It's time to unveil the Vitality Player of the Season, as voted by the fans - and it should come as no surprise that it's Alexis Sanchez!
The Chile international had a incredible first season in England, scoring 25 goals in all competitions, and was the overwhelming winner with 66.4 per cent of the votes.
Arsenal news editor Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 26-year-old.
Since his arrival in England last July, Alexis has collected goals, assists - and superlatives.
"He is very positive, always wants to go forward, wants to hurt the opponent and he is also - what the fans like with him - a fighter"
Former Gunner Gilberto described him as “an assassin”, while an admiring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain labelled him as Arsenal’s “Duracell bunny” due to his remarkable energy levels.
The compliments seemed to arrive almost as soon as he pulled on the Arsenal shirt for the first time, and they have not stopped.
The stats tell their own story: 25 goals in 52 games, three Arsenal.com Player of the Month awards and the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year honour. Throw in a clutch of Goal of the Season contenders, some outrageous pieces of skill and an FA Cup final strike that lit up Wembley and it has been some year.
History tells us that when a big-money arrival lands on these shores, the hype and bombast can lead to inflated expectations that are next-to-impossible to live up to. That has not been the case with Alexis.
From his first goal - the winner in a nerve-shredding Champions League play-off against Besiktas - he has shown his relish for the biggest of stages. Fine strikes against Manchester City, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and a much-needed brace in the FA Cup semi-final emphasised his worth.
His Wembley wonderstrike against Aston Villa reiterated what we had suspected all along: Alexis is the real deal, a box-office superstar that would have been a bargain at double the price.
Alexis is your Arsenal.com Player of the Season - and what a season he has had.
WHAT THEY SAID:
“He is very positive, always wants to go forward, wants to hurt the opponent and he is also - what the fans like with him - a fighter. He is a guy who has a good combination of talent, combative aspect and fighting spirit.”Arsene Wenger
“When you see what he does off the pitch, behind the scenes at the training ground, and how much work he puts in, all the players just stand up and think, ‘Yeah, I need to do a bit more as well then’”Theo Walcott
“He’s unpredictable and even if he loses the ball, he’s so quick in transition and that is absolutely amazing. Every day he’s in and has so much energy. He’ll never give up and that’s the South American and Chilean mentality he brings.”Per Mertesacker
ALEXIS’ FINEST MOMENTS:
May 30, 2015: Aston Villa 0-4 ArsenalHaving already set up Theo Walcott’s opener, Alexis took centre stage in the FA Cup final with a goal that will be remembered as one of the best in the competition’s history. Collecting the ball 30 yards out, the Chilean took a touch to beat his closest marker, before unleashing an unstoppable dipping strike that crashed in off the underside of the bar.
April 4, 2015: Arsenal 4-1 LiverpoolAnother big game, another memorable goal. With the Gunners having taken control against their top-four rivals, Alexis delivered arguably the goal of the game. Latching on to Aaron Ramsey’s pass, the Chilean stepped inside Kolo Toure before walloping an extraordinary drive into the roof of the net. Such was its power that it seemed to catch Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet - and the Emirates crowd - completely by surprise.
September 13, 2014: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester CityIn a season of breathtaking goals, Alexis’ controlled volley against the champions was the one that quickly illustrated to his new fans just how big a talent he was. The Chilean had scored in his previous two appearances, but nothing like this. He raced on to Jack Wilshere’s headed pass, set himself and then calmly stroked the ball past Joe Hart and into the top corner. It was a warning of what was to come.
MICHAEL COX’S ASSESSMENT:
Alexis’ debut season will be remembered for years to come. A constant stream of goals, assists and mazy dribbles means the Chilean is one of European football’s best all-round attackers, something also obvious by his versatility. In his first couple of months he played up front, then from the right, then as a No 10, before finding a regular place on the left of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 system. From there, he can cut inside and shoot powerfully, best demonstrated by his thunderbolt in the FA Cup final. It’s difficult to remember many players who have enjoyed such a dominant first campaign in Arsenal colours.
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