wenger said after yesterday’s win:

“Alexis Sanchez was like the team, he had problems to start with and became stronger and stronger. He is an animal, always ready to kill the opponent. He will never give up.”

“He will be here next year because he has a contract with us and hopefully we will manage to extend it.”

What does this mean?

Wenger’s comments are a major statement of intent from Arsenal, as a sale of Alexis Sanchez now would see a target drawn on the back of the French boss as fans would see him as either going back on a previous promise or simply lying.

However, it’s a risky move from Arsenal as it opens up the possibility of their star-man leaving on a free transfer next summer and the Gunners would be powerless to stop him joining a Premier League rival, whereas they could force a move abroad at the end of this season.

The most crucial comment is therefore Wenger’s hope of extending Alexis’ deal, which suggests that negotiations are not dead in the water and an agreement could still be reached- although Arsenal will have to prove their competitiveness.

Arsenal will be looking to invest heavily this summer and must show Alexis they can build a title-winning side, especially if they fail to secure a position in the top four of the Premier League, which would see Arsenal not feature in the Champions League for the first time under Wenger.

Alternative Premier League Team Of The Year Ft. Alderweireld, Alexis & More

The PFA Team of the Year was announced this morning and it’s fair to say the majority of people were underwhelmed by the selections, with the announcement going down like a lead balloon.

Naturally, the team was dominated by players from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who currently sit in the top-two positions in the Premier League, but both sides can feel aggrieved by certain members of their team that missed out.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Manchester City fans will also share their frustrations, as they’ve had star performers overlook in favour of some rather questionable choices from the PFA.

Here at FreshFootball, we’ve also been left underwhelmed by the selections (seriously, Sadio Mane) and rather than discuss who should be in or out of the side, we’ve elected to select an entirely new team altogether.

Have we missed anyone out? Let us know in the comments below!

GK: Hugo Lloris

Spurs’ number one has been an ever-present figure this season between the sticks for the most resilient defence in the Premier League, with the Lilywhites conceding just 22 goals so far- significantly lower than anyone else.

Whilst David De Gea at Manchester United has been similarly impressive, and being selected in the PFA Team of the Year as a result, overlooking the goalkeeper for the league’s best defence is a decision that doesn’t really add up.

Arsenal fans furious with with star forward’s Team of the Year omission

The PFA Team of the Year was announced on social media this morning and it’s fair to say it’s gone down like a lead balloon.

Hoards of football fans have been left angry by the eleven players selected by their fellow footballers, with Arsenal supporters particularly agitated to see star-man Alexis Sanchez left out of the side despite his sensational performances.

The two-time Copa America winner has excelled for the Gunners this season, scoring 19 goals and contributing nine assists in the Premier League- numbers that significantly dwarf the contributions of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, who was selected in the team.

Doing what fans do best, Arsenal supporters flocked to social media in vast numbers to declare their dissatisfaction at what they believe is a major oversight, which is understandable given that Alexis is one of the top-scorers in the Premier League.

The omission was made more surprising by the fact that Alexis Sanchez is in the running for the PFA’s Player of the Year award, so why wasn’t there space in the team for him?

3-4-2-1: How A New Tactical Set-Up Could Look At Arsenal Next Year

Arsene Wenger surprised everybody with his team selection for the Middlesbrough game, as the man often describe as stubborn and a tactical dinosaur made major changes to his side and altered his formation majorly.

For the first time in two decades, Arsenal adopted a make-shift three-man defensive line consisting of Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista and Rob Holding, utilising Nacho Monreal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as wing backs.

Whilst there were some defensive frailties shown, the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil performed well, leading some to suggest that the Gunners to adopt this formation more regularly in the future.

It certainly needs some work but Chelsea have shown this season that a three-man defence can work well, whilst Juventus have demonstrated similarly on the continent as they push for success in the Champions League.

With a few tweaks and summer additions, Arsenal’s new-look XI could launch an impressive assault for glory next season and it could work whether Arsene Wenger or someone else is in charge.

GK: Jordan Pickford

Arsenal are reportedly looking to shake up their options between the sticks this summer, with Petr Cech failing to impress, and not getting any younger, whilst David Ospina seems increasingly likely to leave the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

Wojciech Szczesny is also likely to leave, having spent two successful seasons on-loan with Roma, and Jordan Pickford has been identified as the ideal target- and he could excel in North London, developing into the Gunners first-choice stopper and learning from the extremely experienced Cech.

4 New Signings: The Potential Arsenal XI That Can Win The Premier League

Arsenal have struggled to remain competitive over the past decade but a major overhaul is expected to take place this summer. With a host of reported signings on the cards, these four new additions will turn the Gunners into Premier League contenders.

GK: Ederson

The eyes of Europe’s elite have been turned towards Benfica ace Ederson this summer and Arsenal are one of many clubs eyeing his services, as they see the 23-year-old Brazilian as the perfect long-term replacement for ageing veteran Petr Cech.

Cech has struggled to remain consistent this season but is likely to stay on. David Ospina, meanwhile, wants more regular first-team football and an exit is one the cards. For next season, playing Ederson in the Premier League and reverting Cech to the cup campaigns could be ideal.

3 Premier League Players Arsenal Should Consider As Alexis Replacements

Arsenal face a stern test to replace Alexis Sanchez this summer if the Chilean decides to leave the Emirates Stadium but the Gunners have options in the Premier League. Here, we’ve identified three potential targets.

Riyad Mahrez

The Algerian doesn’t quite have the same reputation as he did a year ago when he helped guide Leicester City to a shock Premier League title success but last season’s PFA Player of the Year is still a quality player and one who can provide a boost to Arsenal.

Having only recently turned 26, Mahrez has years ahead of him and is approaching the prime period of his career. If Alexis Sanchez was to be sold, investing some of that money to lure Mahrez to the Emirates Stadium would be a wise move.

However, he’d be an expensive acquisition.

Report: Man United Open Talks Regarding Shock Deal For Arsenal Star

Manchester United’s transfer charge this summer could see them eye a move closer to home, with a sensational report being reported in South America.

As reported by Metro, Chile’s ‘El Show de Prensafutbol’ claims that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has contacted Alexis Sanchez over the phone to try and persuade the 28-year-old to move to Old Trafford this summer.

Two-time Copa America winner Alexis is facing an uncertain future in North London, as he rapidly approaches the final 12 months of his contract with no progress of an extension being made- and reports widely suggest he’ll move on this summer.

Whilst there is a wealth of interest in the Premier League, Arsenal would naturally prefer to sell their star-man to a side elsewhere in Europe- although that could be difficult if Alexis decides he wants to stay within English football.

How likely is a deal?

As mentioned, Arsenal will be determined not to sell to a direct rival and will likely block any move for Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United. On top of that though, it’s difficult to see where exactly Alexis Sanchez would fit-in at Old Trafford.

Mourinho’s side already boast the talents of Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard out wide, whilst Marcus Rashford has often been deployed on the wings this season and the Red Devils have been heavily linked with a move for Antoine Griezmann, who could also be deployed out-wide if United stick with their current formation.

Money is not a problem for the Red Devils though and Arsenal would likely earn a club-record sum for the sale of Alexis Sanchez, although it may not be worth it if the South American starlet was to wear the colours of United on a weekly basis.

