Alexis Sanchez warrants a place in Manchester United’s starting lineup for the derby clash against Manchester City on Sunday, according to Daily Mail columnist Martin Keown.
The Chile international started in a central role for Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Serie A giants Juventus in Turin in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The January signing was named in Jose Mourinho’s XI at the expense of Romelu Lukaku, who has struggled up front for the Red Devils over the past couple of months.
Sanchez had something of a thankless task against imperious Juventus duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and was replaced in the 79th minute.
Manchester United managed to overturn Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener thanks to Juan Mata’s free-kick before Alex Sandro inadvertently scored an added-time own goal to had the visitors a 2-1 win.
Sanchez has only scored one goal in all competitions this season, netting Manchester United’s dramatic winner in a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford at the start of October.
Lukaku has scored four times in the Premier League this term, but the Belgian forward has found the net since their 2-1 win at Watford in September.
The 2017 summer signing is a doubt for the trip to Manchester City due to an injury concern.
Former Arsenal defender Keown believes Sanchez warrants a starting spot in the Manchester United team ahead of Lukaku for their top of the table clash.
Asked during his Q&A column with the Daily Mail about Sanchez leading the line before it emerged Lukaku was a doubt for the clash, the Arsenal legend replied:
“Sanchez posed Chiellini and Bonucci a different problem [against Juventus].
“They would have been far happier had they been having to deal with United pumping long balls up to Lukaku.
“While Lukaku does not link well enough, Sanchez gives United really good options.
“He helps them press as a group and gives them an extra zippiness and energy.
“He does not have the same pace as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to accelerate past players in wide positions but when he plays centrally, he can weave things together in a way they can’t.
“Sanchez is a little big man in the way he is so brave and effective in the air.
“When he played in this position for Arsenal, it looked like they had found the perfect No 9. Jose Mourinho is trying to get the same from him at United.”
Lukaku moved to Manchester United in a £75m deal from Everton in the 2017 summer transfer window, but the Red Devils have failed to get the best out of the 25-year-old so far.
The powerful striker has netted 31 times in 65 games in all competitions so far, but his form has been in fits and spurts at the 20-time English champions.
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