It took a few years, but with Hector-Vector Bellerin Arsenal once again have a fabulous right-back. Full backs have become super important weapons in the modern game and they have to be both good at defending and attacking. In fact, they are now more regarded as wingbacks and need speed, dribbling skills (ideally), good crossing and passing as well as all the usual defensive skills associated with the full back position. If they are very effective in our attacking game they will end up with lots of key passes, assists and some important goals too.
Unfortunately, Hector suffered a bad injury and it remains to be seen how he will be once fully fit again. Will he still have the same speed and tackling skills, for example?
It looks like he will be back soon, though, and that is great news. It will leave Emery, however, with a dilemma: what to do with Ainsley Maitland-Niles?
Our only 22 year old full back has grown in status and played way beyond his years in recent PL games. AMN has established a good early partnership with Pepe too. He is prone to the occasional big mistake, but that seems to be a price to be paid for his incredibly calm composure with and without the ball. Ainsley has become a key member of the first team, as these stats show (only based on four PL games, though):
- played in all four PL games (360 minutes)
- Received one MOTM award – only Ceballos and Pepe also got a MOTM award
- Leads tackles per game at Arsenal: 2.5
- Second for interceptions: 2 per game
- Third for dribbles: 1 per game
- Shared second for assists: 1
- Shared fourth for key passes: 1.3 per game
- Shared second for crosses: 1 per game
So my question to you is: what should Emery do once Hector is fully fit?
- Keep playing AMN and keep Bellerin on the bench/ play him in cup games
- Put AMN on the bench and make Bellerin our automatic nr.1
- Play AMN in midfield instead of Torreira, Xhaka or Guendouzi
- Play AMN as a winger
- Play AMN in the hole (in a 4-2-1-3)
- Something else…
Over to you..