Who else is keen?

The report also mentions interest from Manchester City, as it states Pep Guardiola has also held talks with Alexis Sanchez. On top of that, Chelsea are also heavily interested in the services of the South American- but Arsenal will still attempt to block any transfer to a Premier League rival.

Elsewhere in Europe, Serie A leaders Juventus are keen on bringing the former Udinese man back to Italian football, whilst oil-rich Paris Saint-Germain want to make the Chilean their star signing- having failed to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer.

There has also been talk of a potential move to Bayern Munich, where Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are approaching the end of their careers, whilst a reunion with Jorge Sampaoli at Sevilla has also been mentioned- although the former Chile boss is unlikely to remain at the Andalusian side for too long, having been linked with Barcelona.

Report: Chelsea Open Talks To Sign Arsenal Player

Arsenal face a difficult summer ahead of them as the Gunners risk missing out on Champions League football, whilst there could also be a wealth of departures from the first-team.

Amongst the stars tipped to move away from the Emirates Stadium this summer is two-time Copa America winner Alexis Sanchez, who is rapidly approaching the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners and seems increasingly unlikely to pen a new deal.

His situation has attracted a wealth of interest in his services and French outlet RMC Sport has stated Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have opened negotiations with the Chilean, whilst The Daily Telegraph adds Alexis would prefer a move to Stamford Bridge.

Naturally, Arsenal would prefer not to sell to a Premier League rival but Alexis’ contract situation does not put them in a strong bargaining position and any reluctance to sell could leave the door open for the 28-year-old to leave on a free transfer next summer.

Who leads the battle?

As mentioned, Chelsea are keen to bring Alexis Sanchez across London and the Chilean prefers a move to Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues’ strong rivalry with Arsenal makes a deal unlikely- and the same can be said for Manchester City.

In Europe, the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have been linked with the Chilean’s signature, whilst there has also been a mention of interest from Sevilla, but Alexis’ likely demands for Champions League football could rule Inter out of the race.

That would leave Juventus and PSG as the big-hitters for Alexis’ signature and a move to the French capital would seem more likely, as the oil-rich club have far more weight to throw about in the transfer market than their Turin counterparts.

Is there any chance of Alexis staying?

Alexis Sanchez could still stay at Arsenal but his decision is unlikely to come down to money and will instead to built around what he believes he can achieve with a transfer. If he were to stay in North London, Arsenal would need to show significant improvements.

Finishing the season strongly would be unlikely to be enough to convince Alexis to stay and they’d have to show the Chilean they’re determined to turn things around- which could involve a major squad overhaul, replacing Arsene Wenger or going all-out in the transfer market.

Arsenal spent over £110m last summer but don’t have too much to show for it performance wise, so any persuasion on the transfer front would likely come from the calibre of players signed rather than the money spent.

Unstoppable? A Look At How Chelsea Could Line-Up Next Season With Alexis Sanchez

Chelsea are already the Champions elect this season, but the news of what they might be about to do in the transfer market will have their Premier League rivals scared. 

Conte has already assembled a brilliant first XI and it looks as if he is going to strengthen it further with some key summer signings. Here’s a look at how his side could line up next season.

GK – Thibaut Courtois

It goes without saying that Chelsea do not need to replace Courtois between the sticks. With interest from the likes of Real Madrid, they may have to ensure that the Belgian international is not tempted by a move elsewhere this summer, but should Conte make Chelsea Premier League winners again, why would he want to be anywhere else?

3 Players To Put In Your Premier League Fantasy Premier League Teams This Week

With the final intersecting international break behind us, we now enter the final stretch of the 2016/17 Premier League season, headlined by none other than Saturday’s Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton and Manchester City’s away clash versus Arsenal on the following day.

It’s high time for building momentum in just about every sector of the league table, so just who can we look upon to deliver the goods for their respective teams this weekend? Here’s Fresh Football’s Fantasy Football hot picks.

1 – Gylfi Sigurðsson

Position: Midfielder
Club: Swansea City
Price: £7.8m

He’s racked up eight goals and 11 assists so far this season for a side that has, for the most part, been flirting with the relegation zone, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see Gylfi Sigurðsson’s name being spoken in such high esteem within the rumour mill.

And meanwhile the Swans will be hoping their talisman stays long-term; they themselves still have plenty on their plate that requires taking care of, as the Welsh outfit battle for their Premier League status.

Paul Clement has managed to steer Swansea away from troubled waters ahead of yet another crucial clash in the fight to stay up, hosting Middlesbrough at the weekend.

The Teeside club, prior to Jonathan Woodgate’s debut as manager, sit five points behind Sigurðsson’s team in 18th, despite having a game in hand, so it’s a fixture of supreme importance for both corners.

Natural order sees the favouritism lie with Swansea, however, and the likes of the Icelandic playmaker have proven to make a decisive difference in the best of afternoons down in South Wales. Sigurðsson could well bring more euphoria to the stands this weekend.

RVP All Over Again? Fans React As Arsenal Stars Are Linked With Chelsea & Manchester United Transfers

Arsenal may have to face another summer of key players leaving this year as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez continue to be linked with an exit.

The worst thing possible would be to see another key Arsenal player go to Manchester United – following in the footsteps of Robin van Persie. That was heartbreaking for every Arsenal fan and to see something similar happen again with Ozil would just really make the club seem 2nd rate.

Ozil, whilst not in his best form at the moment, is a world class player and the Gunners cannot afford to let go of him as they lack players of that calibre throughout the squad. Wenger, or whoever the manager is next season, needs to keep Ozil and restructure the team to make them play in a way that gets the best out of Mesut and the club’s other key players.

Also linked with a move to a Premier League rival is Alexis Sanchez. The little Chilean has stirred the rumour cauldron by suggesting that he wanted to remain in London, but ‘play for winners’. That seemed to be a dig at Arsenal, by suggesting they were not winners, but also a nod to Chelsea to suggest that he would like to play for them.

The quotes from Alexis come exactly a day after the Guardian reported that he is Antonio Conte and Chelsea’s number one transfer target for the summer. Arsene Wenger would surely be very reluctant to sell to a Premier League rival, but it appears that the player may force a move.

Here’s some reaction to the Alexis rumours…

With the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus interested in the duo, Arsenal need to ensure they sell abroad rather than letting their stars join Premier League rivals. Letting either Ozil go to Manchester United or Alexis go to Chelsea would be terrible for Arsene Wenger’s reputation and Arsenal globally as a football club. The Gunners currently look a level below the rest of the playing field and letting their best players join Premier League rival surely just cements that status.

Arsenal Ace Edging Closer To Exit, European Giants Lead Chase

Arsenal are set for a major reshuffle this summer that could see a number of high-profile departures from North London and Europe’s elite are ready to take advantage.

Spanish outlet Sport states Bayern Munich are leading the chase for Arsenal superstar Alexis Sanchez and are keen to use his contract stand-off to their advantage, as the Chilean is rapidly approaching the final 12 months of his current deal.

Negotiations regarding an extension have been put on-hold until the end of the current campaign, with Arsenal remarkably losing six of their last nine games across all competitions, but the chances of Alexis renewing with the Gunners seems to decrease with each passing week.

