Joey Barton has backtracked on comments he has made about Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean international has lit up the Premier League since signing, terrorising defences with his ability on the ball and tireless work off it.
Barton caused controversy at the weekend, telling Forever Sports magazine: "I said he was inconsistent, from what I saw for Udinese and Barcelona. You see him now, great at home against a smaller side but disappears against Manchester United."
The timing of Barton's comments wasn't great though, for he comes up against Sanchez this weekend and has moved to downplay what he said, by showering the star with praise.
He told London24: "For me he’s been a breath of fresh air. He’s great to watch. Even if he doesn’t play well he works hard for the team, scores goals – all that you’d expect from a £40million player.”
Asked if he will be able to stop him, he replied: "Not really – I don’t think I’m good enough to be honest! I’ll leave that to someone else. It’ll be difficult."
Sanchez has scored nine Premier League goals this season, almost exactly half of the 20 QPR have netted.
While Barton has admitted he probably can't stop the irrepressible star, that won't stop him trying to rattle him in his usual manner.
Arsene Wenger knows all about Barton from his team's previous clashes against him, once drawing Gervinho into being sent off. He will have to hope the more experienced South American is wiser, and simply too quick for Barton to catch.