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3 reasons why Alexis Sanchez will shine under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Nurein Ahmed
ANALYST
Feature
4.94K   //    30 Dec 2018, 17:52 IST

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League

The appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United’s caretaker manager has instilled the feel-good factor once more at Old Trafford. For one player, the change of management has been greeted with a huge sigh of relief.

When Manchester United completed the player-swap deal with Arsenal for the transfer of Alexis Sanchez, the noise coming from the North West was that United had finally got the man fit to wear their famous No.7 shirt. However, the Chilean’s struggles have been vindicated with a return of just one league goal this term, and had been in and out of the team before his injury nightmare. Jose Mourinho’s sacking has been a blessing in disguise for so many misfiring Man United players, and Sanchez is one of them.

Sanchez had been away in his native Chile nursing a hamstring injury that kept him out for almost six weeks. Ironically, his return to Manchester coincided with Mourinho’s departure. While the Portuguese tactician was the reason behind Sanchez’s arrival to United - a deal that took Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal- it is fair to say Sanchez did not fit in Mourinho’s plans. His omission from the first team on a regular basis, for a player who once set alight the Premier League while at Arsenal, was a big surprise. But since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the reins at United, and voicing his opinion that this will be a fresh start for every player, Sanchez could have a second opportunity to impress.

Solskjaer used his programme notes ahead of United’s Premier League meeting against Bournemouth to discuss Sanchez and Lukaku, both of whom are expected to be in the 18-man squad to face The Cherries. It will be interesting to see whether Sanchez’s 12 months of hell are finally over, but here are three reasons why United fans should be positive about the former Arsenal striker’s return to training.

#1 New Manager, new system and new start

Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

The change of management has very much changed the fortunes of Manchester United. While it is just two games, it is evident from United’s style of play that the players are relishing playing under Solskjaer than Mourinho. Paul Pogba is a prime example.

Alexis Sanchez could benefit from the same. Mourinho never really utilized Sanchez’s abilities, often deploying him wide left, right and occasionally as a No.9. This will definitely change under Solskjaer and we expect to see a permanent role for Chilean rather than being shuffled across the front-line.

#2 United moving the ball quicker

Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

Again, there will be much sterner tests for the Red Devils in the coming weeks, but Solskjaer has acknowledged there is quality in every Premier League team, so we should not underestimate Manchester United’s results against the so-called lesser team in which they played with much ambition and urgency.

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United under Mourinho were so often playing pedestrian football, and when playing against the top teams or Champions League away matches, they resonated to playing defensive football. This impacted greatly on their forward line players including Sanchez. There was the famous Paul Pogba interview when he demanded that United should attack, following their defeat to Brighton. This was the start of a tumultuous relationship between Mourinho and the Frenchman. Pogba was inevitably right, since the likes of Sanchez, Rashford and Martial never really performed.

#3 Potential front-line of Rashford, Sanchez and Martial

Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League
Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League

It is hard to imagine how Mourinho never really utilised the trio of Rashford, Sanchez and Martial more often. There was a glimpse of it at the Vitality Stadium earlier this season when their link play was impressive. Sanchez played as a No.9 on that day with Rashford and Martial on either flank. The Chilean set up the equalizing goal for Martial and Marcus Rashford netted the winner.

United’s next opponents this weekend are Bournemouth, but it will be a game too early for Sanchez to be involved. However, with games coming thick and fast this festive period, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will most likely unleash the trio at some point.

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