Alexis Sanchez is one player Arsenal will be relying on to continue in his fine form when they host Manchester United on Sunday, but does the Chilean have what it takes to outshine Manchester United’s Anthony Martial?
Sanchez, 26, was afforded an extended break by manager Arsene Wenger after the Copa America success with his national team, and despite posting series of videos on his Instagram page that shows him keeping fitness level during his summer holiday, the reality had opened up for a lengthy waiting game before last Saturday’s humbling of the previously-unbeaten Leicester City – masterminded by the former Barcelona striker.
Premier League leaders Manchester United appeared to have pulled off the most lucrative deal of the summer following the £36m arrival of Frenchman Martial from AS Monaco, especially with the 19-year-old’s stock steadily rising since his goal-scoring debut against Liverpool.
The pair, who boasts of 3 goals apiece come head-to-head this Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal look to bridge a three-point gap between them and United.
The attacking statistics from both players on a per-minute basis as provided by Opta and their fantasy football games www.oulala.com, pits Martial above Sanchez in four key areas despite playing 318 fewer minutes than his opponent.
Minutes per goal/assist
Martial, with a goal ratio of 1/match, has either scored or provided for a team-mate every 52 minutes in his opening three games; a stark contrast from the 175 minutes it took Sanchez to register those stats in his seven games following his slow start to the campaign.
Baring the foreknowledge that Sanchez had not being part of Arsenal’s successful pre-season campaign during the summer makes for easy favouritism when faced with having to choose between one of both in-form forwards; however, the fact that the Chilean, who banged in 16 goals to help Arsenal finish third in the English top flight last season, had waited 437 minutes before recording a goal or an assists this term, makes him the lesser fancied option ahead of what is expected to be an epic battle.
Moreover, he was able to grab his first league hat-trick for the Gunners last weekend; a feat he could not achieve throughout his debut campaign on English soil. Did I just hear Arsenal fans say all roads lead upward from here? Wait a minute.
Goals per shots/ strike rate
While the football world were caught in bewilderment by what it had widely termed a ‘panic buy’ on the part of the Red Devils, Martial wasted no effort in silencing critics of the hefty fee paid Monaco for his service; doing so with just his first shot at goal last month against Liverpool at Old Trafford.
The 1.81m tall striker from Massy, north-eastern France, has 3 goals from just 5 shots with a strike rate that sits at an impressive 60%.
Sanchez’s 20 shots only reflect an 8% conversion rate. He nonetheless added a goal and an assist in the Uefa Champions League home defeat by Olympiacos on Tuesday – meaning Chris Smalling and Daley Blind has to be on their guards.
Martial also enjoys a better shot accuracy than Sanchez, with 60% attempts on target to 55% from the Arsenal man.
Can United’s new teenage sensation continue his terrific form against Arsenal, or has the age-long rivalry between two of the most successful teams in English football come too thick and fast?