How to turn a disadvantage in a possible advantage: is Hector the answer?

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…

More anniversaries…

  • 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


44 Replies to “How to turn a disadvantage in a possible advantage: is Hector the answer?”

  1. All well and good;if Debuchy could be relied upon to replace him at full back.His form in every single game that he has played,this season,has been nothing short of abysmal.Previous games away at Swansea have seen them looking to expose defensive weekness especially on Arsensl’s flanks.

  2. Interesting thought Walter. I remembered Wenger did something similar a while ago but on the opposite flank. I think he played Cole and Clichy together if I’m not mistaken.

  3. I have been thinking about that ever since the injuries were sustained. However, I have been worried about Debuchy’s form. He was particularly vulnerable against Spurs.He will be coming up against Moreno and Costa. Those are tough opponents. Eventually he will come good though. These coming games may decide Campbell’s Arsenal career. He has the experience playing in that position and should do a decent job. Finally, I really believe that Bellerin can become the next Gareth Bale if not even better. Bale made the transition from left back to winger to a very great effect. Hector can do the same for Arsenal with an even greater impact.

  4. Playing out of form Debuchy against one of the most dangerous wingers in the league in Montero, is asking for trouble.

    Swansea away is going to be a tough test for our back four and we shouldn’t tinker with it.

    Give JC a run of games on the right wing to finally see if he is Arsenal material or not.

    If he can prove his worth, keep him.
    If not, move him on.

  5. Campbell has some good qualities, just his passing and crossing needs work. Rectify those and i think he could also be a good midfielder. I was impressed with his control and shielding of the ball, less so with the passing, but AW knows why he wants to give him a good chance.

    Agree that Debuchy needs game time, so does Cambell too. Bellerin can play anywhere i think. (Well not GK).

  6. Wenger will probably play Alex Iwobi. He has performed better than Campbell and the big advantage is that the rest of the team do not need to change the way that they play. Perhaps not against Bayern away but in the league games. Bellerin will be great going forward but you’re changing a defensive unit that has an understanding.

  7. very very interesting analysis and worth a try. but since I was a CD myself and I am being biased, I would want Hector next to me rather than Debuchy. It would give the defence stability which it already has. Debuchy and play at a winger and not worry to much about defence as Hector is capable of that.

  8. Jefferson Montero is not the player to pitch a rusty Debuchy against , most others maybe but this guy is lightning fast and remember how he put Chambers development back by a year or two. Against the Jacks we will need natural width as much as to make room for our attacking as to making their wingers come back and play on the half way line. Just keep a block on the free kicks Siggurdson likes and we should be fine.

  9. If we don’t play Debuchy or give him match time then he will never become to his level. I remember him doing rather well up to his injury. Even the moaners were excited saying that he was an upgrade on Sagna. Just because he cost a bit of money probably but well….
    I think both in the spuds match and against Sheffield he started poorly but the longer the match went along the better he became.

  10. I like your idea Walter, in fact it excites me, but I think Arsene will move Ozil to the right flank, he played there for Real Madrid and also at times for Germany. Cazorla will move forward to fill the position vacated by Ozil and Flamini will sit alongside Coq.

  11. Well if he doesn’t do it and it goes wrong I will have the right to say he should have listened to me 🙂 🙂
    Mind you it shouldn’t go wrong whoever we play! nah

  12. Or……… Ramsey is our normal wide right mid, perhaps Flamini is the man to put out there. Like, Ramsey, he is a midfielder, he is box to box, has the discipline to get back to help the full back and is inclined to make late runs into the box. You could even argue, with his two goals at Spurs, he has been better recently at those late runs than Ramsey (who has lost his touch in front of goal). The other benefit is that we don’t disrupt the defence with Bellerin retaining the right back spot. Fast in defence, fast overlapping. Why make two forced changes when you may only have to make one?

  13. I think the two of them (Bellerin & Debuchy) together should be adequate to defend against the likes of Montero & Costa, and if the truth be told desirable even if Ox, Ramsey or Theo were fit.
    I certainly wouldn’t put Chambers against either of them, especially since Montero made him his bitch last season. There might not be that many opportunities to attack down that side ( for us ) anyway, so a more defensive set up might be sensible.
    Another option would be to move Sanchez over & play Gibbs & Montreal together.

  14. >>Another option would be to move Sanchez over & play Gibbs & Montreal together.

    just as valid, really.

    Would be interesting to see Bellerin playing further up. Would he be even more dangerous? Is Debuchy a liability, clearly he has not recovered form but plaing him with a defender in front for cover may be a could way to rehabilitate

    Gibbs and Monreal have played together several times

  15. Wenger has spoken – and said that it is between Campbell and Iwobi. Cazorla considered but didn’t want to disrupt the midfield.

