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Sanchez speaks about Man United struggles

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Alexis Sanchez has been a bit-part player this season at Manchester United under two different managers, and it’s beginning to take its toll.

The 30-year-old Chilean admitted in an interview with BBC’s Guillem Balague that the lack of playing time at Old Trafford is sapping his enjoyment of the game, and his inconsistent time on the pitch is feeding his poor form.

“I’m a player that, if I’m not in contact with the ball, I lose that spark,” Sanchez said, “and sometimes I want to play in every game. You’re in, you’re out, and I’m used to playing.

“It’s not an excuse because if I go on for 10, 20 minutes, I have to perform because that’s what I’m here for, to make a difference. I would like to have brought more joy to the club. Yes, it worries me because I believe in my abilities as a player, I want to show it.”

Sanchez has made 14 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season, with just six of those coming from the opening whistle. A hamstring injury at the start of December is a major culprit of his lack of playing time this season, but so has been a lack of the creativity that he showed at times during his time at Arsenal. Sanchez has just one goal and three assists in 615 Premier League minutes this season, far below what the team likely expected he would provide.

“Within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team, then out,” Sanchez said of the squad’s waning confidence in Jose Mourinho before he was fired. “Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence. I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I lose my joy.”

With 12 matches remaining in the Premier League and a tight battle for the Champions League places under way, Sanchez will have plenty of opportunities to make his mark, but he will need to prove he deserves a spot in the lineup moving forward.

Report: Sanchez, Martial, Lingard questionable v. Chelsea

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If Alexis Sanchez didn’t seem himself on Tuesday evening, there’s a bizarre explanation for that.

According to the Daily Mail in England, while Sanchez was warming up along the sideline in the first half, he unexpectedly collided with assistant referee Fabiano Preti and fell to the turf. Sanchez suffered some sort of leg injury, and although he played on it the rest of the game, he told the Manchester United training staff that he felt pain above one of his knees.

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It’s the latest in what’s been a rough 13 months for Sanchez ever since he joined Man United, where he’s battled through numerous injuries and poor form.

With Sanchez facing a fitness test, he joins the injured Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, who both limped out of Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The trio now will hope that they can make a comeback for this coming Monday’s highly-anticipated FA Cup match against Chelsea.

Arsenal 1-3 Man United: Lukaku shines as Sanchez haunts old club

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Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring against his former club, Romelu Lukaku reprised the right-wing role he found success at for his country at the World Cup this summer, and Manchester United eased by Arsenal in the FA Cup 4th round by a 3-1 scoreline.

Arsenal’s injury woes deepened as Sokratis came down from an aerial challenge awkwardly on his ankle inside the opening 20 minutes, and while he tried to stay on after lengthy treatment, he was eventually forced off, replaced by Shkodran Mustafi.

After the forced change, Manchester United seemed to hold much of the meaningful possession, and the visitors took advantage of an Arsenal mistake at the back. Lukaku received the ball at the top of the box, and no fewer than four Arsenal defenders stepped to challenge him on the ball. That left acres of space behind the stepping defenders, which Sanchez filled with a perfectly timed run, allowing Lukaku to feed him with a through-ball

Just moments later, Manchester United struck with the second barrel, as Jesse Lingard doubled the lead. On the break, Laurent Koscielny attempted to catch Lukaku offside down the right flank, but his trap was late and it sprung the Belgian down the wing. Triggering a three-on-two break, Lukaku cut across to Lingard standing all alone at the penalty spot, and the England international finished cooly for a 2-0 lead.

Arsenal found a way back just before halftime as Aaron Ramsey barged into the United box and tapped across the face of goal. The ball was out of reach of Alexandre Lacazette, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand at the far post to poke it in past Sergio Romero. Just seconds after the break, Arsenal nearly equalized but Aaron Ramsey’s header was acrobatically tipped over the bar by a great Romero save.

Past the hour mark, as Arsenal pushed hard for an equalizer, the Gunners lost yet another defender as Koscielny went down and required lengthy treatment before coming off. Ole Gunner Solskjaer made tactical changes of his own for the stretch run, taking off Lukaku and Sanchez in favor of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Manchester United weathered the storm and put the game away in the 82nd minute on the break. Paul Pogba picked Arsenal’s pocket in the middle third and broke at pace the other direction. Despite a pair of options open on either flank, Pogba shot on Petr Cech‘s net, with the Czech parrying the effort. He pushed it right into the path of Martial, and the substitute bagged the decisive goal.

The match nearly boiled over in the final minutes as Sead Kolasinac and Marcus Rashford went head-to-head, but neither did enough to earn a sending-off, with both given yellows. After a lengthy stoppage time, the win for Manchester United gave Solskjaer his eighth win in succession across all competitions to start his Red Devils tenure. For Arsenal, after winning the FA Cup two years ago, they’ve not been eliminated early in each of the last two seasons, falling last year in the 3rd round to Nottingham Forest, with this year’s defeat coming in the 4th round.

Reports: Martial closing in on new long-term Man United contract

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According to slightly conflicting reports in England, Anthony Martial remains without a new long-term contract at Manchester United, and while nothing is set in stone as of yet, it appears the two sides are inching closer to an agreement – a vast improvement from the situation just a few months ago.

Sky Sports reports that Martial is “close to agreeing” to a new contract, while The Telegraph is slightly more negative on the situation, calling the two sides “hopeful” but stating that “no deal [is] struck yet.”

The reports do not quote any sources directly, but Sky says there has been a “breakthrough in discussions” that leaves the two sides “close” to an agreement, while The Telegraph’s James Ducker states that the two sides are “making progress” in contract talks. Both reports state the contract extension would be five years in length, keeping him under Old Trafford control through the summer of 2024.

Ducker’s report specifically points to the inflated wages of Alexis Sanchez as a hangup over the last few months, not just in Martial’s new contract discussions, but that of goalkeeper David De Gea as well. The insinuation is that if Sanchez is making such a high salary – reportedly as much as $643,000 per week – than a number of more influential players should fall in that realm as well, a prospect the club is likely trying to avoid on a large scale. Sanchez has been missing with a hamstring injury for the last two months, and before that had lost his place in the squad before Jose Mourinho’s departure.

Martial’s contract was set to expire this summer, but the club picked up his one-year option, extending it to the summer of 2020.

The Frenchman’s status under former manager Mourinho also appears to have been a stumbling block, and now that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over, a new leaf has been turned. Mourinho reportedly attempted to sell Martial this past summer, only to be blocked by the board. Prior to Mourinho’s dismissal, Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley said in December that the two sides were “nowhere close” to agreeing on a contract extension and that “very pessimistic about discussions,” stating that Manchester United “already made several offers that come nowhere near to what we expect.”

WATCH: Alexis cues up Lukaku for slick Manchester United goal

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With the disclaimer that this is how Manchester United is supposed to look against the 23rd team in the Championship, this is a nice, nice goal from the Red Devils.

Scoring a penalty to take a 1-0 lead, Juan Mata then played hockey assist on the second goal.

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The Spaniard moves through space to find Alexis Sanchez on the left of the United attack.

Sanchez spots Lukaku’s just onside run — it actually looks offside at first blush, but the FA Cup deploys Video Assistant Referee — and the Belgian touches around the keeper before finishing from an acute angle.

Not bad, Big Rom.