Joey Barton has hit out at Alexis Sanchez following our 2-0 loss against Barcelona, claiming the Chilean has shown that he isn’t an “elite-level match-winner”, as reported by talkSPORT.
The controversial Burnley midfielder suggests he was never convinced by Alexis, and believes he’s been over-hyped since his move to north London. He claims this past Tuesday night was his chance to show just how good he is, and the 27-year-old just didn’t take it.
“Alexis Sanchez, when he signed for Arsenal, I said a bit about him being slightly inconsistent,” he said.
“Whilst everyone was getting carried away with him, I didn’t think he would be the piece in the jigsaw that took Arsenal on to be league champions – ironically this season they have a good chance of doing that.
“We saw that last night, that was a prime opportunity on the elite-level stage – go and be a match-winner, show everybody that you are an elite-level match-winner and I think he failed to do that.
“On the other side of the coin, [Lionel] Messi is a proven elite-level match-winner and he didn’t have his most flamboyant, his most exciting game but he did what the best in the world do.”
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He’s essentially comparing Alexis to Messi, which is ridiculous in itself. The Arsenal man is unquestionably supremely talented, but he’s not on Messi’s level. Very few are obviously, as the Argentine is arguably the best player ever to have played the game, so why Barton expects the two to be comparable is a mystery.
On top of which, Barcelona are unquestionably a better side. They are perhaps the best team in football right now, so why is Alexis automatically expected to step up and be a match winner? Winning at all would have been a tall order, but to pin it on one player is just ridiculous.
And finally, why pick one game to prove that a player is ‘elite-level’? Nobody will deny that Alexis Sanchez hasn’t been in the best form recently, and he’s really struggled to recreate the form he showed in his debut campaign. He has shown regularly in the past that he’s capable of scoring on the big occasion though, and last season he was singlehandedly dragging us over the line at times.
It’s unreasonable to expect him to be in top form all the time, but Barton clearly doesn’t understand that.
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Despite a poor run of form, Alexis is still a top quality footballer. He’s unlikely to take any notice of a second-rate thug like Barton, but it’s still ridiculous to hear Barton spout such tripe.