As such, fans of the North London giants will need to prepare themselves for a departure of their two-time Copa America winner and Bayern lead the chase for his services, as Carlo Ancelotti looks to build a side capable of dominating on the European stage after falling behind the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in recent seasons.

Where would Alexis fit in?

With wing-wizards Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in their twilight years are rapidly approaching the end of their careers, Bayern Munich need to strengthen their options out wide- especially as a permanent deal for long-term loanee Kingsley Coman may not be secured.

Alexis would come into a front-three alongside Robert Lewandowski and Douglas Costa, with Thomas Muller also stepping in where required, in a line-up that would rival Barcelona and Real Madrid’s MSN and BBC trio.

Chilean ace Alexis has already proven himself at the top of the game in both club and international football, whilst a move to Bavaria would see him unite with compatriot Arturo Vidal- which may make it easier for him to settle.

Would Arsenal sell?

In reality, Arsenal don’t really have much of a choice as their options seem to be sell this summer or lose Alexis on a free transfer in 2018- which would see the Gunners miss out on a major transfer window and would leave them hapless to stop the South American moving to a rival Premier League side.

The Gunners will demand a high price for his services, at least looking to recoup the £35m they paid Barcelona for the attacker in 2014, and Bayern Munich have the funds to make a deal happen- which would leave Arsenal with plenty of cash to find a replacement.

For the fans, seeing Alexis leave is bound to be painful and they’d inevitably be on the receiving end in the future, as the Gunners always seem to tackle Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but it would be fair better than seeing him represent a rival side on a weekly basis in the Premier League.

Pretty Average: All The Arsenal Players Rated Out Of 10 vs. Hull

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Hull City in the Premier League.

Petr Čech – 7

With pressure on the veteran shot-stopper after last week’s debacle at Stamford Bridge, Čech responded with two very good saves from Oumar Niasse attempts to keep the Gunners in control.

Héctor Bellerín – 6.5

A decent display from the young Spaniard, who found himself in goalscoring positions on a couple of occasions, meanwhile also managing Hull’s new boy Kamil Grosicki.

Shkodran Mustafi – 6

A relatively stress-free day for Mustafi, who instead saw Niasse look to initiate attacks from the right-hand side of Hull’s attack.

Laurent Koscielny – 6

Had a lively iteration of Niasse and, at times, Lazar Markovic to deal with too, which the Frenchman did with varied success, as well as being a key figure in Arsenal’s initial construction of play.

Kieran Gibbs – 6

The left back was very good in associative play, a differing threat he holds over current mainstay Nacho Monreal, but there were a few moments in which he struggled to take care of Markovic that will stand as a concern surrounding his bid to start more often for Arsenal.

Francis Coquelin – 6.5

Far better from one of Arsenal’s under-fire figures, picking out carefully plotted tackles to commence counter-attacks in ways few others know how to replicate.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7

‘The Ox’ demonstrated a real eye for the final ball on occasions, which is sure to strengthen the case made for his transition into the centre of midfield.

Alex Iwobi – 6

Typically pleasing in and around the box, as Arsenal looked to crack down an in-form Hull side.

Mesut Özil – 6

He’ll have seen better days, by his standards, as he appeared to constantly be on the receiving end of an imperfect pass, when it wasn’t him who was providing them himself. Lively, however, which always bodes well going forwards.

Theo Walcott – 5.5

The link-ups in Arsenal’s attack were actively present, but throughout the Gunners’ greatest periods going forwards, Walcott very rarely came into the equation.

Alexis Sanchez – 7

Undoubtedly Arsenal’s key figure throughout the game, Alexis wrapped up his decent showing with both of the North Londoners’ goals to his name.

Subs:

Mohamed Elneny – 6

Tightened the game up alongside Coquelin in the second period, with Wenger sure to be pleased to have the Egyptian back at his disposal.

Lucas Perez – N/A

Danny Welbeck – N/A

Hull City

Eldin Jakupović – 5

The Hull goalkeeper cut a sorry figure in the lead-up to Arsenal’s killer blow in the dying moments of the game, as he recklessly abandoned his goal and basically left San Clucas resigned to blocking Perez’s header with his arm, as Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot.

Omar Elabdelloui – 4.5

The ex-Olympiakos man never got anywhere near the likes of Iwobi, Alexis and Gibbs.

Andrea Ranocchia – 4.5

Another to suffer at the hands of Arsenal’s mobile attack, with the Gunners unlucky not to convert a couple of chances a lot earlier than Alexis’ controversial opener.

Harry Maguire – 5

A key figure in Hull’s recent renaissance, the ball-playing defender was unable to be as effective as he has been in recent weeks, as the Tigers struggled to get out of their own half for prolonged periods of the game.

Andrew Robertson – 6

Kept Walcott quiet and offered an outlet at the other end.

Tom Huddlestone – 5

Often so crucial to Hull’s game, Huddlestone was unable to get a grip of things in the centre of the park, limiting the away side somewhat.

Sam Clucas – 5

Another who never managed to impact the game from the middle, as a late red card wrapped things up for the playmaker.

Alfred N’Diaye – 6.5

The towering figure of the ex-Villarreal and Sunderland man began to impose himself as the game went on, often providing well-timed passes to the flanks on the break. A good start to his Hull career.

Lazar Markovic – 6.5

Not the best going backwards, but given space, Markovic really did come to life on the counter.

Kamil Grosicki – 5.5

The Poland international promised a lot with his first few involvements, but his impact gradually faded at the expense of Markovic starring.

Oumar Niasse – 6

In good form, the striker might well have added to the hype had it not been for Čech on a couple of occasions.

Subs:

Ahmed Elmohamady – 5

Replacing Ebdellaoui, Elmohamady did at least provid a greater threat down the right flank, but in turn, plenty of gaps were also left behind him.

Evandro – N/A

Adama Diomandé – N/A

Lucas Starts: The Likely Arsenal XI To Face Burnley On Sunday

Arsenal will host Burnley on Sunday as they look to make up ground on the Premier League top two. The Gunners will welcome a Sean Dyche side that has the worst away record in the league, picking up just one point on their travels in the Premier League this season.

Arsene and the players should not be complacent though as we know what Burnley are capable of from their brilliant home form. Wenger can, however, rotate his side a little to give a few players who don’t normally start, a chance to impress. With big games set to come thick and fast after this one, Wenger needs to ensure he doesn’t ask too much of some players.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Big Pete is almost certain to retain his spot between the sticks. He had a good game against Swansea and will be targetting another clean sheet this week ahead of some trickier

Defender: Gabriel, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal

Bellerin is back in full training but I would like to see him eased back into action because he is so important to this team. Gabriel is doing a decent job deputising so he can continue for this fixture. Mustafi and Koscielny must continue to play alongside each other to strengthen their partnership. Gibbs, like Bellerin, is only just returning to full fitness so he should not be risked in this fixture.

