With Arsenal fans and players licking our wounds this week after losing the Champions League home game against Barcelona thanks to two goals from the great Lionel Messi and another blank from the Arsenal attack, the last thing we want to hear is a player like Joey Barton spouting off about where it all went wrong.
But he has never been one to keep his opinions to himself and so the journeyman midfielder was quick to lay into the Arsenal and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez for what he deemed as a lacklustre and ineffectual performance against his former club.
And as you can see in a Metro report, Barton went further than merely criticising the way Sanchez played against Barca. He used the game as evidence to show that our striker is not actually the quality player that he has been hailed as. The suggestion is that his failure to shine in this big game is a regular trait of Alexis and this apparently proves that he is not a really top level player.
Barton said, ‘Alexis Sanchez, when he signed for Arsenal, I said a bit about him being slightly inconsistent.
‘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.
‘That was a prime opportunity on the elite-level stage [against Barcelona] – 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, 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.’
So is he right? Well I would definitely agree that Alexis did not really do it for us this week. And he has been below par since coming back from his two months out of action with injury. However, when you lack back at his career so far, with Barcelona and Chile as well as with Arsenal, you cann see quite a few times when Sanchez really has stepped up in the big games.
He has starred and scored in more than one El Clasico encounter against Real Madrid, he has scored big goals in Champions League and cup games, including one in the FA cup final last year. And just this summer he score a cheekily chipped ‘panenka’ penalty to secure Chile a first ever Copa America title.
Does that sound to you like a player that struggles in big games? I just hope that something snaps Alexis out of his current slump as soon as possible. Maybe someone should read Barton’s comments to him before the Man United game on Sunday…