Report: Expectations were fairly low for Alexis Sanchez going into the 2012-13 season as just about everybody expected him to fail. And at first all those critics appeared to be right as Alexis struggled to find the back of the net. It took him 15 La Liga appearances to find the back of the net for the first time - week 23 against Getafe. It wasn't for the lack of trying though as Alexis consistently found himself in dangerous scoring positions, but just couldn't find a way past opposing goalkeepers.
To be fair, Alexis did score before the game against Getafe - three times actually - in the Champions League against Benfica and twice in the Copa del Rey game against Cordoba. But Alexis' goalscoring record in the season's first half doesn't tell the entire story. Constantly Alexis was one of Barcelona's most active players - offensively and defensively - picking up a couple assists along the way during that time. Alexis also missed a month of playing time in November when he battled a foot injury he picked up in a friendly with Chile.
But it was like that goal against Getafe was all that Alexis needed to break the slump he was in. Over the last three months of the season the forward made 12 league appearances, nine starts, during which he scored seven goals and added six assists. It was without a doubt Alexis' best stretch in a Blaugrana shirt. But his production wasn't limited to the Spanish League as he also chipped in with two assists in the Champions League against Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
However, Alexis didn't change his game to get better production - he played the same way he did before, but once he started bagging goals the confidence returned and Alexis started playing without the constant pressure. Playing mostly on the right wing Alexis quickly became one of the best Barça players of the back-end of the season. His passing became more accurate, he was winning air duels, and he was constantly running up and down the wing.
Alexis also made three appearances for the Chile national team where he largely impressed on the right wing. Starting all three games Alexis helped his team with an assist, but he was forced to leave one game early due to injury.
Moment of the season: Over the last three months of the season Alexis had several outstanding performances but none was better than the two goal, two assist game against RCD Mallorca in April. Alexis scored twice on just three shots and completed 86% of passing attempts - (for a forward) a quite high percentage. The Chilean also helped out in defense making one tackle and an interception.
Resumen del partido FC Barcelona (5-0) RCD Mallorca - HD - Highlights (via La Liga)
|Started on the Bench
|Shots on Goal
|BB Community Rating*||6.27|
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Alexis Sanchez in the starting lineup: 21-4-3
2013-14 Outlook: This might finally be the year that Alexis breaks out. He showed glimpses of how useful he can be late in the previous season, and now with a forward duo of Neymar and Lionel Messi it's Alexis' time to shine. While he will probably continue to share right wing duties with Pedro it is my opinion that Alexis will get the majority of minutes off the two which should lead to increased production from the Chilean.
Next Up: Pedro