Yesterday RC79 asked whether there was an issue with our right back position and whether or not we ought to be going into the market for a replacement for Hector Bellerin or for a better ‘back-up’ option than Cedric.
It prompted an interesting discussion that ranged across the merits or otherwise of Bellerin, Cedric, Maitland-Niles, Chambers and up-and-coming youth team prospects.
But GoonerB threw a spanner in the works by suggesting we were looking in the wrong place. Our problem was not at right back, but at left back. Here’s his argument:
When analysing the squad I start from the position of accepting two main things.
Firstly that behind a world class 1st 11, a successful squad needs useful utility and squad players in it that will not sulk if they are 2nd choice, but are of decent quality and will always give their all when called upon.
Secondly, that I don’t expect us to have world class cover in all positions right now; we are still a developing team, but are further on than I think many believe.
I am in agreement with RA that we should look within more, particularly our academy players, when looking for back up options. They tick the boxes of generally not sulking at being 2nd choice and work hard to impress when called upon.
As this season progresses we will learn more about certain players and this will help us be more certain what we need to do in the summer.
The jury is out for me on many players and I don’t want us to rush in our judgement on certain players. Some, like Willian and Pepe, that have been flattering to deceive, may come good with confidence placed in them. Some will prove to not be good enough as 1st choice or suitable as a number two.
My feelings on Bellerin tend to yoyo. Sometimes I feel he is stepping up but at other times I feel he is lacking in certain qualities that he should have in his locker by now.
He is not a new arrival, has had a lot of playing time in his best position, and is a decent age now. Having said that I want to see how he goes for the rest of the season and in the right balanced formation.
I also agree with those that would keep Chambers. Let us not forget that many felt he was looking our best defender pre-latest injury, and I also concur that he could be useful in three positions.
I see him at worst as one of those highly useful squad players that can be as important as the single superstar.
I’m actually less concerned about right back with options from Bellerin, Soares, AMN and Chambers. We can see if a quality upgrade is needed in the summer but would also like to see the youngster RA mentioned given a go (Zac Swanson ).
At left full back we have no questions on quality with our first choice, but we have no back up options, AMN aside and I’m not sure about that one. I’d like to see AMN used more often but in a different role to Tierney’s back up.
We just loaned out our 2nd choice and I believe Bola is also out on loan, so unless he is recalled we look sparse on options should something happen to Tierney. I also worry about our back up options to Leno so, for me, GK and LFB are the areas that we could potentially suffer in more than RFB this season.
One final thing. Total Arsenal, you said in comments that you thought it was a masterstroke to move Saka to the attacking right. Well on this very site there is a cerebrally-challenged blogging moron who has called for this for some time, in addition to a couple of the other more esteemed bloggers on here. Maybe Mikel should have started looking in on AA earlier in the season.