In Focus – Alexis Sanchez’s Manchester United debut

Alexis Sanchez made his Manchester United debut in the FA Cup fourth round at Yeovil in a 72-minute appearance at Huish Park.

The 29-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford with Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining Arsenal in a swap deal on Monday, made an instant impact with an assist for Jose Mourinho’s side as they eased to a 4-0 win.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses the Chile international’s contribution.


Mourinho started Sanchez on the left of a front three alongside Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford, with the former Arsenal man given the freedom to roam. The Chilean continued to cut inside and looked more dangerous in the central role as he sought to spread the play and provide a final ball to colleagues.

Link-up play

The ex-Barcelona man began life well in a Manchester United shirt and seemed to have an instant understanding with Luke Shaw as the left-back supported the new man in attack. With Sanchez cutting in, he created more space for himself and the England defender and found Mata and Rashford on regular occasions in tight areas on the edge of the home area. However, the final pass continued to be wayward until he was more settled in the second half and after a lightning counter-attack from a Yeovil corner, he laid the ball off to Ander Herrera to double United’s lead.

Goal threat

Sanchez had a wonderful chance to open his account for his new club when he was clattered 20 yards from goal, but the forward’s resulting free-kick was comfortably saved by home goalkeeper Artur Krysiak. He dragged another effort wide from the edge of the area when he should have hit the target but then played a key role in United’s opener, linking up with Rashford before the academy graduate pounced on a defensive mistake to slot in. Sanchez may not have been credited with an assist on that occasion, but it was a different story for United’s second as he raced towards the Yeovil box before playing in Herrera on the overlap to make it 2-0.

Work rate

The Chilean was a thorn in Yeovil's side during the FA Cup fourth round
The Chilean was a thorn in Yeovil’s side during the FA Cup fourth round (Nick Potts/PA)

Synonymous for his hard-working mantra, Sanchez was no different when in defence for the visitors and, if anything, he probably tried too hard to impress his new manager and team-mates. The 29-year-old harassed the Yeovil players when United lost possession and continuously looked for the killer ball to his fellow forwards, but lacked the right direction in the first 45 minutes, although he did pick up his performance in the second half. His hard work eventually paid off when he made a lung-bursting run following a Glovers corner to set up United’s second goal.


Alexis Sanchez produced a strong performance on his Manchester United debut
Alexis Sanchez produced a strong performance on his Manchester United debut (Nick Potts/PA)

Sanchez struggled in the first half, albeit while showing a few glimpses of his quality with neat touches and passes around the Yeovil penalty area, before having a part in Rashford scoring United’s opening goal. Things improved for Sanchez in the second half as he got to grips with his new side’s style of play and he deserved to earn an assist next to his name as he was the visitors’ main protagonist in attack.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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