The signing of Carlos Sanchez was by far the most underwhelming move of the summer transfer window by West Ham United.
After an extremely strong summer, the Hammers' capped it off by signing the 32-year-old for £2m to fill their biggest need; a defensive midfielder. After the first two games of the season, it was apparent that Sanchez would have to be a success or else Manuel Pellegrini's men would be in big trouble.
Providing Defensive Stability
On Saturday, the Colombian international got his chance in the starting XI against Arsenal, and he did not disappoint. Sanchez did what West Ham fans have not seen enough of over the past few seasons; he sat deep, held his position, and broke up play constantly.
The 32-year-old provided a shield for the back four that Mark Noble and Declan Rice weren't capable of doing for the Hammers so far this season, and it showed. Fabian Balbuena looked a much improved player against the Gunners, and £22m debutant Issa Diop also impressed bar his unlucky own goal.
Sanchez's defensive discipline also allowed fullbacks Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku to push forward and get involved in attacks the way Pellegrini wants them to. Both Fredericks and Masuaku troubled Arsenal with their pace down the flanks and always looked a threat on the attack.
Without Sanchez, Arsenal could have easily exploited the space in behind them as Liverpool did time and time again two weeks ago. However, West Ham's new number 15 held his position and almost formed a back three with Diop and Balbuena when the Hammers were on the attack. With Sanchez in the team, West Ham look much more capable of playing the kind of football that Pellegrini wants, and that showed with the performance on Saturday.
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Capable on the Ball
The 32-year-old was also very good on the ball at The Emirates, showing that he is more than capable of contributing to the attacking side of the game as well.
The Colombian had the second highest pass accuracy out of West Ham's starting XI on saturday, completing 87% of his passes. Sanchez helped spring counter attack after counter attack for the Hammers, who looked at their most dangerous on the break. the Colombian's ability to spread the play also stood out on Saturday, as he continually found teammates in space with cross-field passes who could cause the Gunners problems.
Sanchez's debut was a very impressive and encouraging one. The 32-year-old has a lot to prove in the Premier League after a disastourous stint at Aston Villa, but against Arsenal he showed he's determined to prove his doubters wrong. If he can continue to perform like that, West Ham may have finally found a solution to their defensive midfield problem, for at least this season.