Alexis Sanchez came under pressure after a stuttering start at Arsenal, but former Gunners front-man, Alan Smith, says he was surprised to hear that the Chilean was low on confidence.
Sanchez was yet to score in three competitive matches for his new club and was subbed off at half-time in Arsene Wenger’s side’s most recent fixture against Everton.
After Mesut Ozil struggled to adapt to the Premier League last season and show is optimum form there were concerns that it could be a similar story with Wenger’s marquee summer recruit, but Smith still expects him to be a hit.
"I was surprised at Arsene Wenger the other day when he said that he thought Alexis Sanchez was low on confidence and that’s why he brought him off – he played through the middle, which isn’t his position,” Smith explained to Sky Sports.
"Over in Istanbul [against Besiktas] last week he was Arsenal’s best player in the first half. He was attacking the Besiktas defence, he was carrying the ball and was a real threat. There’s a lot to come from him. The fans have already taken to him and he plays with a lot of heart as well as a lot of ability.”
Indeed, the supporters of the club have been excited by Sanchez’s arrival and there was an expectation that he will come good soon. He did exactly that yesterday with his first goal for the club to defeat Besiktas and book Arsenal's place in the Champions League Group Stage proper.
It was the performance Smith knew was coming and the one fans had been looking forward to.
The 25-year-old had almost a one-in-two strike-rate at his previous club, Barcelona, and there is a hope that he can emulate that sort of scoring record at the Emirates.
He also offers more than just goals, though, with his tireless displays at the World Cup heightening anticipation around the North-London club’s season even more. He demonstrated that never say die approach at The Emirates last night.
Arsenal are expected to mount a serious title challenge this season and Sanchez will be pivotal in their hopes of doing that.