Midfield: Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey; Lucas Perez, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez

Coquelin is back, but like Bellerin I’d keep him on the bench. There’s no need for him in this game as Arsenal are likely to be doing a lot of attacking, so Ramsey’s runs from deep will be useful, as will Xhaka’s quality passing range. It would be needless to play Coquelin in this fixture and he should instead return in the FA Cup next weekend. My big inclusion would be to play Lucas Perez on the right-hand side. The Spaniard is in great form but very rarely gets selected to start the game and I think he deserves it. Iwobi has been in good form over the last couple of games, but it won’t hurt to make this swap and keep the Nigerian midfielder fresh ahead of a long run of tough fixtures. In Lucas, Alexis and Giroud, Arsenal should have enough finishers on the pitch to take all three points.

Striker: Olivier Giroud

Arsenal will need Olivier’s physicality for this fixture as Burnley are likely to sit deep and attempt to frustrate the Gunners. Arsenal may have to resort to sending crosses into the box to the big man in an attempt to break through what has been a resilient Burnley defence this season. He will be hoping to continue his fine goalscoring form and make the difference again for Arsenal as they look to get back in the title race.

Arsenal Fans React On Twitter To ‘Stroppy’ Alexis Sanchez After Swansea Substitution

We’re all used to seeing Alexis Sanchez hitting the headlines in an Arsenal shirt, but the Chilean, as has become a habit of late, will be sure to find himself in the spotlight for reasons other than his goal-scoring traits.

As the Gunners stormed to a 4-0 lead versus Swansea City this Saturday at the Liberty Stadium, courtesy of another Olivier Giroud goal, two own goals and a strike from Sanchez himself, the ex-Barcelona man drew in the attention of a camera or two in the latter stages of the game.

In a clear attempt to tot up the minutes given to the recently-injured Danny Welbeck, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger selected Sanchez as the star to make way for the English forward, much to the 28-year-old’s displeasure.

The winger, known for his admirable work ethic, was later spotted seated away from the rest of the substitutes’ bench, visibly upset, with his head facing down on numerous occasions.

Sanchez’s reaction, which added a bittersweet taste to what had otherwise been a generally successful venture to South Wales, didn’t go unnoticed amongst the Arsenal fan base on social media over the Chilean’s repeated offence.

Sanchez is, of course, no stranger to snubbing a rest, more recently playing through a concerning hamstring injury in the last international break with Chile in late November, before returning to North London to do the same.

The forward’s complaints seem to extend beyond being given time off, however, as previous episodes exemplify.

Sanchez was left speechless and deep in thought as Arsenal slumped to a 2-1 defeat away to Manchester City in December, whereas many other fans were on hand to spot his less than accommodating attitude towards teammates throughout the festive period.

He was again very vocal when Arsenal took on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium this month, demonstrating to be in no mood to settle for the Gunners’ 3-3 draw after going 3-0 down in the 58th minute, throwing away his gloves in rage at full time.

Although ultimately inconclusive, Sanchez’s recent behaviour is sure to worry some of the Arsenal faithful, as the much-adored star nears the final year of his contract with the London outfit.

With less than 18 months left on his current deal, reports of interest from Italy, like-minded Premier League clubs and, somewhat unsurprisingly, China has emerged, therefore the deep-lying hope will be that his head hasn’t been turned by the unavoidable details threatening a prolonged stay at the Emirates.

3 Players You Need In Your Premier League Fantasy Football Teams This Week

Following a backlog of festive fixtures and the iconic third round ties of the FA Cup, the Premier League returns to its routine ways with Matchday 21, this weekend.

With Manchester United hosting bitter rivals Liverpool before Marco Silva’s league bout as Hull City manager against Bournemouth, there’s plenty to look forward in the coming days. But who will the headlines belong to?

1 – Patrick van Aanholt
Position:
Defender
Club: Sunderland
Price: £5.0m

It seems there’s never a time when Sunderland aren’t in desperate need of points and Saturday’s reception of the Premier League’s typical middle-ground club, Stoke City, shall be no different.

Under adverse circumstances to what the table tells us, Sunderland are unbeaten in their last three home fixtures, whereas their opponents have lived dangerously on the road with 19 goals conceded in their 10 away fixtures so far this season.

Patrick van Aanholt has often been someone the Black Cats can rely upon for a goal contribution or two, claiming three for himself in this very campaign, so if David Moyes’ men are to build up a bit more momentum in their fight for survival this week against a Stoke side that aren’t ticking as well as they could be, the Dutch full-back might well have a hand in doing so.

3 Big Investments You Need To Make For Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week

There’s every chance that it could be another weekend filled with goals, given the sheer amount of relegation “six-pointers” and high-profile clashes coming our way in Gameweek 17 of the Premier League.

Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad Stadium and this season’s first instalment of the Merseyside derby stick out like a sore thumb, but pay special attention to West Ham United hosting Hull City, the clash down on the south coast between Bournemouth and Southampton, Sunderland versus Watford, and many more potentially goal-infested games.

With the festive period over the horizon, we appreciate Fantasy Premier League won’t be the first thing on your mind, which is why this week’s edition of Fresh Football’s tip-offs is dedicated to those players you should look to invest in while you take your eye of the ball. Here are our choices:

Michail Antonio
Club:
West Ham United
Position: Midfield
Price: £6.7m

After appearing totally downbeat a fortnight ago in response to West Ham’s 5-1 meltdown at home to Arsenal, Slaven Bilić and his men have managed to grab onto some form with a bounce-back 2-2 draw at Anfield to Liverpool and a 1-0 win over a resilient Burnley side in midweek.

The picture looks brighter ahead of Hull’s trip to east London, with the Irons taking on Swansea City and Leicester City following Saturday, all subsequently languishing alongside them in the bottom half of the table.

West Ham have the opportunity to kick-start a revival and in Michail Antonio, the goal scorer in their 2-2 draw against Liverpool and currently with seven league goals to his name, they have a potential hero guide them out of a precarious situation.

2 – Alexis Sanchez
Club:
Arsenal
Position: Midfield
Price: £11.7m

Sunday’s clash sees a reunion between Alexis Sanchez and his former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, who’s had his fair share of success up against Arsenal in European competitions over the years. The Gunners will be without key man Shkodran Mustafi, sorely missed in their 2-1 defeat versus Everton on Tuesday, but list of absentees in the blue half of Manchester also goes a long way into opening up this clash.

Sergio Agüero headlines the list of players Guardiola can’t count on ahead of their next fixture, as he serves part of his four-game suspension, whereas midfield general Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are joined by İlkay Gündoğan on the sidelines, likely to be out for up to eight months!

Guardiola will be tasked with averting Arsenal’s recent unbeaten run against City, currently without a loss in their last five league meetings, but if they continue to expose themselves as much as they have done with expansive football directly from the back-line, in particular with Sanchez and co. sniffing around, they could land themselves in deep trouble.

The Chilean leading the line for the Gunners has proved to be a revolutionary feature in north London this season, thus far leading the Premier League’s goal scoring charts with Chelsea’s Diego Costa on 12 goals, and with a double-header at home coming up against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace into the New Year, there could well be more to come from Sanchez, starting Sunday.

Theo Walcott is a valid alternative, despite his poor show at Goodison Park this Tuesday, off the back of two goals in Arsenal’s last two home games, as well as occasionally popping up on the score sheet against City over the years.

