If you have been reading AA over the past few years you will know that BR knows sweet FA about tactics. This makes it difficult to judge the effectiveness of our full backs whose jobs change depending upon the formation. It was much easier to critique a performance in the days of Bob Mcnab and Pat Rice; things changed with the excellence and athleticism of Ashley Cole.
So, full backs or wing backs? How did they perform last season?
The first thing to say is that we improved once Mr Wenger tried the Back 3, the gaping holes in the defence disappeared but can the FB’s be blamed? You decide?
Monreal: Dreadful start to the season. Unable to stop attacks down his flank which led to crosses and shots flying towards Petr. By season’s end he was back to being one of the best FB’s in the league but was he now a CB, a FB or a WB? Nacho has made over 150 appearances for Arsenal and as much as I like him I still hope AFC will sign a better defender. That said, one of my highlights of the season was the triple block of Costa’s shot in the FACF by Nacho, Holding and BFG. Real commitment.
Monreal always gives 100%, is passionate, versatile, combative and this season scored a vital goal at Wembley. He signed a long-term contract in 2016, so I guess it will be Gibbs who is leaving.
Gibbs: I hate to be critical of a proper Arsenal man but Gibbs hasn’t achieved his potential. A sparkling early career leading to England caps had me thinking he was the successor to Ashley. He isn’t. Good player for sure but we need better (and hopefully we have already signed him).
Keiron started only 5 games last term, and 3 of those were at left wing back – a position he did well in and we certainly improved defensively with both Nacho and Keiron working in tandem.
For his sake, he needs regular first team football and I expect Keiron to be sold in the summer.
Bellerin: Fantastic player when fully fit and in form. Amongst the very best in his position as is indicated by the media hyping a move to Barca. Hector had his worst season in the shirt thanks to a series of injuries. IMO he returned too early to the first team which affected his performances and it was only at season’s end when we saw the real Bellerin – a player with tactical awareness, a superb tackler and the fastest player in the squad.
Some awful haircuts this season as Hector attempted to be become a fashion icon. What is wrong with a short B & S?
I expect him to leave in a couple of season’s but by then he will have won the CL and PL with Arsenal.
Holding/Ox/Gabriel: In here as an addendum because they all filled Bellerin’s position during the season. Not did the job as well as Hector but nonetheless were not embarrassed . The Ox at RWB worked better than expected.
Will we see the Back 3 experiment continue next season? And if so, where does Hector fit into the formation? Perhaps this is why there is so much media speculation, possibly activated by Bellerin’s agent.
All in all, our FB’s did not give enough defensive support to their CB’s and this resulted in too many goals conceded from wing positions. Could do better.
written by Big Raddy