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Arsenal full season Player reviews Part 2 – Right backs

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Here is Part 2 of Alfie’s assessment of all our players performances over the season…

Today, has has rated our right-backs.

SEASON PLAYER RATING 3: HECTOR BELLERIN-

An unfortunate season for the Spaniard after such a good start where he appeared to have made massive leaps in his game under the new regime and with the fresh competition from Stephan Lichtsteiner early on. Bellerin’s initial steep and meteoric rise into the Arsenal first team ascended him into the elite young full-back bracket, but his development stagnated somewhat in the latter years of Wenger’s regime. However, Unai Emery and Lichtsteiner came in and appeared to give him a new lease of life, revitalising his previous form. He showed in the early part of the season that he is an excellent defender, improving both positionally and in one on one defensive situations, as well as massively improving in the final third, registering one more assist than last season despite playing significantly fewer games. This was all brought to an abrupt end after the full-back sustained a serious injury in mid January. Let’s pray that this injury does not effect the progress he was making. 🚨VERDICT: 7️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 4: STEPHAN LICHTSTEINER-

A player that came in expecting to be a solid back up to Bellerin, who would help push him and improve him, as well as providing leadership and experience to a side with a weak mentality. Unfortunately, he only really appeared to provide two of these things. On the pitch, mainly when he was drafted into games of a higher magnitude, he was often a defensive liability, looking way out of his depth with the pace and intensity of the English game at his fragile age, as well as making positional mistakes time and time again that often cost us. However, there’s no doubt that he did push Bellerin to improve his game in the early weeks of the season, with the Spaniard coming out and saying this himself, and did provide some mental solidity in the dressing room in difficult periods of the season. Despite this, Lichtsteiner was ultimately a disappointing acquisition, but not one we’re going to lose sleep over, having come as a 34 year-old as a free on a 1-year deal. 🚨 VERDICT: 3️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 5: AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES:

Another season of gradual progress; another season playing in a position he doesn’t see as his long-term one. Maitland-Niles was merely a bit part player in the first half of the season, filling in where needed, featuring in the Europa League and League cup regularly, and being a useful utility player. However, the injury to Hector Bellerin in mid-January opened the right-back or wing back position up to the Englishman, with the underwhelming Lichtsteiner and Jenkinson giving him the opportunity to consolidate his place in the side here. He took this opportunity, flourishing at times as part of a back 5, while still looking relatively inconsistent and raw, as you’d expect from a young player. Another season of consolidation of his place in the first team, but he will look to develop and get more minutes either out wide further up the pitch or centrally, otherwise he faces the danger of always being a utility player. 🚨 VERDICT: 7️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 6: CARL JENKINSON-

Another season very much on the peripheral of the side. I considered whether I should even do a Jenkinson season review which almost tells you everything you need to know. Initially drafted in to the League Cup early rounds and then Europa League group stage games due to a severe lack of options, Jenkinson put in decent and relatively solid defensive performances against low quality opposition, showing he is a capable player at a certain level. However, once he started getting a few League run-outs his one-dimensional nature was emphasised and he looked quite out of his depth, reinforcing our desperate need to move the full-back on this summer. He must’ve played his last game for the club. 🚨VERDICT: 5️⃣ –

Alfie


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Ray Parlour explains why Arsenal and Tottenham should steer clear of Jose Mourinho

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Arsenal and Tottenham should steer clear of making Jose Mourinho their next manager because the Portuguese wouldn’t have the amount of money he needs to spend at either club, according to Ray Parlour. 

Both the Gunners and Spurs have endured less than impressive seasons so far this term.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are in 14th while Arsenal are in sixth place, though they lie eight points off fourth-placed Manchester City.

Mourinho has been out of job since last Christmas, when he was sacked by Manchester United following a run of torrid results for the Red Devils.

The Portuguese coach has hinted that he would like to return to the Premier League, where he won three titles with Chelsea.

But Parlour believes that Arsenal and Tottenham, whose managers Unai Emery and Pochettino are under threat this season, should not look to hire Mourinho, who has a track record of spending lots of money at the clubs he’s worked at.

“I do [think Pochettino is the right man for Spurs], who else would you go for? If you’re going to get rid of a manager, you have to have a plan. But Mourinho wherever he has gone, he has always had money to spend,” he told talkSPORT.

“Have Spurs got the money to spend? They haven’t given it to Pochettino, you’d think they would give it to Pochettino first.

“Arsenal are in the same situation. Would they look at Mourinho? They haven’t got the money to spend either.”

Parlour also spoke about his surprise at Tottenham’s low positioning in the table this season.

