Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been discussing the importance and value he places on wing-backs ahead of his side’s return to Premier League action, against West Ham, this weekend.
Emery welcomed right wing back Hector Bellerin back to full training this week and will hope to see him quickly restored to first-team duty, alongside Sead Kolasinac on the left as Arsenal look to regain their form following a disappointing December.
The former Sevilla manager has led Arsenal to fifth in the table, with his side currently three points behind Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification, ahead of their trip to West Ham on Saturday.
“Wing-backs for us, and I think for football generally, give us the opportunity to get wide, and sometimes also the surprise of getting deep,” Emery told Arsenal Player.
“They give control with the ball when you have players inside.’’
“They can go outside, keeping wide and going deep for the last attacking moment. But also it’s very important for every team, and for us as well, for them to defensively and tactically have quality.
“Maybe they can be runners and have the capacity to add the attacking moments when the team needs it. They can offer a surprise with an attacking moment. But not forgetting that for every defensive player, the first work from them is defensively.
“In each match I usually want to take the positions with the squad or the starting XI, the positioning and control with the positioning the spaces on the pitch when we are attacking or defending.
“When you want to use a lot of players inside for the counter attack maybe, it gives us the possibility for the players to touch the ball, to keep the ball between some players. You also need to use the space on the side, on the right or left, for the balance defensively and also for the balance when you want to do the attacking moments and surprise the opposition.”