    Personally, given the severity of the next 3 games, I would play Campbell due to his significant extra experience. Maybe Iwobi gets a run out in the last 20 (at Swansea, probably not Bayern!).

  16. Think Debuchy certainly needs games.
    But I wish we would just get more on top of this injury thing, what is it with our young players? Not laying blame, but just wish things could improve a bit, just when you think things are getting better….
    This week looked like either players already carrying something, players who for whatever reason were not properly warmed up/prepared…or just bad luck?

  17. I’ve been thinking about this option… And perhaps a good one for the BAYERN game to double down on defence as well.

  18. Mr Broeckx, good evening Sir. I hope you had a save journey back to Belgium? Great thought by you. And I concur. My reason for agreeing with your option is, this is a class B big difficult away game for the Gunners, which they MUST unfailingly executed successfully by collecting all the 3 points that will be at stake at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday come fine weather or heavy downpour. The Gunners MUST win the game. Yes! Let the Boss starts Bellerin at right wing and Debuchy at left back. With Iwobi or Campbell on the bench to cover for him while Chambers will cover for Debuchy and Rhinosacker should cover for De Abreu and Koscielny. At some stage in the game when Arsenal are in command of the game goalswise, I will like to see the Boss gives some game times to Bielik, Iwobi and Campbell to enhance their developments. Who is to cover for Giroud who has played 180 minutes plus in 4 days and may need to be substituted at a point in the game. Gibbs? Yes. However, the Boss Should pull his ears to be very serious with his game whenever he’s brought on. He mustn’t loss game concentration even for a second. And he should be strong, audacious and confident to score for Arsenal. Needless to say, he should gives accurate and correct assists to his fellow Gunners to score. And importantly too, he should track back to defend when it’s become necessary he should do that. I can see Bellerin draws a penalty for Arsenal in this game. And the Boss should figure out in advance, who will take the Pen and scored should we had 1 or 2. The Boss should equally warned De Abreu and Debuchy not to draw a penalty in this game for their host. I am more than confident the Gunners will beat the Swans by 3 goals to nil at the end of the game. Thanks.

  19. lol@samuel, what planet are you on? are you always this unrealistic or you just put in more effort today, enough of the permutations and combinations, lets wait on wenger’s decision.

  20. @Mandy Dodd,
    I agree with you. Debuchy needs games. He hasn’t become a bad player overnight and in fact was OK up to his injury.
    Bellerin needs nurturing wherever he’s used. We have a real gem there. 😉

  21. Good comments.

    First off Debouchy is a very good player.
    This idea that he is liability is ridiculous. He needs game time to get his positional sense and familiarity with his team mates. A defensive unit is a defensive unit. When he first joined he performed well but he had two unlucky injuries; one when he did his ankle ligaments and then the second when Stoke Citys Arnoutovic shoved him into the hoardings dislocating his shoulder. Bellering was the beneficiary of thses unfortunate injuries and the rest is history. Could Debuchy come in and Bellerin play right side, yes.

    However, I don’t think this will happen.
    I am not a fan of messing around with the team and not the greatest believer of this rotation some people go on about endlessly. Rotation is perfect for games like Tuedays, where there is no point risking players. Understanding and balance is key in any team and we have that. Defensively we look strong and we have conceded fewer goals then anyone else since January 1st in the Premier League. And won more points. So perhaps we arent as shoddy as some suggest?

    For me, there is no point having Joel Campbell on the bench, if you are not going to trust him when needed. He is a hard worker, so I dont have a problem with him playing on the right. I certainlyu dont want to move Cazorla or Ozil! I suspect Campbell may get a run with the promise that if he does well he keeps the shirt, always a nice carrot.

  22. @fabrechenko, thanks. I know what you mean, I’ve just clicked on a while ago, and I read what Boss has said on his options at right wing for the Swansea game. And those his 2 options are not in line with what some of us are tailoring to him to adopt. He is the Boss. We are backing him 100%.

  23. PS: I heard Jeff Reine-Adelaide was going to be back sooner than expected. This boy is class, mark my words. Alex Iwobi is another with a bright future ahead of him but I really rate young Jeff. He would definitely have played Tuesday. Anyone know when he’s back.

  24. Samue.

    Yep, he is the boss.

    There is a lot of nonsense being spoken about us not having cover for Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla and Coquelin. How much cover have Man City got for Kompany, Toure, Silva and Aguero? How many points did Man City lose last season when they lost key players? Do Chelsea have cover for Hazard and their regulars? Some players are at a level you just can’t cover.

