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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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Laurent Koscielny reprehensible behaviour has done Arsenal a massive favour

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Laurent Koscielny going on strike has done Arsenal a massive favour and forced the club to change its plans.

It really does appear that Unai Emery and the board had no intentions of bringing in a central defender. not going by the credible transfer reports we have been receiving.

It is fairly accepted that Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, Everton Soares and Wilfried Zaha are the players the club are targeting.

Of those, only one is a central defender and he will not be available for a year.

Anyone watching the Arsenal mini-tour to the USA cannot fail to notice that the defence is still a shambles and that a central defender has to be the priority and it beggars belief that Arsenal has not clicked on to that.


Koscielny effectively going on strike leaves a huge gap at the back, he may not have played every game but he would have been significant throughout the season and he does need replacing.

If the club does not sign a central defender and goes with what we got then the consequences will be harsh and the fans will not forget, it would be negligence of the highest order.

Basically, the way I see it, if Koscielny would have stayed for another season the chances are no new central defender would have been brought in, that simply cannot be the case now.

So, in effect, the 33-year-old has done the club a massive favour even if they have not realised it yet.


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Photo: Man Utd stars dine out in Singapore

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After securing victory over Inter Milan in yesterday’s pre-season friendly, Manchester United’s players have been able to enjoy a bit of…

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So what should Arsenal do about Aubz and Laca’s contract situations?

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Anyone Else Worried About This? by Dan Smith

While I don’t believe the seriousness of the rumours linking Aubameyang with a move away it did remind me about his current situation. Maybe gooners are distracted by transfer talk, or maybe we want to pretend it’s not happening, but our two best players have less than two years left on their deals. It means this time next year Auba and Lacazette can either run down their contracts or be sold for a cut price fee.

Essentially, we will be back in the Sanchez/Ramsey saga, one which we promised would never happen again.
In Raul Sanllehi ‘s own words, the recruitment team will be stricter with those with less than 24 months left on, unwilling to lose any more value on assets. So, by that criteria, if the Gabon and/or French striker chose not to negotiate we would have to sell now?

It would be a PR disaster to send one of our stars to a rival, but fear of criticism was the reason we preferred to lose Sanchez for nothing. The notion was having the Chilean for one campaign was better than any money we could have received. By the next January we were all taking about the 60 million we turned our backs on for 4 months work.

So, should we pay over the odds to keep the duo? Most gooners would say yes but how much stick have we got for doing exactly that for Ozil? The German has had supporters turn against him for his salary of 350,000 when he has zero resale value. Our forward line is 30 and 28 respectively and will be fully aware that someone the same age deemed not as important as them is the highest earner.

So, do we continue to write cheques North of 300,000 pound a week or (like Rambo) insist on a threshold? We either cash in now (fans will be unhappy), let them leave as free agents in the future (fans will be unhappy), or give them a raise (which upsets your wage structure). I was just wondering if anyone else was worried about this, and if so, what’s your preference?


My view is if Auba don’t say yes in the 2 weeks we have to sell, don’t we?

Dan Smith


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