Is Arteta Weakening our Full/Wing Backs Cover by Selling Kola and Bellerin?

Rumours, rumours rumours. Apparently, we are on the verge of letting both Bellerin and Kola, two great Arsenal personalities, go. Is that a clever thing to do?

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It all depends on what Arteta’s plans are regarding formation and roles within the starting-11. With such a short break, Arteta just cannot take the risk of changing things too much. I wrote earlier about the importance of the spine and Mikel needs to set up the team in a way that maximises the strength of it.

Leno/Martinez – Luiz – Xhaka – Willian – Auba/Laca, to me that is the core or spine of the team in the coming season. If we play Luiz we need to surround him with players who can play the game to their strength whilst also covering for David’s shortcomings. We know that the Brazilian powerhouse doesn’t like to be attacked with much space behind or around him; that’s when he tends to snap and do something stupid that leads to a penalty, a red card, or both. Therefore three at the back is ideal for him.

Luiz is a great leader and organiser: he has got good overview, gives clear instructions, motivates well and is the sort of leader other players want to go deep for. With the curly cannon in defence we have withstood the greatest levels of pressure in recent months. And I think we are yet to see the best of him in an Arteta-Arsenal side.

He simply has to play, and to get the best out of him he needs to be surrounded by two first soldiers: one on the left and one on the right. Arteta has good CBs to pick from now (if indeed the Gabriel signings gets completed this week). On the left he can pick from Gabriel, Mari and Tierney; and on the right it is Mustafi, Saliba or Holding. The latter is probably the best cover for Luiz himself as the central CB, if he had to miss out on a game. But he is also suitable to be the RCB. Arteta is spoiled for choice at the moment (and I have not forgotten about Big Sok or Chambers either..).

With three at the back, we need to play with wingbacks rather than full backs. What are the key requirements of a wingback? Big fecking engine, good runner with and without the ball, good positional play and defensive qualities, good forward play including crosses, passes and (ideally) dribbling skills, and production of assists and (ideally) close to double figures PL goals. In the modern game, these are among the most exciting and demanding roles on the pitch. They need to deliver on all aspects of the position for our team to flourish in a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation.

Arsenal are blessed with two great left wingbacks: fiery Tierney and super Saka – and there is Kola but he just has not made it Arsenal, has he? On the right we are less blessed. Bells had a few half decent games but never really set the world on fire on the right wing. Soares must have the confidence of Arteta and he may well become our nr1 right wingback.

If Hector was to leave, what is Mikel going to do? I don’t think he will buy a new nr1; that would surprise me. A nr.2 to Soares could be bought, but we also have a few youngsters with Saka-like qualities to make the right wing theirs: Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson, and of course Arteta bought the multi-functional Willian who could cover on the right wing… And then we have Big Sok or Chambers who may well get time in that position in the coming season.. Plenty of options.

And what about AMN? Is Arteta really going to sell both Hector AND AMN? I doubt it, but if he did he will have options to fill the RWB position with hungry and very talented players, and, and at least from a technical/tactical point of view, I don’t think he would be weakening our team much if both Kola and Hector would leave.

By TotalArsenal.

68 thoughts on “Is Arteta Weakening our Full/Wing Backs Cover by Selling Kola and Bellerin?

  • In a few seasons Jordi Osei-Tutu is gonna the right wing back his, no need of buying.

  • Cedric has been very average and is a great utility fullback that can ably play on both sides, but nothing more. He’s a great squad player because he offers you some quality and is happy being a squad player/sub.

    I think if Saka is ok playing in a variety of roles, then we lose nothing by selling Kolasinac. Kola’s high wages, lack of defensive awareness and poor decision making make him a poor fit for Arteta (and a lot of Managers to be honest). The problem is if Arteta promised Saka to play further up the pitch as either a LCM or LW/RW, then we would be short at that LB/LWB position.

