Sanchez sizzles with long overdue hat-trick
Sanchez finally finds scoring boots as Arsenal's goal machine purrs
LEICESTER CITY 2
(Jamie Vardy 13, 89)
(Theo Walcott 18, Alexis Sanchez 33, 57, 81, Olivier Giroud 90+3)
Arsenal entered the weekend looking like a team struggling to punch through their own malaise.
But they left the King Power Stadium yesterday appearing like a side rejuvenated.
Alexis Sanchez was the name Arsenal fans sang, deep into the night as he hit a delightful hat-trick, while Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud netted one each to pull off a 5-2 win over Leicester City.
Finally, the Chilean has kickstarted his season.
Last term, the 27-year-old forward carried the Gunners on his shoulders as he banged in 16 league goals.
But this campaign has proved much tougher for the former Barcelona man.
He had entered yesterday's game with more attempts at goal (31, including blocked shots) than anyone else in the Premiership, but with no goals under his belt.
However, he rose to the occasion against Leicester, and proved to be the difference in a game which the hosts just wouldn't give up.
Manager Arsene Wenger knew that his team needed a spark from somewhere.
Having converted just 6.1 per cent of their shots this season - the top tier's worst record - prior to this fixture, the Gunners were anything but the slick attacking machine they were expected to be.
Wenger just wouldn't have expected Leicester to provide the catalyst.
Claudio Ranieri's high-flying underdogs took the bull by the horns with a brand of adventurous football that has already seen them score 15 goals in seven games.
Jamie Vardy's opener, however, drew just the sort of response Wenger wanted from his charges.
Walcott's fine finish in the 18th minute, five minutes after the hosts put themselves in front, nipped the problem in the bud.
From then on, it was all Sanchez, who played his best game of this campaign to put his side back on track.
His first goal of the season came from a simple tap-in near the half-hour mark, but he couldn't have minded the simplicity of it all.
With confidence oozing, he began to boss the proceedings on the pitch.
In the 57th minute, he headed the ball in off a lovely Mesut Oezil dink, to make it 3-1.
Nine minutes from time, he earned the match ball with a low finish that gave Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel no chance.
Vardy scored a late, well-deserved consolation goal for Leicester, although Giroud found the net in injury time to complete a fantastic victory for the Gunners.
This win could make all the difference for the Gunners in a campaign where the likely title contenders seem to be lacking a cutting edge.
The result propelled them to fourth in the Premiership table, only three points behind new leaders Manchester United.
But it is the form of Sanchez which Wenger will be most heartened about.
The mojo's back. Arsenal's fortunes this season may be riding on that.
LEICESTER: Kasper Schmeichel, Ritchie de Laet, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Jeffery Schlupp, Riyad Mahrez, Ngolo Kante, Daniel Drinkwater (Andrej Kramaric 78), Marc Albrighton (Leonard Ulloa 64), Shinji Okazaki (Andy King 46), Jamie Vardy
ARSENAL: Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Flamini (Mikel Arteta 21), Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey (Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain 77), Mesut Oezil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott (Olivier Giroud 80)