Sanchez, Ozil show class as Arsenal drub Man United 3-0
ALEXIS Sanchez's superb first-half double helped give Arsenal a 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday in a dominant display that propelled the London club into second place in the Premier League.
Arsenal decided the game in the opening 20 minutes after a furious start at the Emirates. Sanchez's sublime backheel-flick at the near post opened the scoring in the sixth minute, and Mesut Ozil doubled the lead a minute later when he coolly curled the ball home after being set up by Theo Walcott.
Sanchez's second was a fierce shot from the edge of the area in the 20th after a quick Arsenal passing move. It was Sanchez's fifth goal in two league matches after his hat trick against Leicester last week.
He set the tone for Arsenal as the side launched into United with an intensity that Louis van Gaal’s club simply couldn’t handle.
“That 25-minute period, no one could have dealt with us,” said striker Theo Walcott, who set up Ozil's goal and was a constant threat with his pace up front. “That sends a message to the Premier League that we're here to be reckoned with.”
From then on Arsenal sat back protecting the score line with organisation and discipline.
It was the kind of Arsenal performance that we became used to at the start of the century but has long faded from the memories of supporters that haven’t seen the team win the title since 2004.
“To win in a big game is always a statement and we are in it,” said Wenger in his post-match press conference. “We are two points off the leaders. I hope the result today will give us belief and ambition to fight for it. That’s what you want in games of this stature.
“We started very high at a great pace and we did that very well. After we decided to play with discipline and I think we did that very well. So we had two aspects of our game that were very good today and answered your questions from the last week.”
Sanchez was at the heart of it, ably supported by Ozil’s brilliance between the lines. Arsenal’s two most expensive signings showed the value of investing in proven quality in the transfer market.
So, too, did Petr Cech. The former Chelsea goalkeeper was a calming influence throughout and made excellent saves to deny Anthony Martial and Bastian Schweinsteiger as United tried to find a way back into the game.
The resoluteness of Arsenal’s defending in the second half reflected game management qualities that have been sadly absent in defeats this season to West Ham, Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos.
If Arsenal is tactically prepared and fully motivated, the club has the quality to rip teams to shreds in the final third.
The speed of the team’s attacks was frightening at times as Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey constantly made intelligent runs, with Ozil and Santi Cazorla supplying the ammunition.
Sanchez opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a brilliant cheeky heel flick from close range after Mesut Ozil’s low cross from the right.
One minute and 14 seconds later, the home crowd went into delirium when Ozil slotted coolly into the bottom corner from 12 yards to make it two.
In the 19th minute, Sanchez wriggled inside from the left side of the penalty area and slammed an unstoppable third into the roof of the net from just inside the box.
Arsenal was as awesome today as it was awful in the embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night. The Jekyll and Hyde performances are as frustrating as they are baffling.
Yet only Manchester City can really be said to boast a better first choice starting XI and at its best Arsenal can beat any team in the country.
Sanchez and his support team showed that with a brilliant performance to blow Man Utd away.
The Gunners leapfrogged United into second place with 16 points, two behind leading Manchester City. United is just behind Arsenal on goal difference.
Herald Sun/ Goal
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