Manchester United won 1-0 against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon, in a well-balanced match. The Reds continued their recent fine form, still not conceding in 2018. However, everything has been a little bit clouded by Alexis Sanchez’s possible move to Manchester United. On Saturday, the Chilean has not been part of Arsenal’s matchday squad and Arsene Wenger confirmed a player “cannot be travelling to the north and be playing a football match at the same time.”
That clearly meant Sanchez went to Manchester, for which the media got confirmation on Sunday. The swap deal between the clubs, involving Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, now seems iminnent. So, how could Alexis Sancez fit into this Manchester United team?
Alexis On The Wing
First of the places where you could see Sanchez fitting in this Man United side would be as a left winger in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Former Barcelona man would be part of a front four, with Lukaku as a sole striker, Jesse Lingard as a number 10, with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial alternating on the right flank. This would mean Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic would be two central midfielders.
What this would offer United is Alexis great quality in beating players and creating chances for himself and others. It would also mean United would be using him as wide winger coming inside, which would make Man United’s left back necessary to further up field to offer width. If Alexis would be playing here, it would mean Martial would have to adjust to the right flank, while Jesse Lingard’s free role could be less free with Sanchez in the side.
Alexis As Part Of A Two
Sanchez could also be an inside forward/attacking midfielder in a 3-4-2-1 formation, should Mourinho opt for that system. It would mean Alexis and most probably Jesse Lingard would be attacking midfielders with much more freedom to roam around, in all directions. It would be similar to Eden Hazard getting freedom at Chelsea under Antonio Conte, with an upside of Alexis being more hard-working and pressing of the two.
That could offer Paul Pogba more freedom to surge forward as a late-arriving midfielder, while both wing-backs would have to offer plenty of things going forwards. Antonio Valencia always thrives in these situations and Luke Shaw could be the solution on the left flank, as he is more natural in that role than Ashley Young is.
Alexis As Part Of A Three
And what if Manchester United choose a 4-3-3 formation? That would make a lot of changes to this team, in a sense that it would be hard to facilitate Jesse Lingard to play. With a front three, Mourinho would probably choose Sanchez and Martial playing on either side of Lukaku. It would also mean Paul Pogba playing alongside Matic as a holding midfielder and probably Ander Herrera, or even Juan Mata in a central number 8 role. It would be hard seeing Mourinho give Mata such a role, but Pep Guardiola has been using David Silva in a similar position at Manchester City. It could possibly work.
But that way, Pogba would be the main man coming forwards to help the front three, while Martial and Sanchez could be swapping sides around Lukaku.