3 – Diego Costa
Club: Chelsea
Position: Forward
Price: £10.2m

Winning ten out of their last ten games in the Premier League, leading the table by six points, Chelsea are without a doubt the in-form team in the division. A portion of that is owed to Diego Costa, goal scorer of the winning goal versus West Brom last weekend and owner of 11 more throughout this season, with the Spain international promising more from his startling performances.

Next up for Antonio Conte’s man is a date with Crystal Palace; an away trip that is sure to test the Blues’ endurance in what can be considered a gap year for the side relieved of its European duties in midweek, as opposed to many of their title rivals. Chelsea’s last outing on Wednesday saw them settle for a 1-0 win against relegation candidates Sunderland.

Crystal Palace are coming off a strenuous task themselves, however, as they were sunk by an 88th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner in a 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United, so the fitness worries are also there for the club that’s conceded 31 goals already this season.

Can Costa add to that count? We wouldn’t bet against it, whereas the all-action striker also has winnable home fixtures against Bournemouth and Stoke City to top up his goal scoring antics following Saturday’s early kick-off.

Player Ratings Out Of 10 For All The Everton and Arsenal Players

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Everton’s Premier League clash at home to Arsenal on Tuesday night:

Everton

Maarten Stekelenburg – 6

Nothing spectacular from the Dutch goalkeeper in between the sticks, but he did provide a few successful ‘Cruyff turns’ on Arsenal’s stars that went down well with sections of the home crowd. His experience throughout periods of the game were also an invaluable feature in Everton riding spells of Gunners attacks, cutting the impetus.

Seamus Coleman – 7

A typical, tenacious Seamus Coleman performance, completed by the goal late into the first-half that brought the Toffees level.

Ashley Williams – 7

From zero to hero – the Welsh defender was at the centre of Arsenal’s first goal, deflecting Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick past Stekelenburg, but the ex-Swansea skipper more than made up for his less than fortunate moment with an 86th minute winner.

Phil Jagielka – 6.5

Solid alongside Williams and pivotal in the build-up that led to his defensive partner’s late heroics, but the former Sheffield United man will be ruing a late tackle that saw Mark Clattenburg brandish a red card upon him, subsequently ruling him out of the Merseyside derby next Monday.

Leighton Baines – 8.5

The English left back was on top form versus Theo Walcott, picked up an assist for Coleman’s equaliser and was on hand to salvage Everton with an 11th hour clearance off the line from Alex Iwobi’s shot in the dying seconds of the game.

James McCarthy – 6.5

Lifted the crowd with some borderline tackles which, ultimately, Everton benefited from over the course of both halves.

Idrissa Gana Gueye – 6.5

Alongside McCarthy at the base of midfield, Gueye’s energy was priceless in maintaining Everton’s often relentless tempo and making things uncomfortable for Arsenal through constant pressure.

Ross Barkley – 6

A better performance from the under-fire Englishman, who on another day might well have chipped in with a goal or two with the chances he had to either score or assist.

Aaron Lennon – 4.5

The ex-Tottenham Hotspur winger put a shift in when required to do so, but he was, ultimately, disappointing in the final third.

Enner Valencia – 7

Among his best performances for his new club, Valencia ran the channels well and ensured an uncomfortable night for Nacho Monreal with his pace.

Romelu Lukaku – 6.5

An incredibly sacrificial display from Lukaku, often hanging within Laurent Koscielny’s radius to occupy Arsenal’s star defender for the benefit of his teammates. The Belgian’s link-up play from direct balls proved to be sound, despite rarely threatening to beat Petr Cech himself.

Subs:

Kevin Mirallas – 5

The winger came on to refresh the left flank when replacing Aaron Lennon, but didn’t have much success up against Hector Bellerin.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – N/A

Ramiro Funes Mori – N/A

Arsenal

Petr Cech – 6.5

There was little the Czech Republican could do for both headed goals scored by Everton, but Cech did come up with a big save to deny Jagielka just moments before Williams’ winner.

Hector Bellerin – 6.5

The Spaniard grew into the game from an offensive aspect, meanwhile keeping both Lennon and Mirallas at bay on the right flank.

Gabriel Paulista – 6

Filling in for the injured Shkodran Mustafi after spells at right back, Gabriel appeared to have made the smooth transition back into the heart of the defence, initially, but the likes of Valencia and Lukaku did get the better of the Brazilian on a few occasions as the game opened up.

Laurent Koscielny – 7.5

Busy with Lukaku in his peripheral view, the Frenchman dealt with much that came his way.

Nacho Monreal – 6

A game of phases for Monreal. At times he looked troubled, in particular when in foot races next to Valencia, but there were also moments when the experienced left back was on hand to trouble the Everton back line with associative play on the flank.

Granit Xhaka – 5.5

The Swiss midfielder failed to impose himself on a hectic, end-to-end game, and how Arsenal could have done with someone to set the tempo on a night filled with disappointment.

Francis Coquelin 6.5

Played his part in combating Everton’s tenacity, pressing with success himself and winning his fair of 50/50s that kept Arsenal somewhat competitive in the middle of the park.

Theo Walcott – 4.5

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Walcott was never in the game.

Mesut Özil – 4.5

The pace of the game blew past the German playmaker, who will also be kicking himself for missing a great opportunity to make it 2-1 to Arsenal midway through the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 4.5

Another who never managed to leave his imprint on the game, cutting a frustrated figure on Arsenal’s left flank and committing his fair share unnecessary fouls as a consequence.

Alexis Sanchez – 7

Looked to be the likeliest Arsenal player to tip the balance all night after scoring the first goal of the game, but too many of his teammates just weren’t on the same wavelength.

Subs:

Olivier Giroud – 4.5

The Frenchman’s introduction didn’t quite have the desired effect the Gunners imagined him to have, as Everton pushed up their defensive line and made it difficult for the target man to spearhead Arsenal’s counters through a natural lack of pace.

Alex Iwobi – 5

Promised more than both Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain from wide areas when coming on, but his general passing game was a little off in crucial moments.

Lucas Perez – N/A

Arsenal Are The Real Deal & Can Win The Premier League This Season

Arsenal picked up 3 points away from home on Saturday evening in what could’ve been a tricky away fixture for the title-chasing Gunners.

But in the end, it was a relatively straightforward win with the Gunners dominating in the first half but only managing to go into the break with a 1-goal lead. That goal came from Francis Coquelin making a key interception and that freed Alexis Sanchez who unselfishly gave the ball to Mesut Ozil, allowing the German to tap into an empty net.

The second half saw West Ham come into the game more than Arsenal fan will have liked, but they were still restricted to very few openings as the Gunners defence stood strong. It was then time for Alexis Sanchez to once again show his quality. Starting as the lone striker, the Chilean looked so confident and was quality with pretty much everything he did. He doubled Arsenal’s lead with a brilliant individual run, and most impressive was the finish. Striking from a tight angle, he found the bottom corner with aplomb, and it helped highlight the difference in quality between Alexis and most of the other players on the pitch.

It wasn’t long before the little Chilean made all the difference again, striking from the edge of the box and finding the bottom left corner with an unstoppable, accurate finish. There was a scare for Arsenal when Carroll headed in to make it 3-1, but Oxlade-Chamberlain responded immediately and restored the 3-goal lead for the Gunners. Then, a few minutes before full-time, Alexis completed an incredible performance, chipping the goalkeeper to get his hat-trick and make the score 5-1.

