The Premier League’s two most influential players go head-to-head once again on Sunday as the Gunners travel to Manchester where hosts City will be looking to at least maintain the narrow two-point gap to league leaders Chelsea.
It will come as no surprise to many Premier League supporters to hear that Sergio Aguero is currently in the top 2 most influential players in the league this season, so far scoring or assisting in 17 of Manchester City’s league goals, after having such a successful 2013/14 season where he netted 17 times just by himself. However, something that will perhaps cause surprise is that Premier League newcomer Alexis Sanchez is currently occupying the top-spot in the standings for most influential player.
Sanchez has scored or assisted in 19 league goals for Arsenal this season, more than any other player. Having only arrived in North London in the summer, the Chilean winger is putting a good case forward to be considered as the quickest player to settle into the Premier League, so far giving no glimpses of a lapse in form. Sanchez arrived from Barcelona for a hefty £32 million, but is thus far proving to be worth every penny as Arsene’s men continue to fight to keep-up with the league front-runners; impressively so when you consider the fact that they have been without the likes of Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck intermittently throughout the season, who are all potentially key players.
Furthermore, Sanchez has entered the Premier League record books for his impressive form since arriving in England. No player to arrive in the Premier League from a foreign club has been involved in as many league goals in their first 20 matches than the Chilean. With Sanchez having been involved in 19 goals and assists in his first 20, he equals Eric Cantona and overtakes other Premier League legends such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Tony Yeboah (both 17 goals and assists respectively) and Jurgen Klinsmann (16). The other notable player is that of Sergio Aguero, who failed to mirror the feat scaled by Sanchez but still managed to get his name down on the list with 18. Something that may impress you even more is the fact that all of these players are known to be out-and-out strikers, whereas Sanchez is more of a winger; a positon that is less renowned for being involved in goals.
This being said, Sergio Aguero is no stranger when it comes to Premier League records. Earlier on in the season when the Argentinian netted his 10th of the 2014/15 campaign, it was announced that Aguero had the best minutes-per-goal record in Premier League history, topping even that of previous Arsenal legend and prolific goal-scorer Thierry Henry. Aguero was netting once every 109 minutes, compared to Henry’s previous record of once every 121 minutes.
Sergio Aguero had been out of action since City’s home win over Everton on 6th December but finally made his highly-anticipated return in their draw on Saturday, again against Everton. Fans will be hoping that he returns to his usual goal-scoring self to keep the heat on leaders Chelsea and see-off the likes of Arsenal who are hot on their heels. If he can rekindle his form from earlier in the season then perhaps he can knock Sanchez off of his most-influential-player perch. However, Sanchez has been absent in just 1 of Arsenal’s 21 league games this season, and it’s this ability to maintain fitness and avoid injury that could perhaps keep the injury-prone Aguero at bay.
One thing is for certain: if either side hopes to continue their success not just in the league, but with illustrious Champions League dates also on the horizon, then they must keep their South American talisman fit. Manchester City against Arsenal takes place this Sunday at 4pm and shapes up to be a very tasty affair.