    Manchester United spent a quarter of a billion quid. They lost at home to Middlesborough after resting their regular first teamers. Despite the money spent where is their cover? Yet I keep hearing that we have £70m burning a hole, which would guarantee us the cover we need – really?

    Three of our four Champions League teams rested players and went out of the Mickey, sorry Capital One Cup. Tell you something?

    Only in Fantasy Football Management can you have a bench of world class stars. Only in Fantasy Football can you have every player free of injury. Only in Fantasy Football will every player you want to sign be available and ready to sign. Only in Fantasy Football will World Class players sit on the bench. Only in Fantasy Football will players not lose form. I have been involved in football and watched the game since 1971, when we had one televised live game each season, the FA Cup Final. I used to strap myself in for MOTD on a Saturday or ‘The Big Match’ on Sundays, watching football played on mud baths like the Baseball Ground, with teams allowed one named substitute. This overdosing of football we now have has created far too many self proclaimed experts who genuinely beleive the bollocks they spew daily. They seem unable to reconcile the fact they are employed as barmen or pen pushers for a booody reason! It is ruining football for me; I dont want to read constant streams of criticism based on what ‘they’ would have done had they not been tending the bar or asking someone if they want to make a PPI claim, usually after a game has finished. It’s getting ridiculous now this level of delusion. We cant beat top teams they say, so we beat Bayen Munich and Man Utd but they couldnt wait for us to lose Tuesday it seems. I’ll have a large Gin and Tonic mate, cheers.

  25. In, Wenger suggested Carzola, Iwobi or Campbell. He knocked off Carzola right away – given his wonderful adaptaion playing with Coq as a deep lying mid-fielder. If it were due to a vote, I would vote for Iwobi playing in front of Bellerin. However, Wenger calls the shots and he does a very good job of it…

  26. I wouldn’t move any of Santi, Mesut or Alexis – they control our game. I don’t want Campbell anywhere near the starting eleven – he runs around a lot, but that’s about it! Debuchy placed the only decent crosses against Sheffield Utd, and I’d rather see him in the right side forward role than any untried kids.

    On Tuesday, AW said these youngsters “weren’t ready for Capital Cup level” so they certainly aren’t ready for PL and CL!

    MD will come good – he needs match time. He was out injured for a long time – something people tend to forget.

    If he becomes an option on the right wing – that’s an advantage, surely?

  27. In my opinion as a professional football youth coach, bellerin is still the perfect right back. Debuchy will do a whole lot of good playing as a right forward, because in our next two games, we are playing against two exceptional left wingers. Debuchy been defensive minded will surely do the marking from the top, making the workload easier for bellerin to handle.
    In order words, we have got enough depth in the three attacking midfielders that we have. They will be surely be roving through out the game making 1-2s and 1-2-3s of diagonal passing movements and markings with our wingers. I believe we have the best tactician in Sir Arsene Wenger for the job. Monreal and Gibs are perfect on the left flank, while Ozil, Sanchez, Carzola holds it up. And Flamini pairs Francis. Giroud upfront in case we are to play long and crosses all through, and he dashes deep in the heart of the midfield giving Sanchez and Ozil to dazzle upfront in case passing penetration is the plan. With the heighted Per in the heart of defence alongside Koscielny. To counter the crosses that are always meant for Gomis and Andrew Ayew. The grounder penetration should pose a bit of a difficulty as we can stop their threats in Francis and Flamini.

    And if in case of 4-3-3 formation, it will have to be Sanchez- Giroud-Ozil, Francis- carzola- flamini, with Bellerin- Koscielny-Gabriel- Monreal. Cech.

    Most importantly, aerial balls are their strength and sudden breakaways as Per. Meet. isn’t quick enough in the counter. And constant reliance on the midfielders can wear them out…

  28. For Debuchy, read Gibbs, both need games, and with our injuries, will surely get them. Maybe Campbell as well. But yes, Ballerin is something special, we need to look after him

  29. Nice piece, Walter.

    I actually have the craziest of ideas.

    Which one, you might have asked.

    Mathieu is the name. Not Debuchy.

    Yes, Mathieu Flamini on the right wing. Why? Well, he has been more comfortable playing in a more advanced role than in a deeper role where his lack of…well, Coqueliness has been exploited. He has scored three goals in 2015 and could have added at least one more against Everton as he gets in the right position.

    Then, he was good after replacing Chambo against Everton. Rambo, who is our regular option on the right, is a box-to-box midfielder with unique sense for runs behind the defence. Flamster and Ozil have a good understanding outside the pitch so they might bring some of that stuff on the pitch too. Flamster’s presence would guarantee balance just like Ramsey’s.

