Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla believes the club’s full backs play a vital role in the Gunners attacking philosophy.
With the likes of Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Cazorla operating out wide, their inclination to come inside leaves gaps out wide that can be filled by the advancing defenders.
The 28 year old feels creating space on the flanks for the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna adds an element of surprise to the Gunners game.
Speaking to the Arsenal official website, he said:
I believe that full backs have a pivotal role in our team. We don’t have pure wingers.
Perhaps Theo Walcott is the most natural winger in the squad. He likes to be on the wing to make use of his speed, but apart from him we don’t have natural wingers.
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Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky or myself are not sticking strictly to the touchline. Therefore we open up spaces so our full backs have a corridor where they can go up and down.
Our ball possessions are long but they can break through by surprise. That’s why full backs are really important for our team. You can see that every game.
Arsenal who are currently top of the Premier League and their Champions League group are missing the likes of Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to injuries, leaving the Gunners deprived of pace on the wings. This was clearly evident from the Dortmund game.
We missed Walcott especially badly on Tuesday night and had to rely on our full backs to do any sort of damage down the wing. Without width and proper wingers, we were once again forced to attack through the middle, and time and again Dortmund had enough bodies to block any sort of attack in that area.
Our full backs had to take the responsibility of attacking down the flanks and getting crosses in, which was not the right tactic against a counter attacking team like Dortmund, leaving the backline exposed. But the good news is our wingers are expected to return over the next month or so and once they are back Arsenal will be even stronger.
Do you feel we missed our wingers against Dortmund? Share your thoughts in the comments below.