It happens, from time to time. It seems like it happens more to Arsenal than to other teams, but that might just be my selective attention -- a player performs really well, scores a bunch of goals, and suddenly everyone starts asking questions.
"Where would Arsenal be without _______?"
It happened with Robin van Persie, it happened a little with Aaron Ramsey, and now it's starting to happen with Alexis Sanchez. The Telegraph. Sky Sports. Ian Wright. And it is pretty much always dumb as hell.
First of all, there's chaos theory. The pop version, at least. Basically the question these people are asking assumes that without Alexis, nobody would take his place. In a manner of speaking that would be true -- in terms of quality, there's really only one player I would say can definitely match up with Alexis, maybe two if I'm charitable. But in specific situations it's a ridiculous thing to say. Think about the goal that Alexis scored against last night against Southampton. Yeah, it was A Thing because it was Sanchez who scored it, but it wasn't exactly a technically amazing goal. Lukas Podolski was nearby, and I'm pretty sure he could have also finished it.
Additionally, had we not bought Alexis, who's to say we wouldn't have brought in someone else? A different, still awesome, attacking player? Again, it's (Jurassic Park) chaos theory.
The point is not to denigrate Alexis (far from it, in fact). The point is that you can't guess at what would happen if you take a player out of a team and replace him with another. It'd probably make the team worse -- actually, it almost definitely would. But a guy like Ian Wright can't tell me we'd be mid-table, and you can't just subtract the goals he's scored and adjust the results. That's simply not how it works.
The other reason is this.
Bit bored of the whole "Where would Arsenal be without Alexis?".. We bought him, we paid for him, it's what he's here for— David (@Jagsy10) December 3, 2014
It doesn't matter where we'd be if we hadn't bought him. (If you want to talk about where we'd be in the future if he gets hurt, that's a whole other issue and not one I'm trying to delve into at the moment.) We did, and we did it for a reason. HINT: It's because Arsene Wenger knew he's amazing.
It doesn't matter how we'd be doing without him. You buy and develop great players because they make your team better. They score goals, they defend, they make saves. That's the point of having them. Yes, we'd probably be worse off without him. But there's not really any way to know how much, or why, or any of that. And the rush to say "yeah, that was great, BUT YOU'D BE BAD WITHOUT HIM" just feels like more talking-head-driven bullshit.
We have a great player. Let's just enjoy him, and quit picking at it.