Barcelona star talks up importance of this Arsenal player

Javier Hernandez is a keen admirer of Alexis Sanchez...

Javier Mascherano has admitted that he is a keen admirer of Alexis Sanchez and has warned his Barcelona team-mate to be prepared to cope with the Chilean’s attacking threat in Tuesday’s clash with Arsenal.

Barcelona are preparing to head to Emirates Stadium to take on the Gunners in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night.

Sanchez has become something of a talismanic figure for the north London side since his arrival at the club from Barcelona in the summer of 2014.

The Chilean has recently made his return to action for the Gunners after a lay-off with a hamstring injury.

And Barcelona man Mascherano admits that he is a big fan of the former Udinese man.

Mascherano told the Guardian: “Alexis is a fighter who never gives up a ball for lost. Regardless of how well he plays, he always gives everything. That’s fundamental: he plays a huge role for them (Arsenal), transcendental.

“His aggression and attitude is infectious. He transmits so much. And I think he did deliver here: he was very involved. Maybe he needed the challenge of a greater part elsewhere; you can understand that. But he gave us a lot.”

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Arsenal head into Tuesday night’s game on the back of their frustrating goalless draw with Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

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