Crucially Alexis scored 3 goals and made 1 assist – but what was reassuring about Arsenal’s performance is that they always looked in control. Too many times in the past, Arsenal have crumbled in this kind of game, even when they take the lead. They now look so much more in control and are playing with a new found confidence. The additions of Mustafi and Xhaka to the spine of the team cannot be underestimated and the decision to move Alexis to play through the middle has been a revelation.

I loved the fact that Mustafi was barking orders throughout the game, keeping the defence in line and the midfielders in front of him in check.

With the Chilean’s contract having less than two years to run, many Arsenal fans have called for him to extend his contract, and for Arsenal to give the player the money he wants.

In my opinion, Alexis is up there with the best in the Premier League and tonight showed that. Arsenal really need to keep hold of him, he’s different class. The sooner we wrap up his contract the better, it’s time to loosen the purse strings.

Alexis was not the only star on the day, though – there were encouraging performances from the likes of Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield as it appeared Arsene Wenger finally found his midfield rhythm.

With this kind of performance and with the new signings settling in so well, Arsenal must truly be considered title challengers now.

They have quality players in every position and every title winning team has a main man, Arsenal’s is without a doubt Alexis and he proved that with a brilliant hat-trick.

The Gunners have passed several tests already this season that show they are a changed team. They dismantled Chelsea, and apart from the opening day of the season, where only half the team was there, they are undefeated in the league. You can rightly say that West Ham were very poor, but it is unusual and refreshing for Arsenal to still have not lost an away game when you consider the strength of all the teams in the Premier League.

Arsenal Fans Delighted With This Man’s Amazing Display vs. West Ham

Arsenal put in an outstanding performance at the London Stadium on Saturday evening, making light work of West Ham, brushing their London rivals aside, winning 5-1 in a completely dominant display.

Alexis Sanchez took full advantage of a defensive error from West Ham to give Arsenal the lead in the first half, laying the ball across to Mesut Ozil, who was left with the easiest of tap-ins.

Arsenal continued to dominate proceedings going into the second half, and Alexis Sanchez managed to double the Gunners’ lead in the 72nd minute, and then scoring Arsenal’s third on the 80th. West Ham managed to pull a goal back through Andy Caroll, but this was quickly cancelled out by an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal to put the Gunners 4-1 up.

It was a beautiful performance from the Chilean and you don’t need statistics to show you that, but here’s some anyway. Crucially he scored 3 goals and made 1 assist. He had 5 shots, 4 of them on target and 3 goals. He was also very creative, making 5 key passes on the night. He completed 3 dribbles, 2/2 long balls and 47 passes in total.

Sanchez completed the Arsenal rout with just four minutes of normal time to go, with an exquisite chip over the goalkeeper. Here is how the Arsenal fans on Twitter reacted to the Chilean’s performance.

Although West Ham are not in the best of form, the 5-1 win sends a real statement out to the rest of the Premier League. Sanchez has been a key figure for the Gunners this season, and you can certainly question where the Gunners would be without him. As long as he plays well, the team plays well and Arsenal will need him to stay fit, as the Premier League title is within their reach, especially following this emphatic win.

3 Players You Need In Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week ft. Arsenal & Manchester City Players

As always, we update you with our weekly overview of players to look out for ahead of the Premier League action for your fantasy football team. With the North London Derby on the horizon, Manchester United’s struggles, Leicester City gaining momentum and Manchester City blossoming, here are three stars to keep tabs on for your fantasy football team ahead of a cracking weekend of football.

1) – Alexis Sanchez
Club: Arsenal
Position: Striker
Cost: £11.4m

Arsenal, who are unbeaten since the opening weekend of the new season sit joint top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of their North London clash with Tottenham Hotspur which promises to be exciting as always. Ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium, we take a look at why we feel Alexis Sanchez should be in everyone’s teams this upcoming weekend.

Firstly, he is thriving in the new number 9 role he is playing for the Gunners, if he isn’t scoring goals he is creating chances galore whilst menacing defences, the impressive Arsenal star has six goals thus far this season whilst creating a majestic 20 chances. Spurs’ defender Toby Alderweireld remains a major doubt for the game, Sanchez could find it that bit easier without the Belgians presence.

The Chilean has been in inspired form with six Premier League goals thus far, and will almost guarantee to be a big player for the Gunners this weekend, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.

‘He’s The Best Player In The Premier League Right Now’ Twitter Raves About Arsenal Forward

Arsenal moved to the top of the league (at least temporarily) after a convincing 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon. There were two goals from both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud as the Gunners players earned lots of plaudits for digging in late on. 

Alexis was the man of the match as he showed not just that he could score goals, but that he can also hold up the ball very well, connect the play really well and hold it up really well. He even scored a headed goal, beating the much taller Sunderland defender to the ball and glancing it into the far corner. He’s becoming a complete striker and some are even suggesting that he could now be the best in the Premier League.

We take a look at the numbers behind the Chilean’s quality performance. Firstly he earned a magnificent WhoScored match rating of 9.54. He had 3 shots, scoring with two of them. 1 key pass, 5 successful dribbles, attempted 3 long balls, 2 of them being accurate. He was also at his usual best in his workrate, tirelessly defending and attacking and causing huge problems for Sunderland – making 1 interception and 1 tackle. It was almost a faultless performances from him. The only thing you can criticise is when he sometimes overdoes it, but when you have a player capable of such quality, you’ve sometimes got to let them overdo it a bit, because when it works, it makes the difference.

What I liked in Alexis’ play today was his all-round game. He dropped deep and linked the play well, but when he needed to be in the box, he usually was. This was demonstrated with his instinctive attacking header to give the Gunners the lead in the first half.

Read more: Arsenal’s Player Ratings vs. Sunderland

We take a look at how Twitter reacted to Alexis’ brace and all-round quality performance. It seems he is now not just being talked about as Arsenal’s best player, but perhaps the best player in the league altogether.

With Olivier Giroud now back in the squad (and scoring), Alexis cannot afford for his game to drop. I expect he will keep his place as a striker, but with Giroud hungry to win his place back and also doing everything right so far, Alexis needs to maintain this form – if he can, then he can prove himself as the best in the league. Arsenal fans will now hope he signs that contract…

 

3 Must Haves In Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week: Ft. Arsenal, Man Utd & Stoke Players

There’s sure to be a handful of frights, thrills and horror spills to go with a Halloween weekend of football and, as always, Fresh Football will strive to be ahead of the curve in advising you on your Fantasy Football choices ahead of Gameweek 10 in the Premier League. Here’s who to keep tabs on:

1 – Chris Smalling

Club: Manchester United
Position: Defender
Price: £5.9m

Halloween came early for José Mourinho and his Manchester United side last weekend when succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chris Smalling played a notable role in the Red Devils’ demise, yet the Englishman remains central to plans of a potential full-blown response from Man United at Old Trafford, welcoming Burnley on Saturday.

