Martin Keown believes that Manchester United winger Angel di Maria is a better player than Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
And he has his reasons.
“I think Di Maria has a slightly better all round game with the number of goals he sets up,” the former Arsenal defender told The Daily Mail. “At Madrid it was as if he was trying to prove he could match Bale and Ronaldo so he ran more often with the ball. Now it looks like he feels he has less to prove at United and looks a better player because of it.
“Sanchez sets the tone at Arsenal. He works so hard and the fans love him. His work-rate is infectious and he has moments of brilliance too. He seems to be able to go past people with that little burst of pace but he is a fighter, too.
“He has tremendous heart and is a crowd-pleaser, but that’s because he wants to do it, not because he wants to play to the crowd. Both players have the quality to get people on their feet but it’s almost impossible to separate them.
“If I say Sanchez, I get battered for being biased! But they are equally important to their teams, let’s just hope we see them at their best on Saturday.”
Di Maria and Sanchez are not similar players and do not play in the same positions, but the former is probably better as Keown highlights.
Sanchez has been Arsenal’s best player so far this season, but over the years it is Di Maria who has been better.
The Argentina international winger was a key figure for Real Madrid in the last four years and was one of their three most important last campaign which ended in Champions League triumph.
As good as Sanchez is, he did not exactly look great at Barcelona - at least not as great as the likes of Andres Iniesta or Pedro. Which is why the Catalan giants let him leave in the summer transfer window.
This is not to say that Sanchez did not play well at Barcelona; it’s just that he was not quite suited to the Blaugrana’s style of football. But the Premier League suits him perfectly.
As for Di Maria, he has shown that he can adapt with ease. The former Benfica star can play in attacking midfield and as a winger, and he is also tactically more flexible.