So we’ve lost Hector for the whole season, confirmed by the club yesterday evening, which now means that some kind of solution at right back needs to be found by a unai Emery.
It’s a bitter blow for the team because it was obvious the difference in class that Hector brought to the team when he played on Saturday. A bit more drive and purpose going forward, has the recovery pace and better positioning than Maitland-Niles and Lichtsteiner, so all in all this news just sucks a bit really.
It’s also another headache for Unai has his said is depleted yet further with a season-ending injury. First Welbeck, then Holding, now Bellerin and although we’re all gutted you have to think about the manager too because it’s hardly helping his regime he’s trying to build.
That’s especially the case when you know we’re going to have to look at ‘internal solutions’ and with Hector out between six to nine months those solutions will most certainly stretch in to next season.
Now, not that I want to be accused of being too callous here, but the club will also need to think about a right back in the summer I suspect. Maitland-Niles is a square peg in a round hole. Lichtsteiner is not good enough and will have one more year on his career, but the experiment didn’t really work, whilst Jenkinson probably isn’t good enough to be the next in line now that Bellerin is out.
The club are going to ‘make do and mend’ for the rest of this season which I think makes sense, but in the summer you’d probably have to think about signing another top right back, because we don’t know if Hector will come back the same with an injury like that.
It doesn’t feel nice talking that way but the club have to be pragmatic and so my hope is that ‘right back’ has been added to the list.
Aside from that depressing news about Bellerin, Unai took the team on a bonding session to plat paintball this week, which is good to hear they’re doing this sort of stuff. Of course the nervous wreck in me thinks that there are probably some non impact activities they could have been doing but let’s not go all ‘nanny state’ on a group of grown men. The only reason I thought that anyway is because we seem to be a club constantly cursed with long term injuries! The last thing any of us want is a Lacazette swollen knee because Kolasinac peppered him with purple paint!
On a serious note though, it’s important to see this kind of stuff happening. Not everyone in the squad has to like each other but the more we can foster a team mentality the better we’ll be in the long run. Hopefully it chilled the players out ahead of the big cup game on Friday night. And hopefully Mustafi didn’t go sliding in somewhere to capture the red team flag!
The other news going on seems to be that Arsenal and Barcelona have backed off from Denis Suarez signing this January. Apparently all due to the fact Barca wanted a mandatory purchase, Arsenal have sensibly said “no dice” to the Catalans and I think that makes sense. If Suarez won’t also sign a new deal at Barcelona it means a player in the last year of his deal at the club in the summer and Barcelona will have difficulty pricing him out of a move as they know they need to recap some cash.
This is what we want to see from Arsenal. Sensible negotiations. Suarez is a gamble for us, however much the final fee is, and if we end up with another Julio Baptista situation we need to be able to hand him back in May if it hasn’t worked out. My other hope is that Unai realises he can work with Mesut Özil and that he’s given a chance at the club. You can’t say Suarez is an upgrade on Özil (assuming Emery deploys then in similar positions) so my view is that this would be one ‘internal solution’ that I’d be backing to the hilt.
We just have to hope that Unai feels the same.
Other than that it all feels pretty quiet at the moment. All calm before the inevitable FA Cup storm I suspect and we’ll either get something this afternoon from Unai on the team news today, or he’ll do his presser tomorrow because he’s still nursing wounds from being stealth-peltered by Özil and Ramsey.
Catch you guys in tomorrow’s AM.