The Clarets have scored just once in three Premier League fixtures away from home, and even without Eric Bailly next to him, we think Smalling and co. should have enough about them to thwart Sean Dyche’s team at home, or score a goal himself in what *should* be a standard United win.

The hosts will have to be wary, however, with key man Andre Gray returning from a four-game-ban to hand out some retribution of his own to his teammates and fans.

3 Must Have’s For Your Fantasy Football Teams: A “Striker-less” Edition

Back for our weekly overview of players to look out for in Fantasy Premier League football, games such as José Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge and the early season basement battles between Hull City and Stoke City, as well as West Ham United at home to Sunderland, take us into Gameweek 9. Here are three stars to keep tabs on in what promises to be a cracking weekend of football.

1 – Seamus Coleman


Club:
Everton
Position: Defender
Price: £5.5m

Among the madness and hyperbole surrounding a couple of renowned Manchester clubs, Everton are going quietly about their business and, with relative success thus far, have found themselves sitting pretty in the top 6.

And meanwhile all three points have escaped the Toffees’ grasp for over a month now, a hard fought draw away to Manchester City pushes Ronald Koeman’s side into a clash against 14th-placed Burnley, also on a winless streak, with new-found positivity.

Burnley will be without their new signing Steven Defour and star striker Andre Gray when hosting the Merseysiders, whereas the visitors boast a neat record of conceding just three goals on their travels.

Pay close attention to Seamus Coleman in this one, likely to pick up valuable clean sheets and maybe chip in with a goal and/or assist while he’s at it.

What A Performance: 3 Arsenal Players That Excelled In 3-0 Win vs. Chelsea

Arsenal put in a truly dominant display on Saturday evening as they made light work on Chelsea and won 3-0 after a really impressive first half display.

1 – Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez baby, Alexis Sanchez oooo-ooooo. The Chilean had come under criticism for his performance as a lone centre-forward and when he was selected there again against a deep-lying Chelsea defence, eyebrows were certainly raised by many fans. But he proved them all wrong and Arsene Wenger right. The forward’s tenacity and desire forced Gary Cahill into an error and then Alexis showed his quality in front of goal by chipping Courtois in clinical fashion. He also played a big part in the third goal, making an intelligent run before clipping it nicely to Mesut Ozil who volleyed the final nail into Chelsea’s coffin. On paper, Alexis has all the attributes to succeed in that position but finally we are now starting to see that come together on the pitch.

‘He Was Unplayable’ Arsenal Fans Druel Over Arsenal Attacker After MOTM Display vs. Chelsea

Arsenal took advantage of a calamitous first half from a lacklustre Chelsea to claim all three points in a big London derby at the Emirates Stadium, running out deserved 3-0 winners.

Chelsea looked to sit back and defend and eventually catch Arsenal on the break in the early stages, but their plan took a turn for the worse when Gary Cahill was caught on the ball by Alexis Sanchez, who ran through and finished to put the Gunners one goal to the good.

Conte’s side were caught out shortly after when Hazard didn’t track back to mark Bellerin, who was allowed by the Belgian to make a run in behind the defence before sliding a ball over to Theo Walcott, who doubled Arsenal’s lead.

As a result, Chelsea had to come out a bit more, and were brutally punished by Arsenal just before the break. Sanchez and Ozil quickly broke before Sanchez fed the ball over to the German. His contact with the shot was far from clean but bounced onto the post and into the back of the net to send Arsenal into the break 3-0 up.

Alexis Sanchez led the line for Arsenal, starting ahead of Lucas Perez and Olivier Giroud. The Chilean put in a terrific performance, and opened the scoring for the Gunners a little over ten minutes in before playing the ball across to Mesut Ozil, who added a third just before half-time.

The forward was extremely effective on the break for the Gunners, creating two chances throughout the game and taking four shots, one of which being the opener.

Sanchez also pressed the ball extremely well throughout the game, forcing the error from Gary Cahill before bursting onto the lose ball to delightfully chip into the back of the net over Courtois. The 27-year-old managed to win 50% of his tackles and made two further interceptions. The goalscorer rarely made a misplaced pass, completing 81% of his attempted passes.

Arsenal fans took to Twitter following the thumping win over Chelsea to heap praise onto the forward and fellow teammates.

Fresh Football Team of the Week: Ft. 3 Arsenal, 2 Chelsea, 1 Man Utd & 1 Liverpool Player

This is the Fresh Football team of the week for Gameweek 3. 

Michel Vorm – Tottenham

Despite Danny Rose’ second half equaliser, Mauricio Pochettino can have Hugo Lloris’ deputy, Michel Vorm, to thank for his side sharing the spoils with Liverpool at White Hart Lane. The Dutch goalkeeper made a crucial save early on to deny Philipp Coutinho from close range, whereas he was also on hand to snuff out the dangers posed by Sadio Mané rushing towards his goal on two separate occasions.

Héctor Bellerín – Arsenal

It was almost like a return home for Héctor Bellerín, who spent time out on loan to Watford in the season prior to his big Arsenal breakthrough. In that vein, Bellerín made himself feel at ease down the right flank, additionally leading a couple of dangerous counter-attacks in the second half that could have seen the hosts lose sight of the Gunners in a hotly-contested affair between the two London neighbours.

Joel Matip – Liverpool

As far as debuts go, there can’t be many complaints about keeping a 25-goal Harry Kane quiet, in particular with Vincent Janssen alongside the Englishman to deflect attention. Three interceptions and 11 clearances rounded off a promising start from Joël Matip in a Liverpool shirt.

Papy Djilobodji – Sunderland

Saturday’s performance versus Southampton shows there may have been some science behind Chelsea picking Papy Djilobodji up from Nantes last summer, who, alongside the coveted Lamine Koné, would have led Sunderland to their first victory of the season had it not been for an unfortunate blunder by Jordan Pickford between the sticks.

Daley Blind – Manchester United

Few would have expected José Mourinho to conform to Louis van Gaal’s habits, in particular that of placing the aesthetically inadequate figure of Daley Blind at centre back. The performances have been very sound, however, much like last season, and last Saturday’s display versus Hull City makes it increasingly tricky for the new Man United boss to justify replacing him with someone like Chris Smalling in the first XI.

Danny Drinkwater – Leicester City

The Danny Drinkwater of old? After the heartbreak of being left out of England’s Euro 2016 squad in France, the ex-Manchester United man was back to doing what he knows best – assisting Jamie Vardy with a pass over the top. A pretty decent one at that, too!

N’Golo Kante – Chelsea

The France international is proving to be an instant hit at Stamford Bridge, just as he was in his time with the current Premier League champions. On top of the two tackles and interceptions made, N’Golo Kanté’s 93.6% pass accuracy culminated in another dominant, yet fascinatingly simplistic performance by the ex-Leicester City man.

Granit Xhaka – Arsenal

In a hope of things to come by Arsenal fans, Granit Xhaka’s range of passing was on full show versus Watford at Vicarage Road, as he racked up the most passes (71) made throughout the encounter with a 85.9% success rate.

Raheem Sterling – Manchester City

The former Liverpool man’s rich form continues with a brace against West Ham United, with his second solo effort in the dying moments of the game being the particular highlight.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

On the topic of wingers being back to their best, Eden Hazard leads the way with another idyllic performance reminiscent of his pre-2015/16 season. His goal, coming as early as the 9th minute in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Burnley, proved to be the pick of the bunch.

