Chile are the current Unofficial Football World Champions, and can claim to be, unofficially, the best team in the world. But with only one current Chilean player playing in England, can the Premier League claim to be the best league in the world? And is the Chilean its best player?
After the relegation of Queens Park Rangers at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, loan signings Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas returned to their parent clubs and left the Premier League after only one season. Since then the pair have made permanent moves to Hoffenheim and Marseille respectively. However, this has left somewhat of a void in England’s top flight.
Over the years quite a few notable Chileans have plied their trade in the world’s most watched league. The likes of Gary Medel (Cardiff City), Angelo Henriquez (Wigan Athletic), Mark Gonzales (Liverpool), Jean Beausejour (Wigan and Birmingham) and Clarence Acuna (Newcastle) have all had relative success in their times at various Premier League clubs. However, the departure of Isla and Vargas means that the talismanic Alexis Sanchez is left as the only Chilean currently playing in English football.
As we all know, Sanchez has had an illustrious career thus far, winning the La Liga with Barcelona in 2011/12 along with a Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup among others. During his time with the Spanish giants he got to play with Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta but for the most part, this was a dominant time for their La Liga rivals Real Madrid under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho.
After the signings of Neymar and Luis Saurez at the Nou Camp, Sanchez soon became surplus to requirements and his move to Arsenal was sanction in a deal worth a reported £35 million in the summer of 2014. Sanchez was a revelation in his first season with the Gunners scoring 16 league goals and winning the club’s Player of the Season award along the way.
However, with Arsenal’s indifferent start to the season, manager Arsene Wenger will be looking at Sanchez to spearhead a title challenge. After an opening day loss to West Ham at the Emirates many pundits again revisited the age-old question of whether the Gunners had what it took defensively to actually challengers for the title.
It looked promising in the summer when Wenger finally managed to sign a world class keeper in the form of Chelsea’s long time number one Petr Cech after he lost his place to wonderkid Thibaut Courtois last season. Although it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Cech as he couldn’t have wished for a worse start – he was at fault for at least one of the two goals on the opening day of the season. However, with a positive performance in a draw against Liverpool, Cech seems to have settled in now at the Emirates.
But again, the Gunners have their skeptics in abundance this season. Due to Arsenal’s inactivity in the transfer market – the club failed to sign an outfield player – the pressure will undoubtedly be on Alexis Sanchez to deliver once more. Fellow striker Danny Welbeck is again struggling with injury thus Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott will be expected to weigh in with a sizeable goal tally this campaign. And with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United investing heavily in players during the preseason, this looks like it will be another tough ask to win the Premier League for Wenger’s team.
As far as the UFWC goes, Sanchez’s next game for Chile is a a World Cup qualifier against Brazil on 8 October. We’ll have full coverage of the Chile vs Brazil UFWC title match right here.