Tag Archives: hector bellerin

Emery should resist temptation to play returning pair against Man U

On Monday Arsenal face Manchester United away. It is a game that would solidify Arsenal’s top 3 intentions if they win; or plunge us back into depression if we lose.

Following their good performance against Nottingham Forest, there have been plenty of calls from fans to put Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney into the starting XI for the key game against Man U. Emery should not bow down to the pressure.

Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest was Rob Holding’s 1st senior game since December 2018.

Holding suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on during a 2–2 draw against Manchester United nearly a year ago.

Likewise Tierney has spent 4 months out following a hernia injury, which subsequently required surgery for.

Both players are top young talents and will be mainstays in the Arsenal first team, so it is important that Emery looks at the bigger picture.

All being well, this season Arsenal will play around 50 games. There is a lot of football to come.

To cope with the work load, Emery needs to rotate his squad and ensure players do not pick up long the term injuries that hampered the clubs top 4 and Europa league challenge last season. It is also important that he manages the work load of returning players so that they immediately break down once more.

Both Holding and Tierney performed brilliantly against Nottingham Forest, but a Premier League game against Manchester United would be a huge step up; and one which might be a step up too soon.

What makes more sense is to leave both with the “mid-week squad” in the short term.

Next Thursday we play Standard Liege at home. It would make more sense to play Holding and Tierney in that game, continuing their rehabilitation at a lower level, than put them into a big game at Old Trafford.

It might be seen as some as a bit of a risk not to play both against Man U, but looking at the bigger picture it makes a lot of sense.

Following the game against Liege, Arsenal face Bournemouth. Once again Emery should not be tempted to put Tierney and Holding in.

After Bournemouth, we have an international break, with our 1st game back against Sheffield United on Monday 21st October. That is nearly a month away.

This should be the game that Holding and Tierney are slated in for a Premier League return.

The Sheffield United fixture is over 3 weeks away. By that point both players would have had a months full team training under their belt, as well as 2 senior games. They will be ready for Premier League football.

Putting them in against Manchester United would be short sighted. It would be playing the strongest XI at the risk of one of the 2 suffering another injury – which is likely for players returning from long term problems.

Not playing the pair against Man U means that come Sheffield United, both (and Hector Bellerin) are fit and strong and ready to go for the rest of the season. A sacrifice in the short term to see the benefit in the long term.

I am excited to see Holding, Bellerin and Tierney play together. They will be 3 of the back 4 for at least the next 5 years. But to ensure we get the best out of them for the next decade, it is important that we keep their recoveries from long term injuries slow and do not rush them back.

Keenos

Advertisements

In a team that lacks leaders, one Arsenal player is rising above the rest

We were told he was a bad influence, a trouble marker.

Someone more interested in fast cars, flash clothes and disappearing to Milan, Paris or wherever the party was. Not interested in being a team man, he was more interested in hanging out with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and various pop stars and models.

It was all lies created by journalists who looked at a young black sport star who likes his fast cars, liked his clothes and jewellery, and decided to label him as flash without actually knowing him.

What Arsenal actually signed in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the most lethal strikers in Europe who is humble and currently the epicentre of everything that is positive at Arsenal.

He leads the line and leads the team. He is the joker, the star player, the match winner.

It was Aubameyang who looked after then teenager Matteo Guendouzi when he came to England, unable to speak English.

It is Aubameyang who is helping Nicolas Pepe settle into London – giving him a penalty to get him off his goal duck.

It is Aubameyang that is uniting the squad. It is Aubameyang who should be club captain.

Aubameyang unites a lot of the factions within the club.

Born in France, he is close with Alexandre Lacazette and Guendouzi., and more recently included Pepe into the fold. He is already building a relationship up with William Saliba – both players having spent time at Saint-Etienne.

Having also spent 5 years in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, he also crosses over with the German speakers – Bernd Leno, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolašinac.

It was a mixture of French and German players who were pictured last season doing a few balloon’s in a London nightclub. You can bet your money that it was Aubameyang who was at the centre of the antics.

So here we have a superstar of a player. A colossus on the pitch, but clearly influential off it.

Aubameyang realises he is a senior pro and has taken young new recruits under his wing, helping them settle. There is no ego. No making the youngsters feel they are inadequate or undeserving.

Unai Emery should drop this “we have 5 captains” rubbish and install Aubameyang as the clubs captain. It is something that would every single fan would get behind. Would back.

Vice-captain should be Hector Bellerin.

The Spanish right back has been at the club for nearly a decade  and was influential in the recruitment of Dani Ceballos.

