Let me start by saying that I’m an avid supporter of Alexis Sanchez. As a fellow Chilean – yes, I’m from Chile – I was ecstatic when I found out that Alexis was going to sign with Manchester United. It felt like a dream come true, to see one of your favourite players featuring for your favourite club.
Fast forward for roughly 10 months, and NO ONE saw this coming. The electric, skillful, decisive forward we saw at both FC Barcelona and Arsenal just hasn’t appeared yet. Or if he has, it has not been on a consistent basis. Alexis has struggled to become a difference maker for The Red Devils, and his recent performance against Valencia did not do him any favours. The Chile international looked uncomfortable, inaccurate on his touches, and his finishing was quite poor. Fans have every right to criticise him after such a lackluster display.
However, that doesn’t mean that he should be the scapegoat for all the problems United have had this season. Fans have every right to feel mad about him, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. For instance, is it Alexis’ fault that the team lost to West Ham United when he didn’t even make the squad? Or is it Alexis’ fault that Phil Jones couldn’t score on a penalty shootout against a lower side such as Derby County?
Why this isn’t entirely Alexis’ fault
Don’t get me wrong. Alexis is certainly one of the players to single out when we discuss about underperforming players for The Red Devils. But he shouldn’t be the one responsible for the team’s struggles. The blame needs to be place where it belongs, and all parties have faltered here.
Ed Woodward hasn’t done a good job as chairman. Jose Mourinho is not reading games well and has spent most of the season arguing with his players and the media instead of finding solutions for the team’s struggles. And the “underperforming” label shouldn’t fall on Alexis all alone. David De Gea has regressed from last season. Romelu Lukaku hasn’t been effective. Paul Pogba has been… a mixed bag; he scores goals, but more often than not, he looks complacent. As if he didn’t want to play for United anymore.
If we are strict, we could say that most of the squad – barring some exceptions such as Luke Shaw – has underperformed comparted to last season. Needless to say, that’s not a positive thing.
Sure, fans have every right to voice their displeasure. But they need to direct the blame accordingly. And while Alexis should be criticised for underperforming this season, he shouldn’t be treated as the cause and reason of all evil in United. That’s simply not fair.