Sanchez to play up front as long he's effective: Wenger

Alexis Sanchez scoring his second goal to put Arsenal 3-0 up on Saturday. His hat-trick in the Gunners' 5-1 thumping of their London rivals West Ham put him on 11 EPL strikes this season, level with Diego Costa.
Alexis Sanchez scoring his second goal to put Arsenal 3-0 up on Saturday. His hat-trick in the Gunners' 5-1 thumping of their London rivals West Ham put him on 11 EPL strikes this season, level with Diego Costa.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger foresees Alexis Sanchez staying in the striking role that brought him a hat-trick in the 5-1 victory over West Ham as long as he is scoring goals.

Pushed further forward this season, the Chilean has now scored seven goals in his last five English Premier League games.

His triple on Saturday was the second of his Arsenal career.

"Yes, I think he prefers playing as a striker. He likes the position. People like to play as a striker. If it doesn't work, they prefer their first position. If it comes off, they want to stay there," said Wenger.

"Alexis has the qualities to play there. All the ingredients to be a top-class striker and he shows that. He has good movement, he is sharp, he is quick to close down, he can dribble, has a short back-lift and he has a killer instinct.

"It shows that the South Americans are the leading strikers in world football at the moment. You have to acknowledge that."

The Frenchman was delighted with the performance of his team at the London Stadium which maintained their unbeaten record away from home this season.

Sanchez was obviously the outstanding player, but goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil and a fine display by Nacho Monreal all helped suggest that there is life beyond Santi Cazorla as Arsenal went second in the Premier League table on Saturday.

"Overall it was a very strong team performance for 90 minutes today. Our only regret is that we didn't take our chances in the first half," said Wenger. "That plays on your mind and you could pay for that...

"We are scoring more goals away from home than at home. Is that because we play with a bit more freedom? Away from home, we have been very convincing."

West Ham coach Slaven Bilic is adamant that only regaining last season's intensity will pull West Ham away from the relegation zone.

On Saturday they sat just a single point above it.

"We had some good spells in the game like we've had some good spells this season but we have to be honest and say we don't do it every game for the whole game," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'Sanchez to play up front as long he's effective: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe