Is Alexis Sanchez struggling to find a place at Manchester United?
By Joe Harker
When Manchester United signed Alexis Sanchez in the January transfer window it was seen as an excellent deal.
Not only had they acquired a player coveted by many of their rivals but they had also signed him for nothing as the unfancied Henrikh Mkhitaryan went the other way.
Fans were ecstatic to see their new number seven in action, hoping they had finally signed someone worthy of the famous shirt.
However, the move has not yet been the roaring success United fans had hoped as the Chilean forward has just one goal and two assists in eight appearances. He has displaced the popular Anthony Martial and has arguably not performed better than the Frenchman since his arrival.
Sanchez's performance against Crystal Palace was heavily criticised as he gave the ball away on numerous occasions. Some observers have opined that United actually look worse with him in the team despite his quality and are wondering whether the club made the right decision to sign him.
Manchester United needed a right winger but in Sanchez they have signed a player who wants to cut in from the left and shoot, just like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. If he's not playing better than either of those two and he's taking their place in the starting lineup then he could indeed be hindering the team despite his best efforts.
Some have suggested playing him on the right wing but that is not where he wants to be and he looks like a player who is yet to find his best position.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher suggested Sanchez would not start in the derby game against Liverpool without his strong reputation and found agreement from fellow pundit and former United player Gary Neville. He said: "It's early days in his United career. He's quite erratic in terms of his ball possession and what he does with the ball.
"If he wasn't Alexis Sanchez, what he's done in the past, would he leave him out? He lost the ball 34, 35 times - it's astonishing for a player of that quality."
Despite his struggles to keep the ball against Crystal Palace the Manchester Evening News rated Sanchez's performance 7/10, making him the joint best player alongside goalscorer Romelu Lukaku and injury time hero Nemanja Matic.
Their opinions are not shared by everyone but they believed he put in his best performance since his United debut and praised his willingness to try things. He may be criticised for losing the ball often but there are no rewards without taking risks.