Bellerin knows what it means to play for The Arsenal. He knows what it represents.

He is also important when it comes to our Latino contingent – Ceballos, Lucas Torreira and Emiliano Martínez; And with his Spanish-Cockney accent he can cross over with the British lads.

Recent reports were that Bellerin and Kieran Tiernay had built up a bit of a bromance as they recovered from injury at a similar pace.

Arsenal have a mid-week team as well – playing in the Europa League and League Cup.

The majority of that team will be made up of bright young English talents. The likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson. I also expect Rob Holding to play a part in almost every game as he returns slowly from his learn term injury.

Holding should be given the armband for the mid-week squad, allowing him to develop as a leader of the defence.

Aubameyang as captain, Bellerin as vice-captain. Holding captaining the mid-week team.

I think that is something that we can all get behind.

Keenos

How will Arsenal solve right-back conundrum?

Arsenal need to address the right back situation in the summer.

With Hector Bellerin’s injury, Stephan Lichtsteiner demise, Ainsley Maitland-Niles not really stepping up & Carl Jenkinson’s contract set to run out, we could be starting 2019/20 without a recognised right back.

So what are Arsenal’s options?

Sign an established right back

The first option would for Arsenal to spend big and go for an established right back.

The fear could be for Arsenal that is Bellerin is out for the start of the season, signing a raw talent or promoting someone from the youth team could leave the side weak on the right hand side. After an injury like what Bellerin had, the odds are high that he might break down again.

Arsenal should therefore target top-flight proven right back. Someone who could come in and not just provide cover for Bellerin, but also competition to him.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the man that springs to mind for this role.

The Crystal Palace right back might be raw, but is not as raw as other candidates we will speak about later. At 21-years-old, he would have a season of top flight Premier League football under his belt and is currently pushing for an England place.

He would cost a lot of money, but if he fulfils his potential he could become even better than Bellerin.

A cheaper option could be long term Arsenal target Ferland Mendy. I imagine there are plenty of other similar talents on the clubs radar.

Sign a raw talent

A cheaper option than signing an established right back is to go for a raw talent.

Over at GunnersTown there is a brilliant scouting report on Houboulang Mendes. He is a 20-year-old Frenchman currently playing in Ligue 2. He has all the natural attributes to be an Arsenal right back, but sound like a very unpolished diamond.

There is also Max Aarons at Norwich. Another who comes with a high reputation but only has a year of Championship football under his belt.

The issue with these sort of players is they might not yet be ready for the Premier League. And if Bellerin is not fit and ready to go at the beginning of next season, they could be exposed and lose confidence before they have even started.

My feeling would be if we signed Aarons or Mendes we would want to put them out on loan for a year. This does not solve our immediate problem.

Promote Jordi Osei-Tutu

If we are going to sign a raw talent, why not promote one of our own?

Jordi Osei-Tutu may well have had a chance in the Arsenal first team this season had he not picked up an early season injury ruling him out for the first quarter of the season.

He would likely have got game time in the Europa League and League Cup had he been fit.

Like with Aarons and Mendes, it would be a huge risk to install Osei-Tutu as Bellerin’s back up. The better options, as with the other 2, would be to send him on loan for a season.

Moving for the likes of Mendes or Aarons; or promoting Osei-Tutu could be a good budget option in the long term, but it would require someone else to be signed in the short term to cover the next 12 months.

Keep Carl Jenkinson

One short term option could be to keep what we have in Carl Jenkinson.

His contract runs out at the end of this season. We could offer him a new 2 year deal on his currently salary – rumoured to be around £45,000 a week. He would then provide short term cover for Bellerin over the next 12 months, whilst his long term cover (Mendes, Aarons or Osei-Tutu) gets top flight experience out on loan.

Buy Lichtsteiner MK II

The deal for Stephan Lichtsteiner did make sense.

Experienced short term cover for Hector Bellerin allowing us another 12 months to develop either Ainsley-Maitland Niles or Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Unfortunately Maitland-Niles has not kicked on and Osei-Tutu picked up an injury. This leaves us in a similar situation last year.

If Unai Emery decides that he wants to go for a raw talent and that Jenkinson is not sufficient short-term cover, scouring the world for a senior right back whose contract has expired could be an option.

Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran seems best to suit this bill.

Experienced and Spanish, he is set to leave Atletico in the summer on a free transfer. Would a one-year deal in the Premier League interest him? Perhaps if we offer him similar money to Lichtsteiner.

It would then be a similar scenario to keeping Jenkinson.

Arsenal get in the experienced man to cover Bellerin whilst they develop a raw talent who spends a year out on loan.

Keenos