Luis Suarez showed last season that you don’t need to be part of a title-winning side to be crowned the Premier League’s best player, and with the former Liverpool striker gone, it is now Arsenal’s star forward who stands out as this country’s big entertainer.
Alexis Sanchez has enjoyed a first season in a new league like few can hope for, instantly becoming the Gunners’ best player with some much-needed flair and variety upfront, providing the kind of spark not seen at the Emirates Stadium since the days of Thierry Henry, or arguably Robin van Persie in more recent times.
Eden Hazard perhaps seems the favourite for his impact at champions-elect Chelsea, and while the Belgian international may be a slightly more polished performer, well suited to a Jose Mourinho side with his clinical touch in front of goal and efficiency in creating chances. Still, skillful as he is, the Belgian international does not get fans off their seats in the same way that a true Player of the Year candidate should. He is some way off Suarez in that factor, and Sanchez now looks the next best thing.
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There is a child-like joy to the way the Chilean international plays the game, bringing street football from his hard youth in South America to the top level and making it work. Considering he has sometimes had to lift an otherwise struggling Arsenal side that started slowly, his efforts have been truly magneficent and deserve more recognition.
It is easy for Hazard to shine in this star-studded Chelsea team that is perfectly set up to dominate games and give its attackers a strong platform to build on. One can’t help but feel that a signing like Marco Reus or Gareth Bale could easily come into the side in his place and little would change. Sanchez, meanwhile, looks irreplaceable for Arsenal, and a truly unique talent.
Although the PFA end-of-season awards recognise individual talent, it is still a fact that it is a team game and Sanchez’s chance will come if Arsene Wenger can build a stronger side around him to let him shine even further.