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.

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