Arsenal’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Arsenal at The London Stadium, in east London on December 3, 2016.
Justin TALLIS / AFP
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 the Chilean is scoring goals.
Pushed further forward this season, Sanchez has now scored seven goals in his last five Premier League games. His hat-trick against West Ham 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.”
Wenger was delighted with the performance of his team at the London Stadium which maintained their unbeaten record away from home this season.
“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 the Frenchman.
“That plays on your mind and you could pay for that, but we maintained the pressure on West Ham and finished strongly. We were always dangerous.
“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. They currently sit 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 admitted.
“Yes, we were still in the game with 20 minutes to go but I cannot say that Arsenal didn’t deserve to win.
“Arsenal are very lethal and they like to play on a big pitch. But I’m very disappointed, frustrated and humiliated. I want to say sorry to the fans and the club and everyone connected with West Ham United because it was very bad.”
He added: “Of course we are in a relegation fight. Of course the players know that. We spoke about it and it’s not that they don’t care.
“We are together, including me. We didn’t play how we know today. It is time to realise what position we’re in, what’s our situation and what we have to do to get out of that zone.”