    Bellerin does lack some of the prerequisite skills that an ideal Arteta player would have: good passing, good ball control in tight spaces and strong at both ends of the pitch. However, I’m hoping his run of mediocre form is more due to the long recovery needed after an ACL tear (typically 18 months). He’s well liked in the dressing room and seems to be a player that lifts the spirits of those around him as one of the longest standing Arsenal players.

    All in all, I see Arteta moving for a RWB/RB player if both AMN and Bellerin are sold. You could make a nice quid selling both those players and reinvesting in a young RB/RWB in Max Aarons, who also happens to be homegrown and would cost approximately the same as AMN. I was not at all impressed with Willock and think he’d be better served going on loan than sticking with the first team – he runs like a chicken with its head cut off, is very unpolished as a finisher and just seems to lack the IQ needed to play at the highest level.

  • It would make no sense to have signed up Soares for so long if he is deemed an average utility player, HH. I have not seen enough of him to judge, but I would be very surprised if he were not to become our nr.1 wingback next season.

  • I like your idea of Reiss as WB a lot, ta (Arsène actually gave him playing time in that position) – but I think it would take a lot of convincing; the lad, who has always pictured himself as a forward, a creator, a goalscorer, might frown upon the suggestion. He would be wrong, of course, there have been immense RB/LB/WB – and the kid has all it takes to become our Suurbier/Maldini/Breitner/Alves, no less.

  • TA, Soares is a good squad player, you do need quality squad players to round out your squad. There’s a reason Cedric didn’t play much after he came, injury aside (mostly a starter against lesser teams).

  • AMN surprisingly included in today’s friendly matchday squad.

    Lots of youngsters look like they’ll get opportunities today too with Azeez, Ballard, McGuinness, John-Jules, Lewis, Olayinka, Oyegoke, Cottrell all listed.

  • We have reached agreement with both Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to join the club on permanent deals.

    Both players joined us initially on loan in January, and after impressing on and off the pitch over the past eight months, all parties have agreed to make their moves permanent.

    Spanish defender Pablo signs from Brazilian side Flamengo. He made three appearances for us before his ankle injury during the Premier League match at Manchester City – the first fixture after the restart.

    The 26-year-old joined Flamengo from Manchester City, where he had been since 2016. The left-footed central defender spent his time with City on three different season-long loan spells – in Spain with Girona for the 2016/17 season, then to the Netherlands with NAC Breda in 2017/18, before returning to Spain for the 2018/19 campaign with Deportivo La Coruna.

    Mari developed his youth career in Spain with RCD Mallorca, where he made his La Liga debut at the age of just 17. Three years later in 2013 Mari joined Spanish side Gimnastic, where he made nearly 100 appearances in his three seasons with the Catalonian club.

    Portuguese defender Cedric joins us permanently from Southampton, where he appeared over 100 times. He made five Premier League appearances for us during the restart, scoring on his debut in our 4-0 home victory over Norwich City.

    The 28-year-old started his career at Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, developing through the youth ranks before making his first-team debut in the Portuguese Primeira Liga at the age of 19.

    An experienced international, Cedric has made 33 appearances for his country. He featured in the 2018 World Cup and was also part of the Portugal squad which won the European Championships in 2016. During his career, the defender has also had spells on loan at Academica in Portugal and Inter Milan in Italy.

    We welcome both Pablo and Cedric to the club on a permanent basis and look forward to their continued contributions.

    Both deals are subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • HH, I will make my own judgement this season. The fact that he did not play that much could have a number of reasons: a set-back, another small injury, Bellerin needing to be on view, or indeed form/not being the nr1 right/wing back. Only time will tell.

  • Interesting that Mainsley is starting today! Not sure if he’s playing a wingback role or at CM.

    Starting 11: Leno, Cedric, Saliba, Holding, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Mainsley, Saka, Nketiah and Auba.

  • Hard to tell, HH. Good to see Saliba starting and I have always been a fan of Elneny (which I know is not going to be popular with most fellow BKers).

