Numbers Talk: How did Manchester United’s £350,000-a-week superstar fare on his debut?

Talking Numbers: Analysing Alexis Sanchez’s Manchester United Debut

Alexis Sanchez made his long-awaited Manchester United bow in Friday night’s 4-0 victory at Yeovil in the FA Cup and set up the visitors’ first two goals. He was substituted after 72 minutes before Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku added gloss to the scoreline.

Before the £350,000-a-week Sanchez was taken off, he offered just a taste of what United supporters can expect from. On a bumpy ground, the Chilean was the standout performer and was rightfully the Man of the Match.

On Friday, all the talk about the cost of the deal, the player’s net earnings etc. took a backstage as Sanchez oozed class at Huish Park, showing the effervescent kind of invention, pace, agility and trickery. On a cold and boisterous night, the diminutive Chilean gave glimpses of what he is exactly capable of and supplied two assists to mark his memorable United baptism.

Starting on the left, the Chilean often drifted inside and flanked Marcus Rashford, who led United’s attack. Rashford finally ended his barren run due to the perseverance he showed while scoring the first goal.

However, Alexis didn’t receive a respectable welcome from Yeovil as centre-back Nathan Smith sent him to the floor with an agricultural tackle from behind. Yet, Sanchez got up and remained unfazed, carrying on the task of a second string United side, captained by the ageing Michael Carrick, who successfully completed just his second game of the season.

In the 72 minutes he played, Sanchez did give the ball away a bit, misplacing 5 of his first 10 passes as a United player. But he never looked tired of creating things for his teammates with his invention and five minutes before half-time, the former Arsenal man had a hand in the opening goal.

Sanchez, who was given a lot of space, carried the ball quite effortlessly before playing a nice pass into Marcus Rashford. The Englishman initially goofed up but a mistake from the young Yeovil defence coupled with the United academy kid’s sheer determination saw Jose Mourinho’s side take the lead before the break.

Early in the second half, Ander Herrera added the second, helped by Sanchez’s crisp and timely pass. Before the Chilean left the field, he had made 6 key passes, 5 more than any other starter. Surely, this suggests that the team is going to benefit leaps and bounds from the attacker.

United’s new No.7 was the catalyst behind United’s first two goals and the only thing missing on the night was a goal from him. A goal on debut would have marked a perfect night for Sanchez, yet he demonstrated his qualities and gave an impression as to why he is termed as “world-class”.

Although Sanchez gave the ball away a few times on a rutted Yeovil surface, he had a pass accuracy of 73%, had a shot on target, touched the ball 97 times and won three free-kicks for our team.

The mini-stats offer a lot of promise and while many would argue that the game was against league two minnows, it is safe to say that Sanchez is exactly the player we have been waiting for since years.

For the ones who think Sanchez’s addition to the United squad might hurt the growth of Anthony Martial and Rashford, then it is a mistake. The signing of the former Barcelona star would instead help the talented young forwards excel and take their game to the next level.

To sum up the No.7’s debut last night, Sanchez was truly fantastic; offering a different verve of attack with silky touches and providing enough assurances to the United faithful that his era at Old Trafford would be an exciting one.

Sanchez is perfect for Mourinho and the duo simply means business at Old Trafford!

Stats courtesy: Red Rants.