£35m man ensures Arsenal top Champions League charts in one key area

The Gunners may have lost out at Dortmund but Alexis Sanchez won the joint-most dribbles of anyone in Europe last night.

Needless to say, Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund left a lot of supporters dejected.

No points from their opening game means the Gunners are far from top of their group table.

But a certain £35 million summer signing did put in a performance that left the north London side joint-top of one Champions League table - for the amount of dribbles won on the opening night of this season's competition.

It may be scant consolation for Arsene Wenger but it also may just offer the Frenchman the data he needs to formulate a game plan going forward.

  TeamPosDribbles WonAppsMins
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco Monaco MF 6 1 86
Alexis Sánchez Arsenal FW 6 1 90
Layvin Kurzawa Monaco DF 5 1 90
Andy Najar Anderlecht MF 5 1 90
Enzo Pérez Benfica MF 5 1 90
Raheem Sterling Liverpool MF 4 1 90
Matías Suárez Anderlecht FW 4 1 67

Indeed, as Opta stats show, no one won more dribbles than Alexis Sanchez last night, with only Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco of Monaco winning as many.

Despite a limp team display in which Arsenal failed to ascertain any control over the game at the Signal Iduna Park or threaten much in the final third, the Chilean still did what he does best - and what the Gunners paid £35 million for.

The key, of course, is for Wenger to set his team out so that they can centre their play around Sanchez's ability to beat his man. And, against anyone other than Dortmund, of course, that will come a lot easier.

 World Cup TeamPosDribbles WonAppsMins
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 46 7 693
Arjen Robben Netherlands MF 34 7 690
Ángel Di María Argentina MF 25 5 422
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 22 4 390
Eden Hazard Belgium MF 20 5 368
 Premier League TeamPosDribbles WonAppsMins
Eden Hazard Chelsea MF 25 4 347
Erik Lamela Spurs MF 12 4 331
Jack Wilshere Arsenal MF 11 3 233
Raheem Sterling Liverpool MF 10 4 284
Alexis Sánchez Arsenal FW 10 4 315
Connor Wickham Sunderland FW 10 4 360

As Opta stats further prove, meanwhile, Sanchez is no stranger to showing his skill on the ball, having finished within the top four dribblers at this summer's World Cup in Brazil, while also only being beaten by three players in that department so far in the Premier League this term.

So, while Arsenal struggled in most departments against Dortmund, 25-year-old Sanchez is showing that he is ready to beat his man for the Gunners in whatever scenario he faces.

That quality will no doubt provide Wenger with a huge bonus in the European games to come this season. And, if it is utilised in the right way, that quality could prove a game-changer come crunch time, when one surging run could mean the difference between qualification or elimination from the Champions League.

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