As the season edges towards its conclusion and the competitions around the world are coming to their end it is the time where individual honours are considered. In the Premier league, the list for Player of the Season is an exhaustive one and picking a winner is a decisive topic.
For all of Hazard’s scintillating performances for Chelsea and Harry Kane’s heroics at The Lane, it is another player plying his trade in London who should be picking up the end of season prize.
Back in July 2014, when Arsene Wenger finally persuaded Stan Kroenke to delve £35m deep into his pockets, Alexis Sanchez was secured from Barcelona. On the back of a superb World Cup and his most prolific season to date at Barcelona, The Gunners had undoubtedly acquired one of the best talents on the planet.
It was a signing which some expected would help to catapult Arsenal to their first title in over a decade. In that respect some could argue his signature has failed to live up to expectations. But that would be taking an extremely harsh viewpoint on the Chilean’s first campaign in England.
Without the winger’s startlingly impressive early season form, Arsenal would have already faded into the kind of irrelevance their last opponents, Liverpool, now find themselves in. 13 goals in an 18 game spell between October and January kept his side in touch with the early front runners when few of his teammates seemed to have the ability or fight to do likewise.
As can be expected the Chilean’s white hot early season form was to cool. But his performances allowed his teammates to warm to the task.
In only eight months he has become a talismanic figure at The Emirates: a leader on the pitch. The only player whose performances have had such a significant impact on their team is Harry Kane at Tottenham but Sanchez has inspired others; he has led his colleagues to a level that they have rarely reached in their careers.
Mesut Ozil is beginning to flourish, at first independent of Sanchez and maybe even to the detriment of the Chilean. But the duo’s combined performance against Liverpool was enough to strike fear into the heart of every other team in the country.
Sanchez’s first season in England may end without a league trophy but his individual performances have helped to spur his side on, potentially to an FA Cup win and probably to their highest placed League finish in years.
Where you have to feel Kane is peaking in his duties at White Hart Lane, you feel the former Barcelona man still has so much more to offer. He has galvanised a side who felt they could not contend with the big boys anymore and rid them of their inferiority complex.
With one of the very best players in the world they no longer feel fear.
His first year in England has seen him achieve so much and his adaptation to life in English football has been rapid. He has instantly become one of the best players in the nation’s game having had almost no settling period.
Sanchez has simply been the best player in the supposed best league that the world has to offer.