Former Premiere League midfielder Joey Barton has criticised Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez for his performance against his former club Barcelona. Barton, who has played for Manchester City and Newcastle United, suggested the Chilean failed to show that he is an "elite-level match-winner".
The Gunners suffered a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates in the first leg of the Champions League clash as a second-half brace from Lionel Messi was sufficient to give the treble winners the much needed lead for the return leg. The 27-year-old had a good start to his career at Arsenal after he joined the north London club from Barcelona in 2014. However, the South American's progress this season was hindered after he picked up a hamstring injury in November.
Sanchez returned to action in Arsenal's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on 24 January. Since then, he has featured in seven fixtures and has scored just one goal and registered one assist, both of which came during the FA Cup victory over Burnley.
"Alexis Sanchez, when he signed for Arsenal, I said a bit about him being slightly inconsistent," Barton told talkSPORT. "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, 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," he added.
This season, Sanchez has scored six goals for Arsene Wenger's side in the Premier League, which includes a hat-trick in their 5-2 victory over Leicester City last September. Arsenal next face Manchester United in the Premier League clash on 28 February.
The last time these two played each other saw the Gunners register a 3-0 victory, with Sanchez scored a first half brace. Wenger will be hoping the Chilean can shine when Arsenal visit Old Trafford on Sunday.