Alexis Sánchez – Arsenal

Quite a bit has been made of the prospect of Alexis Sánchez leading the line for Arsenal, with his latest exhibition opening up the debate once more. The Chilean excelled with Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla and Granit Xhaka all feeding into his movements, as he earned the Gunners a penalty in the 8th minute, scored their second five minutes shy of the interval and went on to assist the third in a 3-1 victory.

Striker Problem Solved? Wenger Says Arsenal Have Already Signed Their ‘Luis Suarez’

With little time left in the market, Arsenal fans are growing frustrated at the clubs lack of activity, particularly when it comes to signing attacking players. The club are looking to add but Wenger’s latest comments could indicate that he will stick with what he’s got rather than look for external solutions.

Speaking before Saturday evenings game against Leicester City where Alexis is expected to spearhead Arsenal’s attack, Wenger said: “I think it is worth it to try (Alexis at ST) as he has the quality to go behind.”

Although it didn’t work well against Liverpool, Alexis does appear to have the attributes of a good striker and he has shown that for Chile previously, albeit in a two striker formation. Wenger continued: ‘He has similar qualities (to Luis Suarez) It is interesting to see how well he copes. He is technically top.’

A big claim from Arsene, but a true one  – to an extent. Alexis is of a similar build to Suarez, what he lacks is that killer instinct you can only develop when playing as a striker consistently. He needs to play regularly and gain confidence in a central role if he is to succeed there. Many will question his lack of height, but Alexis can hold his own in the air and some of the best strikers in the world, Suarez and Sergio Aguero for example, do not have much in terms of height to offer. In a match where Arsenal may require more of a target, they will be able to put Olivier Giroud through the middle, potentially alongside Alexis.

I think Alexis will look better as a number 9 when more established, top quality midfielders are in support of him. Last week we saw an unfit Aaron Ramsey, out of shape Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi behind Alexis – not the best trio by any means. Mesut Ozil will return soon and so often we have seen the two record Arsenal signings link up brilliantly, perhaps as a number 10 and number 9 that duo could be the most influential when both are in central areas?

The immediate reaction from some fans may be that Alexis struggled against Liverpool up front, but he had several bad games playing as a winger last season. He just needs to get into a rhythm and I think he is more than capable of doing that up top. He is probably the most deadly finisher in the Arsenal squad right now.

The Chilean’s work ethic means that Arsenal can apply pressure from the front and force mistakes from oppponents defenders, we saw this in spells against Liverpool and I think if this were to be well-drilled and practicsed, it could give Arsenal an alternative attacking identity.

Arsene may need to search for an internal solution like this one due to the fact that there is a serious shortage of attacking quality in the market right now. The lack of central strikers of top quality on the market is making it seriously hard. Gonzalo Higuain, who turns 29 later this year moved for nearly £80million. Alexandre Lacazette, a striker who cannot get into the France squad ahead of Andre-Pierre Gignac and Olivier Giroud, will reportedly cost any suitors around £50million. The market is crazy for strikers right now, so perhaps it is a good idea to think of a different solution.

It may be the case that Arsene is still looking to sign a striker, but these comments could simply come as a way of supporting Alexis who is expected to start the next couple of games at least as the clubs main striker. Wenger may be saying stuff like this to try and appease the fans incase his efforts to bring in a new forward do not happen.

In fact Wenger has changed the tone somewhat in terms of who he may or may not be signing recently. He has hinted that he could move for a player in any position, not just a striker. Arsene said he will shop via quality and not position. This, combined with the fact that he has spoken about using Alexis as a striker leads me to believe that the club may be looking to bring in a top quality midfielder instead of a new frontman. Perhaps a wide player like Julian Draxler or even James Rodriguez? With Mesut Ozil and perhaps another big name midfielder supporting the Chilean, maybe the Gunners could finally line up with an exciting front four.

5 Players You Must Have In Your Fantasy Premier League Team

After weeks of gruelling preparation, the time has come for us all to second guess the form of the Premier League’s finest and compile them into our very own fantasy football team. In direct reference to the Premier League’s official instalment of fantasy football, here are Fresh Football’s top five heavyweights for you to swear by in the upcoming season:

1 – David De Gea

Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Manchester United
Price: £5.5m

Fans know exactly what to expect with José Mourinho – watertight defences. Manchester United’s defence didn’t do so badly last season under Louis van Gaal, conceding the least amount of goals all campaign with 35, but when their goal was peppered, David De Gea was there to rescue his team.

The Spain number one has collected three of Manchester United’s Player of the Year awards on the bounce, such is his prominence, and we can expect the former Atlético Madrid man to again be central to any success the Red Devils may have.

Mourinho’s twist on things comes with the added peace of mind for the Spaniard (and fans) that the experiments of defensive midfielders at centre back are, supposedly, long gone, with Man United likely to settle for a duo of Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly for now.

To add to the familiar surroundings set at the heart of defence, Mourinho has a track record of managing excelling goalkeepers. In each of his first seasons at Chelsea (2004/05 & 2013/14), the Portuguese boss’ re-organisation of the defence led to Petr Čech claiming the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets in both campaigns, as Thibaut Courtois missed out on the gong by two clean sheets in his title-winning season of 2014/15.

The price of goalkeepers are all within close proximity of each other, but if you find yourself with the need to relinquish the Man United goalkeeper for whatever reason, Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel, Hugo Lloris from Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City’s Jack Butland could all be interesting bets.

Reports: 4 Big Transfers Arsenal Could Complete In The Coming Weeks

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will certainly be keen to add to his squad this summer after another disappointing season passes. Wenger has been under major pressure from the fans in recent months and will look to rectify his squad weaknesses this summer. Arsenal have already announced the signing of Granit Xhaka this summer and will not stop there, will the club expected to spend around £100 million this summer.

1 – Luciano Vietto

Arsenal will rival Manchester United to the signing of Atletico Madrid’s Luciano Vietto this summer as both clubs look to bolster their attacking options.

Vietto signed for Madrid in June 2015 after successfully securing a move from Villarreal for a fee of €20m (£15.4m).

The 22-year-old has fallen out of favour under Diego Simeone after scoring just three goals in all competitions which has not impressed the Atletico boss, his abysmal form could see him leave Spain this summer.

As reported, Arsenal are desperate to land a striker this summer and Arsene Wenger has now identified Vietto as a potential target after losing out on their number one target Jamie Vardy who has signed new four-year contract with Leicester City.

Vietto has managed 19 games for Atletico this season and has been uninspiring in front of goal, he has managed just 0.09 goals per 90 minutes. Vietto has made 1.03 key passes which has led to him grabbing 0.28 assists. Vietto’s successful take on rate isn’t the best and has managed just 44% but a bit of form and confidence could give him the boost he needs to kick start again.

Although his goal-scoring form would put off many clubs, Arsenal and United will be wary of the 22-year-olds potential. With the right guidance he could easily rekindle his fine form that bagged himself a big money move to Atletico.

Vietto clearly has high hopes and has his sights on playing for Barcelona but could be tempted at the prospect of signing for the Gunners this summer.