  • TA, I’d like to see Elneny get a chance under Arteta. Think he could be more well suited to Arteta than he ever was under Wenger/Emery.

    Don’t know if he’ll have the requisite passing range for Arteta, but he can certainly run up and down the pitch, make the easy short passes and put in a defensive shift.

  • I find it somewhat comical that City and United have spent massively to fix their respective back lines, but have little to nothing to show for it.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how United handle the Maguire situation.

  • He obviously thought that being Manchester United’s captain would make him safe from being prosecuted. It makes you wonder what the future holds for a convicted felon?

  • 6′ 1-0 to the arsenal
    great assist by … the dons’ keeper – fast-thinking, nimble-footed ELNENY put it away
    very happy for the lad; that’s some say to say goodbye

  • 11′ 2-0 to the arsenal
    great move this time, initiated by saliba then soares, very good run on his wing, through to bukayo who cuts back for … clinical eddie of course
    are we in for a bayern barça night??

  • Drinks break, I hope they keep this up in the Prem, Arteta really uses it well.

  • you can feel from the lads’ footwork they’ve not been idle in the past two weeks– except for auba, maybe
    very hard to believe saliba’s only 19: power, focus, authority, decision-making: this is only MKD of course, but it sure looks very promising
    elneny’s so sharp and focused – looks as though mikel had told him he still had a chance to be kept, provided he proved his motivation
    very pleasant, so far

  • great u-turn by auba – corner kick
    might be out of his nap, finally …
    Mikel’s water-break magic hasn’t worked out this time; we were much poorer after than before
    soares’s been doing very well on his wing

  • Comfortable first half, some encouraging combinations, looking forward to seeing who Arteta brings on…

    Are you still without WiFi Total..?

  • That was a nice turn by Aubameyang LG, he’s just doing enough, staying out of trouble.

    Saka got a whack from a trailing leg, it looked painful, but he’s ok.

  • Holding’s auditioning for other teams – look at how well I can score against Arsenal!

    Auba does not look interested at all, not a great sign.

  • I must say it’s it’s very satisfying and relaxing, for me, to watch the Arsenal – it clears my head.
    It’s always hard to make any definitive judgments on pre- season games against lower league clubs but nevertheless it’s always good to see our team in action.

  • macey
    great to have ESR back
    joe WB: well done, ta!!

  • Tierney is fantastic, Nelson has been wasteful and slow in his decision making. Sadly, I’m still not impressed with Nelson and think he may need another loan for first-team minutes.

  • I’ve gotta say how well we get back into shape, all the kids seem to know their jobs.

    I like Azeez, he always seems to have time.

  • Nice work by Cottrell, he’s tenacious, John Jules should have scored and from the corner, a good cross by Nelson and a great header by McGuinness, the drinks are on him…

  • Nelson and Willock look like they would benefit from loans. I’d be worried if they are some of our main depth/rotation pieces.

  • Good run by Nelson, drove into the box and wins penalty.

    Reiss slots it away comfortably and is then subbed off for George Lewis…

  • Some promising cameos from our youngsters, 5 Arsenal goalscorers, MK Dons were a decent team, a team that played football, would be a good place to loan our players to.

    I liked Azeez, he looks class, Cottrell did really well I like his spirit and he can play and I thought that McGuinness and Bola did well.

    Smith Rowe is having some one on one coaching from Arteta’s Dutch assistant out on the pitch.

  • I only saw a part of the friendly and was going to be cheeky to say that Elneny’s goal was the only forward pass I saw him make… :-]. Fair play to him though as I always quite liked the guy and especially remember how he brilliantly set up Wiltshire in their last Europa match together 👌

    So what’s the thinking then if we can pip City to Messi’s signature hehe 😂

  • You know football is officially crazy when Messi tells Barca that he wants to opt out of his contract.

    I can’t bear the thought of seeing Messi with City or in the premier league in general.

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