Manchester United vs Tottenham: 5 reasons why Alexis Sanchez could be key for the Red Devils
Alexis Sanchez starred in Manchester United's otherwise dismal preseason outing. He looked fit, sharp and ready to shine for United this season. Even though he did not score in United’s opening fixture against Leicester, he had a pretty decent game.
He played 37 passes, sprayed the ball well, had 59 touches on the ball and also sent Lukaku through on goal once. Had the Belgian not missed a sitter, Sanchez would have picked up an assist.
However, trouble brew just before the away game at the Amex Stadium against Brighton. Sanchez picked up an injury and did not travel with the squad. Mourinho opted for the talented Martial to start in place of the Chilean, but the Frenchman did little to affect the game.
Against the pressing game of the Brighton, United missed the trickery of Alexis Sanchez. Martial put in another abject performance, as he could manage only 33 touches in the game and attempted just 20 passes before he was replaced by Fellaini, as United went on to lose 3-2.
As such, Manchester United will be desperate to have the Chilean fit and running before Tottenham visit Old Trafford on Monday Night. Since the Brighton game, Sanchez has provided an update on his fitness, stating that he is already back in training. Only time will tell if the mercurial Chilean would feature against Spurs, but here are 5 reasons why Manchester United will be needing him on Monday:
#5 His defensive tenacity
Sanchez is quite strong while tracking back and harrying the opposition defence. Since joining the Premier League, he has attempted 212 tackles and 113 interceptions. It is this aspect of his game that highly appeals to Mourinho.
Last season, Sanchez completed 21 tackles, which was more than both Rashford (14) and Martial (15). He tries to play a lot of forward passes and as a result, has a tendency to lose the ball quite often.
Unlike others, Sanchez puts his head down and rushes back to retrieve those lost balls. His return is eagerly anticipated at Old Trafford, not only because of his attacking prowess but also for his defensive contributions.
His presence enables United to be more ambitious in midfield because he will be one of the players who will track back when required. To add to his tenacity, the Chilean does not shy away from getting his hands (or legs) dirty when required. United will require all these attributes on display at Old Trafford on Monday if they are to beat Mauricio Pochettino's side.