By Walter Broeckx
My boss was right. Ah, aren’t they always right you might say. Well let us leave that in the middle. Because my boss has made some mistakes in his life. Like when he decided to support a team like Barcelona. That surely can only be seen as a big mistake. But apart from that he is a nice boss. And him being a politician is maybe also something that speaks against him. But well we all have our defaults.
Now of course I don’t want to talk about my job as you might find a boring. You are here to talk about football. And about football we will talk.
I still remember the day when the rumour of Alexis going to Arsenal was getting to heights that you might say: OK, there might be a little bit of truth in the rumours. In the days before the moaners were moaning about the fact that Wenger was seen in Brazil even enjoying himself when playing some football on the beach. How dare he enjoying himself!
But as usual the moments the camera’s were not in place Wenger was working for Arsenal in silence. And his contact with Alexis Sanchez brought us our little Chilean forward.
When my boss came in to the town hall and saw me he said to me: “Walter I am really unhappy about this. Alexis will leave Barcelona and go to Arsenal. And I am angry because they are willing to let him go”. The news he was getting from Barcelona was that the deal was 100% done. Nothing yet on Arsenal.com but he was 100% certain about it. And 200% unhappy.
Now I admit I stopped watching most of other football apart from Arsenal.I had heard the name Alexis before. But I didn’t see him play that much. Looking at his stats he looked to be a good player. But I honestly admit I didn’t see much of him up to that point. But my boss travels to Barcelona a few times a year and watches them on TV most of the time. So he must know a bit about them.
“Walter,” he said: “I know for sure that Arsenal will love him. I love him more than Messi (wow!). He is my favourite player for the moment.” Of course I asked him why is he that special. And he said: “you will see. He is the hardest working forward I have ever seen. He never stops. He always is busy. Always putting pressure on the opponents, always making life difficult for them. And he can score goals. Easy tap ins but also the most beautiful goals you will see”.
My boss was really pissed off about him leaving his favourite team. I don’t know if my boss has found another favourite player yet. But I must admit that all that he said about Alexis was true. A politician that keeps his promises! Have you ever seen that? Of course they weren’t political promises. It was just his personal view on a football player that I didn’t know. But as I knew that my boss is someone who knows a thing or two about football and follows it with passion I trusted him.
And when the news became official and after having done my youtube scouting work I was completely convinced that we might have a great player added to our team. So by then I was really excited about Alexis Sanchez.
And now after Alexis has been an Arsenal player for 3 months I can completely understand my boss. I would invite you to spend 90 minutes of your existence on this earth and watch the Sunderland – Arsenal match again.
And then you will notice that not everything Alexis touches turns in to gold. But if there is one Arsenal player that loses the ball that will chase down the field to win it back it will probably be Alexis. If there is one player that will chase the ball that goes to the other keeper it will be Alexis 8 out of 10 times. Might be 7 as Welbeck also did a superb job last weekend. But Alexis goes deeper to the keeper. Scares him more. And that lead to our second goal.
If there is one player that will chase defenders and force them to hurry up and make mistakes it is likely that it will be Alexis. And thus creating our first goal. When Mertesacker cleared the ball and pumped it up field Alexis was maybe 20 meters inside our own half. And he then started chasing a lost cause it seems as Brown was maybe 10 metres in the Sunderland half.
Even Cattermole trying to block him without the ball couldn’t stop the little Chilean from running past everyone. I don’t think Brown knew what flew past him when he tried to connect with the ball. Was it a plane? Is it a bird? No it was Alexis Sanchez at full speed. And then that delicate finish. It reminded me of Vela with his lovely touch at times.
That he will work hard every second of every game is what made my boss love Alexis so much. And now I completely understand him. He is quick, hard working and very brave if you look at how he copes with the dangerous and reckless tackles he has suffered so far this season. He never gives up and that attitude is amazing to see.
With each game I think to myself: my boss was right. On that anyway. And Barcelona their loss will be our gain he said. Well it sure has been that way so far. Alexis Sanchez is 25 years. So still has a few years in front of him. And we all know how Wenger can improve strikers. Ask Thierry Henry, ask Adebayor, ask Van Persie….
I know it is easy to praise a player when things are going his way. But he will have bad games also. But then we will not call him out about that. Because we know what he can do and what he will do: work his socks off. And that is all I want him to do. And I somehow think that is something he will do. And more.
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