Is Arsenal Star Alexis Sanchez Greedy After All?


Greedy is probably the last word that I would ever use to describe Alexis Sanchez. He has become an absolute beloved icon at Arsenal in just one season with the Gunners. His most recent escapades include him saving a screeching fan from security and taking a picture with her.

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But after recent events with the Chilean national team, some, including a Chilean team mate, have dubbed Alexis Sanchez with the most unlikely of adjectives.

According to the Daily Star, Alexis Sanchez and team mate Marcelo Diaz got into it following Alexis’s demand to take a free kick. Gary Medel had to intervene, but here’s what was reported: “Sanchez squared up to Diaz, shouting at him for not giving him the ball. [Diaz] shouted back; he told him to let everyone else play and not be so greedy.”

Alexis Sanchez admitted that a clash had occurred but that everything had been patched up shortly thereafter, “We’re all good. It was an exchange of opinions, like [the media] loves, it’s normal.”

So now that it’s all good and everyone’s happy, it got our minds to wondering – could Alexis Sanchez’s play style be considered greedy?

Unfortunately “greed” is not a stat kept by the Premier League. That would have made things a lot easier on us. But one way we can potentially determine how greedy a player is is by considering his passes per touch. That will give a rough estimate of how much a player touches the ball before giving it up to a team mate. Is it a perfect gauge of greed? No, but it’s a start.

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In Arsenal’s style of play, passing is key. It’s the oil that runs the machine. Arsene Wenger even had a brief stint where he sat Alexis Sanchez because he held onto the ball for too long and wouldn’t pass it.

Let’s get to the stats. Based on my newly created gauge for greediness, the passes per touch, I’ve taken all of Arsenal’s attackers and given them a pass-per-touch number, which is quite simple really, passes divided by touches (base stats provided by Fox Sports).

Alexis Sanchez has .49 passes per touch. Basically, he takes two touches before he passes, on average. On the surface, when you compare that to Mesut Ozil’s .70, Santi Cazorla’s .67 or Aaron Ramsey’s .66, that may seem to indicate that he is selfish, mainly because he and Aaron Ramsey play the same position, just on opposite ends of the pitch. But when you really think about it, Alexis Sanchez is a striker. He’s an attacker and a finisher with the skill set to be a set-up guy as well.

When considering that he should be judged against Arsenal’s other attackers and not their midfielders, Alexis Sanchez fits right in. Olivier Giroud ranks in at .46, Danny Welbeck at .48, Theo Walcott at .50 and the Ox at .47. Therefore, Alexis Sanchez looks peachy at .49.

As far as the free kick is concerned, it makes sense that Alexis felt like he was the best candidate to take the kick. Remember this?

You probably remember it now.

It doesn’t qualify as being selfish unless you’re doing it unjustifiably for your own personal gain. It’s safe to say that Alexis Sanchez is not in this for personal gain; he’s in it for the glory of his club and country.

So there you have it. Just in case you had a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that Alexis Sanchez may have been greedy after all, you can now rest easy knowing that he is no such thing.

Next: Karim Benzema still on?

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