Ox or Bellerin in 3-4-3?
So let’s have your views on this one.
When we play 3-4-3 we have good cover in the right back position, especially if and when we combine Bellerin in midfield with Mustafi or Holding behind him in the defensive ‘3’. But we need more from the young Spaniard than just good defensive cover; we need him to add real value in attack too. We all know that Hector Vector can run from Barcelona to Madrid in under an hour, but he is still lacking an attacking end product. In 2500 PL minutes he produced just four assists and had on average 0.8 key passes per game; and in all those minutes he scored just one goal. He can be both exhilarating and frustrating in the same ten seconds…. time and again.
In the new formation it is vital to have all-round wing-backs who deliver in all areas. Since the rumours of a move for Bellerin to Barcelona started to get more momentum, Arsene has give the Ox more time on the right wing-back position, it seems. He had to get used to the defensive side of things but compared to Bellerin his seasonal defensive stats do not compare badly: 0.7 interceptions and 1.3 tackles per match against 1.1 and 0.7 by Bellerin respectively. His positional awareness and concentration levels still need improving but he has played his part in the good defensive team stats since going 3-4-3.
And the good thing about the Ox is he is now starting to deliver the bread and butter stats: 2 goals and seven assists in 1550 PL minutes and 1.1 key passes per game. I have to add that these are his seasonal stats and have been established whilst playing in more than one position, rather than just as right wing-back. But it has been clear for us all to see that the Ox is starting to really hurt the opposition now, not just with his pace and deadly dribbling skills, but, most importantly, also with his ability to deal the crucial blows – and yesterday’s goal and a couple of accurate crosses during his cameo for the national team underlined this once more.
Both the Ox and Hector Vector are promising young(ish) players and you would expect the Ox to be better at this stage, given the age gap between them (approx 1.5 years). I also feel that Bellerin will get better and better but am unsure whether his crossing and ability to deliver key passes will improve enough to make him our first choice wing-back going forward. Only time will tell.
In fact, I am starting to think that the Ox is probably our first choice in this key position now. If we works hard on his defensive responsibilities over the summer, he could become undroppable/unstoppable. Wenger has a big decision to make, and with Chambers and even Mustafi as back-up wing-backs on the right, he may be tempted to cash in on speedy con-Bellerin….
But what do you think?