by Lewis Ambrose

Arsène Wenger has backed Alexis Sánchez to do even more in his second season of English football.

After joining from Barcelona last summer the Chilean star scored 25 goals in 52 appearances for Arsenal, but Wenger has said he thinks he can grow into an even better player this season. A barren spell from January to March suggests the Arsenal manager is right, and Arsenal fans can expect the forward to go from strength to strength.

José Mourinho had said that his winger, Eden Hazard, is better than Cristiano Ronaldo but Wenger refused to be drawn into such a discussion.

“I don’t like all these comparisons,” Wenger told the media on Tuesday. “Everybody always thinks his player is the best.

“But, for me, what Sanchez did for his first year in the Premier League is absolutely exceptional and hopefully he cannot only repeat it but he can grow again.”

Arsenal struggled in the first part of the season with Alexis carrying the team but his performances dropped off when Mesut Özil returned and results improved. By the end of the season both were playing well and had developed an understanding, which will only encourage Arsenal fans.

The manager did reserve some praise for Hazard but suggested that Mourinho’s claims were wide of the mark as Hazard doesn’t have the incredible output of Ronaldo.

“Hazard can decide the game. You always put the top players in this kind of calibre. They can decide games by creating something special. Hazard is in that category,” said Wenger.

“Now to reach the other two or three who are dominating world football at the moment I think it demands consistency. That’s what he has still to do.”

“It’s all about opinions and after you have to compare the numbers and I must say players like Messi and Ronaldo still score 50 goals a season and that is absolutely exceptional.”

Alexis has said he wants to be the best player in the world and he certainly has the hunger to aim that high. He won’t rest until he is the best possible player he can be, which bodes well for Arsenal ahead of the upcoming season.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil