Conundrum at right back?

Bellerin vs Niles: analysing who comes out on top in right-back spot battle
Bellerin, Soares, Maitland-Niles, Chambers – who should start at RB for us?

Based on our discussions on the last post, I thought I would bring the Right-Back discussion on this post.

In a nutshell, here were the different opinions:

  1. Some of us believed that if we were to improve our squad at Right-Back through player acquisition, we should look to sell Bellerin and buy a certain starter and we should keep Soares as a back-up.
  2. Some of us believed that if we were to improve our squad at Right-Back through player acquisition, we should keep Bellerin and buy a player that would actually and truly challenge Bellerin for the starting spot, meaning that Soares should be sold.

Now, this discussion clearly omitted Chambers and AMN so to add more complexity to the issue, what do we do with Chambers and AMN? Are they to be used as squad players or shall we entertain offers for them?

I think that AMN should be given more playing time for sure but that Arteta needs to basically be clear with him about his positioning. I d like to see him in the midfield but I also recall his great performances as a LWB. I think we have to be fair to him and his development.

As for Chambers, I am not sure if there is any space left for him in the team. We have Bellerin, Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Luiz, Mari at CB (plus still Mustafi and Saliba will come back and maybe Celik will be a good surprise), Tierney and AMN playing defensively. He could eventually look to play in the midfield but even there, we have Partey/Xhaka/El Neny and eventually AMN too. So is there really room for Chambers at AFC?

Anyways, looking forward to reading your thoughts. Have a good week everyone! COYG!


32 Responses to Conundrum at right back?

  1. RC78 says:

    Replace CB by defenders when reading the post above

  2. LB says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write a post.

    The main conversation was between me and you and if you felt that I fell into category 1 I appreciate the opportunity to put things right because that certainly is not what I said.

    It should read:

    1 Some of us believe that if we want to improve our squad at Right-Back through player acquisition (and lets be clear here there is no point in doing this unless the player is better than Bellerin) then the result would mean that Hector would be spending lengthy spells on the bench, something he would not be happy with and would ask to be sold. If Hector is sold then we would need a back up to our new improved RB and hey presto we are back with Soares.

    Where I differ is that I do not feel that Bellerin would be happy to be a squad player making the occasional appearance. He may not be world class but there would be plenty of suiters.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers RC, this is a vital position in which we probably should make a change. Bellerin is ok but lacks the quality final ball into the box most of the time. Defensively he is good but not great, so we should look to improve. Having said that, he seems to flourish in this new formation with Saka and Elneny linking up well with him both in defence and attack, and he is the sort of a new Mr Arsenal, always motivated and fighting for the shirt. Maybe we should give it more time. With Soares we have a good nr2, nothing more nothing less and that is just what we need imo.

    AMN does not seem to progress under Arteta right now, and I trust Mikel re this.

    Chambers is a good squad player to have but I expect him to move on soon. Like you, I would consider him for a midfield role (similar to Elneny).

  4. LB says:

    Hi Total

    I completely forgot that Chambers can play the same role as Elneny.

    Another good point you raise is the definition of a good nr2?

    Is Soares a good nr2? I think so may others don’t we may have hit on the bone of contention?

    By way of example I would say that Runnerson is not looking a good back up.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi LB, it looked to me that Arsenal were trying to buy two keepers last summer and Runarsson was not regarded as nr2 material. They may have run out of time and getting a good nr2, who is happy to play as such, may not be easy to find in such a short period.

    The full back and keeper positions are perhaps the most in need for solid, content not to play many games, nr2s. In the other positions the ‘nr2s’ seem to get more playing time and nr1s are less certain of being automatic picks.

  6. Afam N says:

    Well, I’ll rather keep Chambers for RB position and well Soares. Soares is single purpose average player. Considering that he was meant to be challenging Bellerin, the mere mention of AMN as an a back up player to Bellerin is an indictment to Soares.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Adam, it does not look like that as, Soares started Saturday and not AMN. With Kola on loan I would imagine AMN is Tierney’s ba k up now, if he was not already. It must be a frightening prospect to be the Scottish Terrier’s nr2 right now 😊

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Apologies Afam not Adam of course, bloody spell checker.. 🙄

  9. Sheila says:

    I agree with Afam about keeping Chambers

  10. RC78 says:

    Hi LB – thanks for clarifying your views and apologies if I did not get them 100% right in the post. The main difference was that I d rather sell Soares, really 🙂

    I agree that at the moment, AMN is KT’s back-up. I think AMN has improved though under Arteta as his performances at the end of last year showed. He also had a few decent outings this year.

