By Walter Broeckx
As I said in my match report being drawn against the tiny Totts in the first round was a bad present. I think we can put out an almost complete youth team in the league cup and lose without people making a big deal of it. But not against the totts. So we had to play a stronger team than we usual do in order to beat them. Wenger knows all too well about the importance of this particular match so he had to play to win that match.
I think Wenger will have looked further in the fixture list (well I did) and when I saw that the next round was sandwiched in between two CL weeks of football I suddenly wished we had found a way to get out of this competition without losing to the totts. But that was impossible to do.
So we had to play to win the match against the totts and did this but then I think Wenger was more focussed on getting out of this competition. We were a bit lightweight with the new kids in the team. Iwobi who looks to have a strong body was possibly the exception and was also the one with the most influence. Good material for the future I would think. So was Bielik in my opinion. You could see he wasn’t as overwhelmed as the other kids. He has played at top level in Poland already so less stage fever from him.
But the worst part apart from losing of course about this match was the loss of Theo and The Ox. We have to wait to see how long they will be out but this really is very sour. Yuk.
Because we also lost Ramsey last week in the Bayern Munich match. And he will be out till after the international break. Good to hear he will not play then in those matches. That is the good thing about the bad thing.
Now also losing The Ox leaves a bad taste. The Ox was the man who should have been given a chance in the absence of Ramsey who started on the right hand side most of the time (only to drift all over the field during the match). And the third option for the right hand side was Theo.
In fact I think Theo has been the first option for that position in the last seasons. But he is been converted from being a pure winger in to a more central attacker during the last months. But he still could play at that flank of course.
So we lost our 3 right flank options in one week. Now people might say: you see we needed to buy more players. But then again…. We have 3 international players who can play that right attacking role… how many do you want us to have in the locker? Or we should buy a second hand rated player somewhere? The time of Arsenal buying second tier rated players is more or less over. A transfer can go wrong but then it is more down to the player not really adopting to the system or to the PL than to his personal class.
Now as an eternal optimist I think I see a sudden chance for two players. As Cruyff said: each disadvantage has an advantage (or the other way round) I think Wenger should consider an internal option. An option that would be suited for both players I have in mind and that would bring something extra to our team in a way.
So how would I try to solve the right flank injury crisis for now? I would play Debuchy at right back from now on and put Bellerin in front of him. Playing a right back as an attacker? Of course!!
When Bellerin came to Arsenal he wasn’t a right back. No he was a player that played over the whole right flank for Barcelona in the youth teams. It is only that he was given a chance at right back in the first team that he made that spot his own.
Yes he was already used to playing in that position and has been trained to do so at Arsenal but if you look at the way Bellerin is playing as a right back….
I think we all know that he has been very attacking minded. He runs his flank up and down and has the pace and the stamina to do it. So if he had a real right back behind him he could put his mind to the attacking part even more.
And his attacking play is one of the best in Europe for the moment. In fact Bellerin is the player that has created the most clear cut chances in Europe according to the OPTA stats! As a right back!!!! That is more than Messi and more than Cazorla!
So if he moved forward a bit he would probably become even more dangerous. And as he knows the ins and outs of being the right back he also has the defensive part in his head and body to help out Debuchy if that is needed.
Add to this stat, that Bellerin is also very quick and might be as quick as Walcott so that would also add something special on the right flank.
Bellerin has it all. He has a great technical skill level, he has pace, he has stamina, he has the vision and the eye for a good pass, he sees the openings, he can go inside or outside as he is rather good with his left foot also. Defenders will not know what will hit them as he can go passed them both ways.
So to be honest… after the first reaction of ‘oh nooooooo!’ I see this as a new chance to change the team. And who knows it might give Debuchy a chance to get rid of his rustiness that is visible to everyone. Being able to play a few games in a row for a player that has been an French international for many years will lift him and make him a more happy player than he is now.
Just give Hector the chance and I am pretty sure that he might be a sensation to watch if he is played in the right attacking place for Arsenal. I have believed in Hector becoming the best right back in the world… and I do believe that he can do the same up front. Just think about it Arsène…
- 29 October 1973: Robert Pirès birthday. Robert had a Portuguese father and Spanish mother and found learning both French and English difficult. After he had left Arsenal to play for Villareal he did an interview in fluent Spanish and the UK journalists, having not done their homework berated him for not having bothered to learn English properly. Typical.
- 29 October 1983: Tony Woodcock scored five against Villa by the 48th minute. Final score 6-2. In all he scored eight in three consecutive matches.
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal