Alexis Sanchez enjoyed his return to Arsenal as he scored in a 3-1 win for Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round.
It was his first time back at the Emirates Stadium since his switch to Old Trafford last January.
Written in the script
There was perhaps little surprise that it was Sanchez who set United on their way and it was a moment that Arsenal fans will have hated. The Chilean produced a brilliant finish to put United 1-0 up in the 31st minute as after being played onside by Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He rounded Petr Cech and then clipped home impressively from an acute angle. He did not hold back on his celebration, either, being mobbed in front of the North Bank – a section of the Emirates Stadium that used to idolise him. It was just his fifth goal for United.
Sanchez is hardly Mr Popular around these parts following his departure last January, with Arsenal fans believing he chose to join United for financial reasons. Therefore he was not afforded a warm reception on his first game back in north London. He was roundly booed when his name was read out before kick-off and that treatment continued throughout his time on the pitch whenever he touched the ball. The loudest boo came when his name was read out as the first goalscorer of the game, that was until he was replaced in the 72nd minute, when the home fans let him know exactly how they feel about him.
Back in the groove
This was his first appearance since suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury against Reading at the start of the month and he looked sharp in the opening 45 minutes, culminating with his 31st-minute goal. He ran out of steam after the break and could not offer United the pace and energy they needed on the break. He was replaced by Anthony Martial in the 72nd minute.
It was the perfect return to the club where he spent four years and made 166 appearances. He got on the score sheet, just his fifth in a United shirt, showcasing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer what he can offer. And moreover, his goal provided the starting block for another United win, the eighth successive one under the Norwegian.