    As for Chambers, I am totally OK with him leaving.

  11. RockyLives says:

    First off, well done RC – a great idea to spin the interesting discussion about RB into a post.

    First, looking at who we currently have, I think the following:

    Soares: I have been disappointed with what I’ve seen from him so far, but I thought he was pretty decent against Toon on Saturday and he was well liked by Saints fans so I’m prepared to give him more chances as a back-up RB. Bear in mind that he is also comfortable filling in at LB, so he is a bit of a utility back-up for both fullback positions.

    Bellerin: it has taken him a long, long time after returning from injury to find any kind of consistent form, but he has been doing better lately. Would we love a right-sided Tierney? Of course, but there are few players like that in world football at the moment. Belli also gives us a slightly different offensive threat to Tierney. KT is great at getting down the line and getting dangerous crosses in. Hector likes to surge forward into the inside right channel and play one-twos with the likes of ESR and Saka (he seems to work much better with them than with Pepe or Willian). As TA says above, he seems to really be on a wavelength with Saka and ESR and that’s quite exciting.

    Chambers: he’s not a right back. Yes he can fill in there, but he’s too slow which is a handicap against fast opposition wingers and a hindrance when it comes to contributing to our attack. I like CC, but I’d like to see him kept as a back-up right sided CB or tried as a defensive midfielder (when he played the latter role in his loan season at Fulham we was voted the supporters’ player of the year).

    AMN: he can provide back-up at RB or LB but wants to play MF. As others have said, Arteta needs to really identify a role for him or move him on. He has bags of potential but seems a bit lost in terms of his Arsenal direction (not necessarily through any fault of his own).

    In summary, I am happy with Bellerin as first choice RB and Soares as back-up. Why go into the market and spend a load of money on someone who may or may not be as good as Hector?

    And as LB says, if we did sign a really top notch RB then Hector will not be content to play second fiddle – he’ll be off to Spain or Italy (or Manchester) before you can say “son of Priam,” so we’ll still have the problem of “who’s the back-up?”

    Of course if a right-sided Tierney was available and we could afford him, then I would not be opposed to bringing him in if he was on obvious upgrade on Hector, and then letting Hector move on. But I don’t think there are many players would be an automatic upgrade.

    That was all a bit long… sorry.

  12. RC78 says:

    I agree that it is not easy to find an automatic upgrade to Hector…Another factor is that he is also a Home-Grown player and an Arsenal kid in a way. I think he might just benefit from more competition at his spot because Soares is not as good for sure. What do you make of Pereira?

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, that is an excellent description of how Tierney and Bellerin differ in their style of play. And it is indeed hard to find a right sided Tierney, as these are the hot ticket right now.

    I thought it was a masterstroke to move Saka to the right. It freed up Tierney and made the right flank much better, especially in the 4-2-3-1 system. Saka makes Bellerin a better player, and Saka can use Bels to be very effective on the right. And ESR is linking up well on both flanks and is making a big difference too (and I agree with LB that if Willian can play with these players we might see a strong improvement in his performances).

  14. LB says:


    I am smiling writing this. You say:

    “The main difference was that I’d rather sell Soares, really”

    No, that is not a difference, I would rather sell Soares, buy a right sided Tierney have Hector as back up and while I am going through my wish list I would also like Messi at THOF.

    Having Bellerin as back up, playing the occasional game is not a practical desire.

    PSG have the funds to have 2 world class players vying for each position, unfortunately Arsenal do not.

  15. dawud muhammad says:

    just let Callum Chambers be Partey’s backup, at times even his partner in midfield, Chambers challenges for headers, unlike Xhaka and Elneny,he has decent quickness, is very composed on the ball, he can dribble, tackle, and can defend one-on-one

  16. RA says:

    A very good Post, RC, and it has generated some sensible discussions. 😁

    I have made myself something of a hostage to fortune after noting that the discussions have been sensible – as someone who tends to think outside the box when my fellow bloggers are demonstrating their much better intellectual grasp of a subject, in this case, putting forward good arguments for who to select as the lead RB for Arsenal, and who should be the understudy (Nr 1s and Nr 2s have an unfortunate association with bodily functions).

    You are all way above my head, figuratively speaking, so simple is for a simple man like me.

    You are boxed in by having to choose a status quo in Belli (Nr1) with an understudy in Soares as (Nr2) — Mikel shows no interest in switching them in the Premier.

