Arsene Wenger has not always been spot on when it comes to replacing star players at the club – take for instance when he replaced Robin van Persie with Olivier Giroud.
At the time, Wenger was replacing the club captain and golden boot winner with an unpopular striker from Ligue 1 side Montpellier, a decision that did not go down well with the faithful at the Emirates.
However, the French international as he has turned out to be a revelation and a much deserving name in the starting XI.
Last season when it was all but certain during Arsenal’s FA cup triumph against Hull City that Bacary Sagna was set to join League rivals Manchester City, Arsenal supporters had an aura of ‘Ooh here we go again!’
Yet it was not a case of déjà vu for the North London club as Le Professeur signed an experienced Mathieu Debuchy and a promising Calum Chambers at the dawn of the new season.
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Bar the long term injuries, Debuchy had pretty much established himself in the right back position, making Sagna nothing more than an old flame. The chance however, came knocking for Chambers in September after Debuchy was ruled out for three months following an ankle surgery.
While deputizing for the 29-year-old, the England international was impressive until unconvincing spells against Swansea City and Stoke City diminished his shining star. Soon afterwards the rigors of the Premier League kicked in as the former Saint succumbed to injury due to what Wenger termed as “being overplayed for a 19-year old.”
Injuries to Debuchy and Chambers came as a blessing in disguise to Hector Bellerin ,as the 19-year old Spaniard kept consecutive clean sheets against Hull City, Stoke and reigning champions Manchester City. This was before capping it off with a goal in the 5-0 rout over Aston Villa on Sunday – his first for the club.
Given that Bellerin is quicker and far more decisive than Chambers, it would come as no surprise if the former Southampton youth team graduate falls second fiddle to the former La Masia youth team graduate.
The gaffer will certainly have it hard when all three right-backs are fully fit. Ooh the joy!