    I’m not for Bellerin on the wing simply because I remember how Hodgson’s idea with Roberto Carlos, the quickest full-back, like, ever, backfired. Bellerin is 20, has adjusted to the full-back role and moving him from that spot might have a negative effect on him.

  30. Interesting thought there Walter. It is a possibility, I’m sure AW reads UA so if he hadn’t been thinking towards a Bellerin/Debuchy combo, he sure has a lead now. But as he has already hinted, it may be either Campbell or Iwobi.

    @Norman14 October 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm, I think what AW meant was that the kids were not ready for such a match where they were expected to turn the match on their heads and grind out result all by themselves.

    And what is this about Swansea praise to the detriment of our players? Aren’t we getting to that stage where teams are scared to face our players? They should be more concerned about defending against Arsenal than attacking us. That’s the fear factor and yes we have it now. If Swansea are as good as I’m reading here, they should have been top of the league(not saying they are rubbish though).

    Debuchy, Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, Campbell are all Arsenal player. Seeing any two chosen by the boss on the right flank is enough excitement for me.


  31. See our under employed Dutch fitness guru with a grudge against Wenger has appeared from under his rock.
    One can question our injury record, I do myself, but this guy is clearly agenda driven, he makes Stewart Robson look an AKB

  32. @Proudkev

    What a rant but I loved every bit of it. So many ‘know all’ football managers who cannot even be able to manage an under 8 team if given the opportunity. They find it very easy to list the name of players and say they will do this or that but the truth is they know nothing. How are teams supposed to set up and play, they will not say other than listing superstar names to buy and where to play them.

  33. There was a time when all 4 fullbacks were on the pitch , albeit much later in the game after we have taken a lead . Gibbs has often come on to double team and to shut out any threat on the left , so playing Bellerin higher up is always on the card .
    As we have options in the youngsters , hopefully , if selected they will shine and enjoy the experience , and continue to progress.
    Should be an interesting game this weekend.

  34. ” If you are not willing to learn , no one can help you. If you are determined to learn , no one can stop you .”

  35. Le Boss has spoken. The options are Iwobi or Campbell. I mentioned earlier that I think he will choose Iwobi. That is if he bases it on form but he sees them in training and you could argue that he should go with seniority for the sake of squad harmony. This is why he gets paid the big bucks so we’ll see who he picks.

  36. Just a point about the yongsters and what Arsene had to say about their level(s).

    Is the fact that Liam Brady has returned to the club an admission that things have not “happened” since he quit as Academy Director in 2014?

  37. Josif

    Playing Flamini on the right wing ahead of JC would sound a death knell to his Arsenal career without even giving him a proper go.

    Arsene Wenger is the last man in the world to ” disrespect ” a player in such a way.

    Yes, playing an utility man ( Flamini) in what is your strongest position( JC on the right wing), would be the ultimate in killing Campbell’s confidence.

    Ferguson did this with Pogba at United and it made Pogba pissed off to the point of vowing to never play for him ever again. ( although there were other issues between SAF and Pogba to be fair).

    I’m not saying Campbell is in Pogba’s league talent wise, but to keep him on the bench under current circumstances would be a mistake.

    He’s one of the squad players who are neither here or there at the moment and the sooner Wenger finds out about him, the better for everyone involved.

    Only a sustain run of games with the first team can give a verdict on him one way or another.

  38. @Tom – don’t get me wrong, I’ve been banging Campbell’s drums since WC2014. I would like to see him perform well as I think his hard-working nature deserves it.

    However, Flamini is more experienced player and seems to know where the goal is. More importantly, he might be like-for-like replacement for Rambo.

  39. Josif

    I know you have, I remember your posts re Campbell.

    Also, I get what you say about Flamini being an offensive threat.

    However, there are three things no manager should ever do to his players;

    1. Criticizing them individually in public.

    2. Substituting a substitute based on performance.

    3. Fielding a squad player out of position, in place of a “specialist” who is fighting for his place and struggling for first team action.

    Either one of those three is a confidence killer, and Wenger is nothing if all about building confidence in his players.

  40. Playing Hector in a more advanced position can work, it certainly would make that right side more solid with both players attack & defense minded. Who knows, maybe that could be Hector’s real position. Despite Debuchy’s form, this could be his chance to get some games under his belt & I do have sympathy for him. Dont forget, he did well when he first arrived, took over Sagna’s role, covered at CB, then the two injuries hit & confidence fell. I still think he can do a good job for us, it’s about finding a place for the right people in the starting eleven.

    Alternatively, playing Gibbs infront of Monreal could work out.

    Either solution could work for the time being.

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