Iniesta labels Arsenal star Sanchez as ‘unpredictable’

Andres Iniesta thinks Alexis Sanchez could be a danger when Barcelona meet Arsenal in the Champions League.

GABRIEL BOUYS

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has labeled Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez as "unpredictable" ahead of their Champions League tie.

Arsenal take on the reigning European champions at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their last-16 tie, aiming to secure their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite competition for the first time since 2010, when they were beaten by the Catalan giants. 

Sanchez spent three years with Barcelona before joining Arsenal for £35m in 2014 and has since be a huge hit in north London, scoring 35 goals in 78 appearances. 

And Iniesta admits Barcelona will have to be at their very best to nullify the threat posed by Sanchez. 

"What makes Alexis so dangerous is that he is unpredictable," he told Barcelona’s official YouTube channel. "When he dribbles, when he attacks, he is a very strong player.

"He’s got skill and when he has the ball he always creates doubts. In that sense, we have to try to make him feel uncomfortable on the field and try to minimize his strengths."

Barcelona dumped Arsenal out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage back in 2011, despite the Gunners picking up a memorable 2-1 first-leg victory at the Emirates, with Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin scoring late on to claim the win. 

Arsenal were also denied their first ever Champions League crown by Barcelona in the final of the competition in 2006, where late goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti saw the La Liga champions triumph at the Stade de France in Paris. 

Although Barcelona arguably boast world football’s most in-form forward line in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Iniesta says he and his team-mates must be wary of Arsenal’s attacking strength. 

"Arsenal are known for having a style of play, a way of understanding football through having the ball," he said. "I also think that the type of players that their coach or that Arsenal look for are very similar.

"I think their strong spots are their quality, their talent and the way they play. The way they attack, the way they combine. I think they’re a very dangerous opponent in that sense."