BBC pundit Garth Crooks has leapt to the defence of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, calling his decision to play Alexis Sanchez up-front as a 'masterstroke'.

The former Tottenham forward went on to compare the Sanchez to Luis Suarez during the Uruguayan's time at Liverpool in 2013.


Sanchez has been one of Arsenal's, and the Premier League's, best players so far this season, scoring four goals and creating 19 chances in nine Premier League appearances.

He has also performed well in the Champions League for Arsenal, scoring twice and creating eight chances in three appearances.

The Chilean forward's dazzling performances as a central striker, as opposed to his natural position of a winger, has seen manager Arsene Wenger receive some deserved praise in recent weeks.

“It has been a masterstroke from Arsene Wenger playing Alexis Sanchez through the centre,” Crooks told BBC Sport. “He is playing like Luis Suarez a few years ago at Liverpool.”

While his goal-tally for the season is not quite on a par with Suarez from 2013/14, Sanchez certainly looks like a more complete player than he did at spells last season.

His ability to hold onto the ball despite his small stature proves that you don't have to be a lumbering forward to hold down the No.9 role in modern football.

Sanchez will have the chance to improve his goalscoring record twice this week, as Arsenal prepare to face Reading in the League Cup on Tuesday before heading to Premier League's strugglers Sunderland in Saturday's early kick-off.