The expectation: Superstardom.
Sanchez rates as one of Arsene Wenger's most exciting signings of the past 20 years and a fan-base reared on Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie is desperate for the Chile international, brought to the club from Barcelona for £32 million, to etch his name into Arsenal history alongside his predecessors. Sanchez was purchased as a lightning-quick and versatile forward, who would either perform on the right of the attack as he did for Barcelona, or through the centre as he more often does for his national team, and in spells for both Barca and Udinese. Sanchez has been purchased to add an element of magic and penetration to an Arsenal attack lacking a true attacking talisman.
Having made a bright yet brief debut against Benfica in the central striker's role, Sanchez moved to the right to accommodate Olivier Giroud and promptly saw the Frenchman waste two of his perceptive passes early on. Sanchez looked to move the ball quickly and venomously and supplied the kind of cultured passes that Theo Walcott cannot. However, with Monaco proving rather more tricky than Benfica, his enthusiastic first-half contribution produced little in terms of decisive end product, even if a couple of clever flicks drew gasps from the crowd.
Arsenal immediately looked a more dangerous proposition when he moved to a central role at half-time, with Giroud coming off, as Sanchez sometimes took on the false nine brief, dropping off the front into deep or wide positions, and sometimes played on the last shoulder, looking to run in behind. He also held his own in the air, winning two early aerial battles against Monaco's centre-backs, and then wasted a fine opportunity as he thrashed the ball wide from a pass from Santi Cazorla. But that was the best chance to come his way before Chuba Akpom took his place in attack with 16 minutes remaining.
Give him a proper go through the middle.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Bar a notable dip in form in the 2012-13 season, Bacary Sagna was the very model of consistency for Arsenal and a solid Wenger consigliere - a man to rely on, a man to to do the dirty work, even if he spoke at a barely perceptible whisper. To many, his loss to Manchester City and the subsequent recruitment of Debuchy from Newcastle ranks as a minor downgrade. Not that Didier Deschamps would agree, preferring the younger, debonaire Debuchy for France. Though something has been made of Debuchy's attributes in the air compared to Sagna, and a cautious few expect an improvement on his predecessor, most would merely hope the line of succession remains unbroken in terms of applied consistency, and Debuchy represents more of the same.
Pretty much what you would expect. Debuchy just makes sense in this Arsenal team. He slotted in quickly and comfortably and was a solid presence in the first half. The Frenchman did not demonstrate the dynamism shown by youngster Hector Bellerin 24 hours previously, but in Lucas Ocampos he was presented with a dangerous opponent and he also dropped in to help deal with Falcao on occasion.
In the second half he executed a successful yet rather inadvisable bodyswerve in his own box to slip between two Monaco players, but it was a showy moment otherwise out of keeping with a disciplined performance.
Slipped in seamlessly for Sagna.
Retiring South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis was described this week as a Jack of all trades and a master of all too, such were his accomplishments with the bat, the ball and in the field. Arsenal will be delighted if, in the teenage Chambers, they have another sportsman divested with three such prominent strings to his bow. Wenger talked up the £16m recruit from Southampton's ability to play as a centre-back, right-back and central midfielder upon his arrival but in truth immediate expectations should be more cautious for a player who has played fewer than 20 league games. Dependable back-up in the two defensive positions will do for now, given Arsenal's paucity of options at the back.
Very encouraging. After a promising yet rather uneventful first outing of the weekend against Benfica, Sunday's match against Monaco was a much more stringent test of the young man's credentials, pitting him as it did against the ruthless Falcao, making his first start since suffering a serious knee injury in January. Senior partner Laurent Koscielny was the man responsible for Falcao's goal as the striker was left unmarked and Chambers produced an impressively composed performance in the first half before he was substituted at the break. Alert to danger and moving confidently across the turf at centre-back, he also took the ball out of defence with the assurance of a man who learned his trade in midfield, even if he tried a few too many long balls for Giroud.
Much to be encouraged by.
Follow Tom Adams on Twitter @tomEurosport
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- Arsene Wenger
- Olivier Giroud
- Bacary Sagna