When Arsenal signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for $45 million last month, Gunners fans were delighted because he was one of the outstanding forwards at the World Cup.
But in five matches so far, Sanchez has not scored nor made much of an impact and was substituted at half-time in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is still backing his Chilean striker and expects Sanchez to soon adapt to the physical demands of the Premier League and begin popping them in.
That could start off on Wednesday in the return leg at the Emirates of their Champions League playoff tie against Besiktas. Aaron Ramsey was sent off as Arsenal battled to a goal-less draw in the first leg in Greece.
Ramsey will miss the return but at least his fine form from last season is still evident, and Olivier Giroud is once again troubling defenses.
The Arsenal faithful lament wasting chances and not beating Everton, although the Londoners came from two goals down to earn the point.
Arsenal finished last season’s Premier League campaign with five successive wins followed by last Saturday’s hesitant victory over Crystal Palace.
Sandwiched between that was an FA Cup final win that ended a nine-year trophy drought and beating Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield.
Drawing at Everton was no disgrace because under astute manager Roberto Martinez they have Champions League ambitions themselves. Martinez reckons record signing Romelu Lukaku will soon start finding the net for Everton in similar fashion to last season when on loan from Chelsea.
Everton smashed their transfer record to pay $35 million for the 21-year-old Belgium striker. Lukaku scored 16 times but has yet to score this term.
Paul McField, head coach at George Town Football Club, has no doubts that Arsenal will get past Besiktas and do well in the Champions League, reaching the knockout stages.
Realistically, McField wants a better finish than their perennial fourth Premiership place, always just squeezing into that final Champions League spot.
“We started the season good but threw our chances away against Everton,” he said. “We’ve got a little sorting out to do with the new players.
“Sanchez just needs time to adjust. It takes time to gel and he is used to the Barcelona system.”
Justin Pierre was a striker with Sunset last season, having been a George Town stalwart for years.
Pierre feels Arsenal are already playing superbly considering how many newcomers have arrived.
He is confident that once they beat Besiktas they will get to the knockout stages and hopes they get to the latter stages, although winning the Champions League is probably too ambitious this time.
“We just need to shore up our defense,” he said. “We are connecting and passing well and our movement off the ball is as good as ever considering it is such a young team.”
Pierre is glad that Wenger has invested heavily this summer because Arsenal always start brightly but flag in the last third of the season because of a lack of squad depth, relying on novices and reserves too heavily.
“Rotation can be difficult at the end of the season and we can definitely use some help,” Pierre said. “It would be amazing to win the Premier League.”
Pierre has no doubts that Sanchez will produce the sort of form that made him a sensation at the World Cup.
“He will come good for Arsenal. You can see it in his game, his brilliance. He will learn to connect with Jack Wilshire and really make an impact. I’m 100 percent he will not be a flop.”