Posted originally on Arsenal Mania
Screwed up faces. Clenched fists. Shirts ripped off in pure ecstacy and frustration. The many visages of Phil Jones.
There are many manifestations of footballer’s mentality on show. It happens in every game that rolls out in front of hordes of cameras, and millions can pore over each and every second, which means that the minutiae of players movements can be open to every single interpretation conceivable.
With such huge rewards on offer, and the spotlight only growing larger, it means that winning will become more fundamental that ever before. Efforts to obtain success and a lasting legacy will also grow with it.
Cause and effect. Motivation should not be an issue, but players ignite the fire in their bellies in different ways. Some have trophies on a pedestal, but some simply have an allergic reaction to losing. It is not in their nature to take a loss in any other way than with disgust and a grimace.
Like the medicine you were forced to take as a youngster, some things are difficult to swallow without a tangible showing of abhorrence.
Alexis Sanchez is one of these players.
There has been a shift in the apparent mood of the Chilean this season, and it has coincided with his team suffering a run of form which has rendered any hope of League success moot. As the results have turned sour, so has Alexis and his actions on the pitch.
His angry gesticulations, his frustrations at poor passes and the regular breaking down of attacks. He has been unable to quell the feelings of dismay he has, and it has burned to the fore.
The fact that there are no other players in the team who exhibit the same symptoms of sore losing only serves to exacerbate what some interpret as an unhappy player.
They would be correct of course. Sanchez is certainly not on cloud nine at the moment. It isn’t because he wants to leave the club though. It is only because he cannot abide losing.
In a recent match for Chile versus Argentina, Alexis displayed the same signs of exasperation that have been on show when wearing an Arsenal jersey. This time though, it was the red shirt of Chile he was chomping down on rather than in Arsenal colours. It was a prime example of his indignance at how the game was being played out.
His hunger for the ball and drive when in possession are admirable traits, but in their purest forms they are just another symptom of his fierce desire to win. Just like when he stretches out his shorts and screams to the heavens when another chance goes begging.
Have we all become so sensitive that we must hold these examples up and declare them examples of a player who is either spoiled and wants things his own way, or as a man who is actively looking to jump a sinking ship?
If another player were to act in the manner that Alexis does, would this also be used as an example of an unhappy player looking at greener grass?
In teams of the past, we have had men who shared the same ferocious mentality. When things were not going well, their go-to reactions were anger and vexation. Vieira, Keown, even Thierry Henry – they all looked like miserable gits on the pitch. Were they chastised or pilloried for their long faces and wild showings of emotion?
Alexis and his desire should be rubbing off on his teammates, rather than segregating them. We could do with a few more who would run themselves into the ground in order to stave of disappointment.