    The suggestion in the conversation that AMN should be considered as the lead right back, or as the understudy just does not hold water. Mikel does not want that, otherwise why buy Cedric, AMN himself does not want that position, and more importantly I do not want any of them. 😜

    Keep Belli in football perpetuity? No No, No — Thrice No.
    If Mikel wants that, I will take a sabbatical from Arsenal until Belli retires. He is a midget who has lost his pace, his only redeeming feature, and his auto-pilot keeps turning him around towards our goal when he gets into the opposition half.

    Keep Cedric and make him our Nr1. Really? Why on earth would anyone want that.

    We have been very successful with placing youth in our team, which has stopped what looked like a plunge for the bottom.

    Let’s do it again. Zac Swanson is a young (20 y.o.) defender with pace and at 6′ 2″ would bring athleticism to the RB position that it has lacked for some seasons now.

    Let’s have a look and see who could back up Keiran at LB – well, ferret around in the youth echelons, and there is Tolaji Bola, a big tough nut who would not let us down if Tierney ever had further injury problems.

    To sum up —
    1) NO to any of the three choices or combinations in the RB position.
    2) Do the sensible thing — look for assets we already have to replace those players at right back who are not good enough — why should we just make do – and hope?
    3) And we also have some very good youth options as cover for the LB position — with my recommendation being Bola.

    Arteta has already shown he is prepared to look outside the box in other positions, and made some great choices, namely Saka, Martinelli, ESR and Runaroundson

    [Doffs cap to the AA intellectuals, and walks away whistling Dixie]

  17. RA says:

    Hi, LB

    I need enlightenment 😉 — you are often on the button, but in your Wishlist you say;

    “while I am going through my wish list I would also like Messi at THOF” — why would you want Messi at The House Of Frazer?

  18. RockyLives says:

    Good point Dawud

    I would like to see Chambers tried in that position.

  19. LB says:


    Good one RA

  20. LB says:

    What becomes apparent when talking about Chambers is how versatile he is and that I imagine is almost certainly the reason he remains on the books.

  21. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post RC, it has inspired some challenging responses.

    I’ll admit I have a problem with Cedric (possibly unfairly) because I suspect his purchase was one of those driven by some form of personal gain for employees no longer at the club.

    But then when I look at it, I realise that I don’t believe Soares is any better than Chambers or M-N at RB and we already had them in the squad. I watched Cedric the other day and the defensive side of his game is OK, but he offers little going forward. I don’t know how pacy he is because he didn’t once bomb forward and try to get behind the opposition’s FB. He made as if to get forward and when approached by a defender tended to stop and instigate the now infamous horseshoe passing ploy.

    My view on Hector is that with a good player in front of him who is prepared to defend he is good enough – without that he is often found wanting defensively.

  22. Rasp says:

    We’re away to Southampton or Shrewsbury Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    LN I think the same can be said of AMN as you have said of Chambers that with the home grown tag almost makes them indispensable over the course of a long season.

    We shouldn’t forget that whilst PL rules state the over 21’s that are named have to be at least 8 national home grown players, European rules also require there to be 8 but in addition that 4 are club home grown, Hector fits the Bill on both as does AMN possibly Chambers too but that I think is it? Although Macey is probably included.

    Thankfully Saka, ESR, Martinelli are all exempt from being named as are Willock and Nketiah.

    Comments on Runarsson above make me think again we need to find a 35 plus goal keeper willing to ride the pine but capable of performing if needed, Ben Foster would be ideal, or someone similar.

    On the right back debate that makes losing Hector difficult, as it reduces both our Europa and PL squad choices, so we hopefully have RAs right back from the youth set up or perhaps there is someone homegrown at some of the other clubs we can pick up for the short term, but let’s stop thinking they’ll be world class.

  24. RA says:

    Hi GIE,

    Macey has gone — he is no longer an Arsenal player.

  25. Rasp says:

    With Macey gone and reading Mikel’s thoughts I’m pretty sure a second choice keeper is top of our wish list this TW

  26. Gööner In Exile says:

    Missed that RA, it’s the season of tax returns 🙂 my only sports news comes from here.

    Definitely an old boy needed then and preferably a home grown one as there is only a Kolasniac size hole for one non home grown.

  27. Rasp says:

    Apparently we tried to buy David Raya from Brentford but they wanted too much … and he’s Spanish. By all accounts he’s a very good keeper.

  28. GoonerB says:

    Just look at the grammar, definitely that of someone cerebrally challenged. This phone is on its last warning. If it keeps making me look like a 5 year old then……..visions of Basil Fawlty and his broken down car spring to mind.

  29. RockyLives says:


  30. LBG says:

    Bola is back.

  31. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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