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Talking Tactics

Fred's speed can bring best out of Sanchez

Adrian Clarke 9 Aug 2018
Fred and Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United

New Brazilian signing's fast passing can give Alexis Sanchez the chance to shine for Manchester United this season

After a restful summer, Alexis Sanchez can be Manchester United's key man when they host Leicester City on the opening night of the 2018/19 Premier League.

The Chilean has impressed in pre-season, and with so many of Jose Mourinho's FIFA World Cup stars only just back in training, United will bank on his freshness to help the team hit the ground running.

Sanchez is likely to start on the left of a front three on Friday night and will hope to offer more of a goal threat than last term, when he scored only twice in 12 Premier League starts.

Playing too deep, and because of United's slow build-up, chances for Sanchez to score were too rare.

To ease the burden on Romelu Lukaku for goals, Sanchez must get more shots away.

Seven United team-mates averaged more efforts on goal than he did from 31 January onwards.

Sanchez since 31 Jan
  Average MUN rank
Mins/goal 523 6th
Shots/90 1.63 8th
On target/90 0.77 6th
Plenty of creation

Sanchez's primary role for United has been as a supplier.

He is quick to see space for others and, with the ability to make accurate early passes, he excelled in chance creation.

Second only to Juan Mata for key passes and assists per 90 minutes, Sanchez brought more speed and creativity to United inside the final third.

Man Utd in the PL since 31 Jan
 Mins/assist Chances created/90
Mata 296.5 Mata 2.73
Sanchez 348.7 Sanchez 2.24
Herrera 407 Martial 1.45
Will Fred bring the best out of Alexis?

Many of Sanchez's finest moments in an Arsenal shirt came from fast transitions, when defenders were stretched.

In those situations his quick brain comes to the fore.

Those scenarios did not happen enough at United for Sanchez.

It will be hoped the signing of Fred will change how Mourinho's side attack.

The 25-year-old Brazilian is a great midfielder.

He moves the ball quickly with one or two touches and can release Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and others with sharp passes that pierce the lines much faster than before.

Passes to Sanchez since 31 Jan
Paul Pogba 97
Nemanja Matic 76
Ashley Young 50
Jesse Lingard 48
Juan Mata 46

With Paul Pogba short of fitness and Nemanja Matic injured (the two players who fed Sanchez the most in 2017/18) it is important that Fred and the Chilean strike up a good combination from the off.

If the chemistry is strong, and Fred delivers quickly played forward passes to Sanchez, he is the most likely match winner.

Also in this series 

Part 2: Midfield role can help Bamba shackle King
Part 3: Rondon's aerial strength can trouble Spurs
Part 4: Keita and Wilshere duel could decide Anfield match


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