Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Ray Parlour believes Alexis Sanchez would make a significant difference for Manchester United as they embark on the knockout phase of this season’s Champions League. The Chile international arrived at Old Trafford on a free this month after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was swapped for the Chilean in a smart piece of business with the Gunners.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Parlour was in awe of the Chilean’s abilities, and feels the attacker’s tireless work-rate would enhance the performances of the players around him. United have not progressed to the semi-final stage of the Champions League since reaching the final at Wembley during the 2010-11 season, but Parlour feels it is a realistic possibility with the arrival of Sanchez.
“I think his energy will come through with the other players as well and his goals, he will score you plenty of goals. You can’t always rely on [Romelu] Lukaku, if he has a bad spell you’ve got players behind him now to score goals. He’s going to be a lot more prolific probably than the players in around him,” he said.
“Champions League football as well, he can play straight away. He could be brilliant this season. That’s probably why he wanted to get the deal through quickly because he’s another asset for them in the Champions League. That could be the difference in getting them to the semi-final or final.”
Sanchez perfectly matches the example of a Jose Mourinho player as he is capable of working his socks off in both the attacking and defensive side of his game. The Chilean is also capable of playing across all fronts in the attack, thus making him readily available for any tactical change during a match.
Mourinho has stuck with the conventional 4-2-3-1 formation owing to the vast array of attacking talents in his squad, but he could be tempted to adapt the 3-5-2 setup in the latter stages in Europe, particularly in matches, where United potentially find themselves as underdogs.