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Three ways Man United can get the best out of Alexis Sanchez

| 22.02.2018

He’s got much more to offer

Manchester United were fortunate to leave Sevilla with a draw in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday night.

United had David de Gea to thank for their clean sheet, but they caused few problems going forward.

It was another quiet performance from Alexis Sanchez, who hasn’t hit top form since arriving at Old Trafford in January.

United will need a good display from the Chilean in their clash with top-four rivals Chelsea on Sunday.

Here are three ways Jose Mourinho can help him to get back to his best…

Push the full-backs forward

When he plays on the left, Sanchez wants to cut inside on his stronger right foot to open up an angle for a shot or pass.

He’s so good that even though defenders know what he’s going to do, it tends to work more often than not. But at Arsenal, the left-back would bomb down the flank, which gave Sanchez more time and space.

That doesn’t happen as much at United. Mourinho understandably wants his team to be solid at the back. But there’s a balance to be struck. He can afford to set up with a little more adventure.

Keep hold of the ball

United only had 43% possession against Sevilla on Tuesday. They only had 46% possession in their FA Cup win over Huddersfield Town last weekend.

Sanchez has the quality and athleticism to carry the ball and lead counter attacks, but he’d be more effective if United controlled games. That would allow him to get into areas higher up the pitch, where he can do most damage.

Put him in the middle

This is the least likely outcome, but it could produce the greatest rewards.

Mourinho has a clear idea of what he wants from a striker – big, powerful and aggressive.

Sanchez doesn’t fit that mould, but he could be devastating in a fluid front three with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on either side.

Some of his best displays for Arsenal came up front, where his speed, work rate and finishing ability were fully harnessed.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.