Arsene Wenger has praised three key performers following Arsenal's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Thursday (21 April). Alexis Sanchez's two goals put Arsenal back in the third place in the Premier League, five points behind Tottenham Hotspur in second, but more crucially two and four points ahead of Manchester City and United respectively, with whom they are battling for a place in the top four.
The north London club are going through a dreadful run of form in the league and their victory over the Baggies was only their third in eight games, which has seen them go from title contenders to top four hopefuls. Wenger has also come under increasing pressure with the club supporters' opinions divided over the French coach continuing at the club.
Champions League football will be crucial for Arsenal next season, and they took one more step towards securing a place in the top four with a much needed win, and it was all down to the Chilean forward, who is finally rediscovering his form following a difficult season interrupted by injury. Sanchez has scored six goals in as many league games, which will bode well for the Gunners in their final four games of the campaign.
"It looks like Sanchez is back sharper, more confident. In the first half he was exceptional," Wenger said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"When you are a manager you want your team to have every chance and be clinical, unfortunately it doesn't always work like that. You have to make the right decision, sometimes you have to combine, sometimes to take a shot. It's down to the players and that's down to a fraction of a second."
Apart from Sanchez, the manager also had high praise for Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin, whose impressive performances this campaign have seen him included the PFA team of the year, making him the only player from Arsenal to make the team. The former is having a stellar campaign after breaking into the team midway through the season, with the manager also surprised at his rise into becoming a regular member of the starting XI.
Bellerin is the perfect player to relate to Iwobi's sudden rise, as he followed a similar pattern after being introduced to the first-team last season. After a positive breakthrough campaign, the Spanish U21 international has established himself as the Gunners' first choice right-back and has played in every league game bar two thus far this season.
"He [Iwobi] is improving game after game because he is just coming in. That is another positive from the season. He has shown quality game after game and he is surprising," Wenger said, as quoted by Arsenal's official site.
"His consistency is surprising, because he has only played youth football and suddenly he plays at that pace. I'm a bit cautious with him sometimes, but overall what he produces is a football player."
"He [Bellerin] was like Iwobi last year, that means he came into the squad and continued to develop. For Iwobi that's a good way to follow, to move even a step up next season. The positive of the season is that Hector has been consistent. He was outstanding in the first half as well," the French coach added.