Angel Di Maria Dead Wrong in his Assessment of Rival Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal


Angel Di Maria has pegged Alexis Sanchez as the key to Arsenal’s success. He said (via InsideFutbol): “Sanchez is a player who has been in some great form this season and since he came to Arsenal he hasn’t stopped scoring or creating goals. He’s been tremendous and seems to be the key player for Arsenal. When he plays well, they seem to play well too

The Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria rivalry is a rivalry that’s existed since their days in Spain and that transcends club football into World Football, as Alexis suits up for Chile while Di Maria suits up not afar away, in Argentina.

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Di Maria’s words show a degree of ignorance, as he attributes a lot of Arsenal’s successes to Alexis. To a certain extent, he’s right. In 2014, he’d be dead right. But here we are in 2015, and he’s dead wrong.

In fact, Arsenal’s success as of late has been in spite of Alexis Sanchez’s goal scoring prowess, as, prior to the QPR match, he hadn’t scored since January, yet Arsenal were doing just fine, mainly behind the efforts of Mesut Ozil. In that regard, it’s Mesut Ozil who has been more of an impact on the pitch than Alexis.

Di Maria is selling short the rest of the prolific Arsenal attack. Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil have been the cogs of the Arsenal attack during Alexis’s lapse. Santi Cazorla is always a positive contributor as well. But to pinpoint Alexis and say that if you stop him, you stop Arsenal, should be a welcome tactical scenario for Arsenal, who have the flexibility to formulate an attack anywhere along there front three.

It may just be idle chatter between two rivals, but Ray Parlour seems to back the idea. As reported by the Evening Standard, Parlour made the claim that the two South American rivals could determine the FA Cup tie.

Again, I have to disagree, at least from an Arsenal standpoint.

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Arsene Wenger made a point back in November that Alexis Sanchez was to be part of the team, that he wasn’t supposed to try to do everything himself. A lot of Alexis’s struggles could be attributed to that same mentality. He was insistent on carrying the team when it wasn’t necessary.

Arsenal have grown in chemistry to where they are now – a place where no single person controls the attack, and no single person can be shut down by the opposition to nullify that attack. Manchester United may be in a different state, with Robin van Persie out, but Di Maria, and to a lesser extent Parlour, are still wrong.

Where Parlour is right is in the assessment that the two South American’s will have huge impacts on the game, but they won’t be the sole dependents on it’s result. If the two nullify each other, the game will continue around other cogs, these two teams are too good to live or die at the feet of a single player.

It’s going to be an entertaining game, and the rivalry between Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria is just one of the many side stories to follow.

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