Arsenal has been accused of repeating history by it recent over reliance on Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean has carried the team’s attacking burden in the last five matches.
Starting from the Hull City match (he opened the scoring and got an assist) Anderlecht away (he got an assist, and was the only player that left the field in Brussels with his reputation still intact) Sunderland (he scored both goals), Burnley (He got two goals from the three scored) Anderlecht home, (he scored a goal, and got an assist)
It is his display over the last month that has elicited this comment from former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore that Arsenal is relying too much on him.
“So often in recent years, Arsenal has been over-reliant on one player. That man has been Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and now Alexis Sanchez. Wenger needs to compliment world-class attacking talent with defensive strength at the back and in midfield.”
There is an element of fact to what he said though, however, Arsenal’s current reliance on Alexis Sanchez should be looked at against the backdrop that several players that could have shared the attacking burden with him are currently out injured.
Although Theo Walcott is making is way back to match fitness.
And it should also be noted that the injury to Mesut Ozil reduced Arsenal’s creativity, a situation that contributed to why Arsene Wenger moved Alexis Sanchez to the middle which has yielded huge gains.
The Chilean is currently revelling in the responsibility he has been given which is aided by the absence of other key players.
When these players return, the reliance of the last month should be less.
The bit that Stan Collymoore did not mention as to do with the Chilean’s overall game, there is nobody in the current Arsenal team that works as hard as Alexis Sanchez.
The goals and assist are not just the only part of his game.
His desire and energy have been get to watch, it is a departure from the past especially during the time of the aforementioned Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas where such desire was in short supply, Arsenal’s reliance on Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas was purely based on goals and assist, whereas Alexis Sanchez is a different animal because he comes with an holistic package being a hard worker whose head does not get down, and he does not sulk when things are not going well for him on the field of play.
Where Stan Collymoore hits the nail on the head is the issue of the defence that Arsene Wenger has failed to address over the years.
The departures of Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri robbed Arsenal of some it best assembled attacking players, they could not achieve much because of the same defensive issue.
Now that Arsene Wenger has again assembled some attacking players, the team remains unbalance because of the endemic defensive issues, the situation is complicated because for all the quality of attacking players Arsenal has, the quality in defence is a shamble for a club the status of Arsenal.
A club with just one recognised centre half in its last five matches cannot be said to be ambitious, and for all Arsenal’s riches in attack, the defence would continue to be the club’s undoing as this season has shown.