“It’s amazing to see that Spurs are 14th with the squad they have got and the players they have got,” he added.

“I think he [Pochettino] needs to be backed a bit more, he knows he’s going to lose a few players and they need to re-invest.

“He has got them into a great situation getting into the Champions League most seasons, but getting in this season, it looks very unlikely now.

“The board have to back him – they are going to lose three key players.”

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Granit Xhaka in Newcastle transfer talks with Fabian Schar as Magpies eye Arsenal outcast

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Arsenal are set to sell Granit Xhaka in January after the former captain fell out with fans last month.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has been left on the sidelines at his own request after he lashed out at the Emirates faithful during the draw with Crystal Palace, but he might be staying in the Premier League.

The Telegraph have reported that the 27-year-old has been told good things about the Toon by his Switzerland team-mate Fabian Schar.

Schar, who is a fan favourite at St James Park, seems keen for Xhaka to join him in the Newcastle as his compatriot looks to boost his stance with the national team ahead of Euro 2020.

The former Basel man recently broke his silence in an interview with Swiss publication Blick, in which he outlined his plans for the future.

Xhaka said: “You could say things have been a bit frantic.

“Last week in particular was a very special emotional experience for me.

“But I’m doing very well again, I’ve trained well this week and am looking forward to my next assignments.

“In the club and of course on the national team.”

On the incident in question, the controversial midfielder spoke about his sadness, and why his reaction was justified.

He added: “When my shirt number lit up on the fourth official’s panel and our own fans broke into gleeful jubilation, that hit me very hard and really upset me.

“It was very hurtful and frustrating.

“I can’t understand a reaction like that even now, especially the vehemence of it and the extreme hostility directed against me.

He later added: “Insulting and swearing at your own captain will cause upset and a bad atmosphere for the team you are actually supposed to be supporting.

“That makes no sense to me and weakens the team’s spirit.”

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Transfer news LIVE: Liverpool hijack Man Utd target, Arsenal £26m bid, Chelsea free deal

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Transfer news LIVE | Express Sport is on hand to bring you all the latest rumours and gossip

Thursday, November 14

  • Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho wants to leave
  • Liverpool are interested in signing Genk star Sander Berge
  • Manchester City have entered the battle to sign Benfica star Ruben Dias
  • Arsenal are looking at Stuttgart midfielder Orel Mangala

Jadon Sancho frenzy

Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho wants to leave the club and return to England.

That’s according to the Daily Mail, who claim the 19-year-old wants a new challenge elsewhere with Liverpool firmly interested.

The news will also excite Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, who are all rumoured to be keen on his services.

Dortmund apparently value Sancho at more than £100million, so anyone serious about taking him in a few months’ time will be forced to fork out a hefty amount.

Wanted: Sander Berge

Liverpool are interested in signing Genk star Sander Berge.

That’s according to the club’s sporting director Dimitri De Conde, who claims Jurgen Klopp personally praised the midfielder’s performance after their recent Champions League encounter.

“Napoli are interested in Sander, it’s a possibility a deal could be done,” De Conde told Radio Punto Nuovo. “We also know that Liverpool are interested and Jurgen Klopp, after the game at Anfield, complimented him on his performance.”

The news of Liverpool’s interest could ruffle a few feathers at Old Trafford with Manchester United thought to have the 21-year-old Norway international lined up to replace Nemanja Matic.

Ruben Dias hijack

Manchester City have entered the battle to sign Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias.

Manchester United and Wolves are known to be monitoring the Portuguese international, who would reportedly cost £80million.

But the arrival of Pep Guardiola’s side could spark a fierce bidding war.

Portugal newspaper O Jogo claim City are eager to secure his signature to remedy their defensive issues with Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines.

Tonali unfazed by £256m valuation

Brescia teenager Sandro Tonali isn’t worried about his astronomical valuation.

Brescia owner and president Massimo Cellino claimed it would take an offer in excess of £256million for him to part ways with the talented Italian teenager.

“I love president Cellino very much and he rates me highly,” Tonali told Rai Sport. “He’s a great person and I hope to travel down a good road with him.

“After the match against Fiorentina, he said he wouldn’t even sell me for €300m, but that doesn’t scare me, even if it really is a lot of money.”

Wanted: Orel Mangala

Arsenal are looking at Stuttgart ace Orel Mangala.

That’s according to German publication HLN, who claim the Gunners are weighing up an offer for the talented 21-year-old.

Lyon, Marseille, Lille and Roma are also interested in the central midfielder, who has nine caps for the Belgium Under-21 international squad.

It’s claimed Unai Emery’s side will need to cough up £26million to secure his signature.

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