Sanchez dilemma laid bare against Crystal Palace
Alexis Sanchez was Arsenal's match-winner against Crystal Palace, scoring twice as they claimed a 3-2 victory, but what happens next? With the January transfer window fast approaching, we take a look at the dilemma facing Arsene Wenger. Sanchez has frustrated Arsenal fans with some belowpar displays this season, contributing just five goals and three assists in his first 16 Premier League appearances compared to 12 goals and five assists at the same stage of the last campaign, but he did not disappoint at Selhurst Park, adding two more goals to his tally to clinch a valuable victory.
Sanchez shone from the start, twice playing in Mesut Ozil with through balls in the first half, but it was after Andros Townsend had cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi's opener that he truly came to life. He put Arsenal back in front with a clinical snap-shot from Alexandre Lacazette's lay-off, and got the decisive third with a brilliant touch and finish from Jack Wilshere's pass.
The man-of-the-match performance was a fitting response to recent criticism, but it also served to underline the dilemma facing Arsene Wenger. As Sanchez enters the final six months of his contract and amid continued interest from Manchester City, do Arsenal attempt to cash in now? Or do they risk losing him - like teammate Mesut Ozil - on a free at the end of the season?
"Arsenal have brought it on themselves," said Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness. "It's their problem and they have to deal with it. If someone comes in in the January window, I think they would take a cheque because, although he gets a couple of goals tonight, I don't think he has been bang at it this year compared to what he has given Arsenal in the past. He has not been anywhere near that."
"I agree with Graeme on a certain level," added Thierry Henry. "We are talking about something they created themselves. You are going to miss Alexis Sanchez if he leaves and you are going to miss Mesut Ozil, because they are quality players.