Arsenal put in a very languid and tiresome performance against West Brom as shown by the softness at which the goals were conceded. The same cannot be said about Alexis. While many players seemed to be off the pace, there was a sharpness to Alexis that was lacking in the first-half. This managed to inspire some team-mates in the second, but it was too late for the Gunners.
Leading by Example
Alexis refused to take the result and was often the provider of some the many chances which, on another day, would have been put away. He was dogged on the day, causing West Brom many problems that the hosts were forced to foul to Chilean on several occasions. This subsequently lead to the free-kick that provided the opening goal for Olivier Giroud, who scored his ninth in 11 games for club and country.
West Brom were then gifted two very soft goals, scoring two with only one shot on target. This seemed to demoralise many of the players but it only seemed to motivate Alexis further.
Back on in the second half and Alexis continued to cause problems, providing three opportunities that should have found the back of the net. Ozil hit the post, Joel Campbell, who inexplicably put his chance wide and Alexis himself was denied by some solid goalkeeping from Boaz Myhill. The moment that summed up Arsenal's game was the penalty, which was won by Alexis, that Santi Cazorla sent over the bar.
Can Arsenal afford to play without him?
Much of the talk about Alexis has consisted of his poor form for both club and country, perhaps needing a rest to rest to regain the goal scoring talent that ripped Manchester United to pieces. On the basis of the performance against West Brom however, it seems that Arsenal would have created little and could have arguably lost the game by even more had Alexis not been forcing them on the back foot.
The 26-year-old may not be scoring at the moment or playing at 100%, but Alexis Sanchez appears an invaluable asset to this Arsenal side.