Manchester United suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat against Sevilla on Tuesday night to exit the Champions League at the last 16 stage. One of the players wearing the United shirt on Tuesday was Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez.
The energetic star arrived in January in a straight swap deal that saw Armenian playmaker Henrik Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal. The deal seemed like a good one all around. However, Sanchez has endured a difficult first few months at Old Trafford. It begs the question, has the Red Devils made a mistake signing Sanchez?
Sanchez just not fitting in
I am a big fan of Sanchez, having watched a lot of the Chilean at both Barcelona and Arsenal, there is little doubt he is a top player on his day. However, since his arrival in Manchester, he has struggled to produce the sort of form he did at the top of his game in north London.
Sanchez’s form towards the end of his Arsenal career was not great. Some assumed his relatively poor output was because of the distraction of talk about his future and a move elsewhere.
That excuse can no longer be made for the 29-year-old, as the player has now moved on to a club where he wants to play his football. Sanchez has not fitted into the Red Devils team and he must start having an impact.
Affected the team dynamics
For me, as good a player as Sanchez is, signing him may have been overkill by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils have already got attacking players in abundance.
The likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku are all in their mid-to-early twenties. These players can be devastating to an opposition team on their day.
There is also French midfielder Paul Pogba, who is at his best when marauding forward. In recent weeks he has found himself on the bench and is struggling for form when he is on the pitch.
Then there is the vision and skill of Spanish playmaker Juan Mata, who at times has been highly inconsistent for the Red Devils. However, played in the right position, the former Valencia star can be a highly productive player for any team.
Mourinho decided to leave Mata on the bench against Sevilla and only send him on when they were desperate for a goal. I would have started Mata, Rashford and Martial behind Lukaku. That quartet would have provided pace, power and flair. Instead, United were very flat going forward.
The arrival of Sanchez seems to have disruption the team dynamic. Arguably, Sanchez’s arrival has had a negative effect on the squad and team at Old Trafford.
United concentrating on a strong finish
Manchester United no longer have to worry about the Champions League. The Red Devils can now concentrate on clinching an automatic Champions League spot and winning the FA Cup.
Mourinho’s men are currently odds of 3/10 to beat Brighton in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend. I suppose one trophy is better than nothing if they can go all the way.
However, the competitions that really matter to Manchester United fans are the Premier League and Champions League. The United players let down everybody connected with the club on Tuesday night.
I am not singling out Sanchez for criticism, but he lost the ball 20 times against Sevilla, which is quite remarkable for one player. His signing was supposed to improve United. However, it seems almost like Mourinho is trying to accommodate Sanchez and it comes at the expense of other players.
Alexis Sanchez may prove to be a good signing in the end. However, United fans must be questioning his place in the team right now after Tuesday’s display.
Has United made a mistake by signing Alexis Sanchez?
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