Arsenal v Man City – Who should start, Bellerin or Lichtsteiner?

Unai Emery’s first incoming transfer when he became Arsenal manager was the announcement of the arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer. The 34 year-old had just arrived at the World Cup as captain of Switzerland and he has come with the amazing record of 7 Serie A titles and 5 Copa Italias in his career, not to mention a League title in Switzerland with Grasshopper Zurich as well.

There is no doubt he is extremely experienced and with ove 100 caps for Switzerland he is very highly regarded as a leader of men. Even Hector Bellerin is pleased to see Lichtsteiner arrive at the Emirates despite him being a direct rival for his postion in the first team.

Hector said: “I think it’s a great addition to the squad,”

“He’s a player with loads of top-level experience and he can only help us.

“I can’t wait to learn from him. I think he’s a top defender, really solid and has a very good attacking sense as well.

“As a young player, it’s good to have someone like that I can learn from.”

We also saw from watching him in the World Cup that Lichtsteiner has amazing power and fitness despite his age, while conversely many Arsenal fans would say that Bellerin has regressed with little competition for his place in the team, amid criticisms that he worries more about how he looks than how good he plays.

I have a feeling that Emery is set to make Lichsteiner his first choice for right-back and I even think he will be one of his “five captains”.

What do you think. Who will Emery start with against Man City?



  1. Innit says:

    Worth a shot.
    Def play him against Lazio

  2. Chiza says:

    Lichsteiner lack of pace would kill us against man city..we would have to stick with bellerin and hope for the best

  3. Tom says:

    The honest official match report.

    1-1 is generally seen as an even contest on paper. But most games are far from that. Today in the first 20 mins Chelsea could of scored 3 goals.
    Throughout the game they pressed high but where smart in so much as not going in to tackle but take up advance positions (unless the tackle was on). Out balls where difficult because the second set of pressing was set upon the inexperience mix of Guendouzi, Rowe and Eleny. It was old Arsenal at times who if you press high you shake them up. Sokratis, Mustafi, Bellerin and Kosasnic are a new block of back 4 and so time should be given of cause but bellerin has to kick on, mustafi needs to save his arsenal career, sokratis needs time to settle and our LB is still not got a no1.

    The lack of cover to the back 4 has been the focal point for arsenal fans for many years now too. While Chelsea didn’t have Kante, there 4 in front of their defence sat meters from their defence while arsenals split on attack build up and offered too much space between the lines in defensive set up.
    So seeing torriera and what balance he can add is going to be interesting.

    In this particular game guendouzi played the quarter back and kept things moving but Chelsea where happy to let arsenal pass and move at times. Most of it had little end product. Ozil, Auba, Mhikt – who I feel is unai’s desired top 3 for the league, didn’t actually offered enough penetration. They have all played less then 10 games together so this will take time but the concern being Ozil and Mhikt are not going to high press for even 60 mins is a concern. It breaks down everything unai wants to do. Maybe in the league it starts but in reality, neither player has the energy level. So it’s why a wide pacey (Dembele type) player is desired. Until then arsenal will look to ball retention and control.

    And ball retention and control is what arsenal gave the game after the shaky start. Many might indicate it as pro Wenger style of football and maybe so, but it’s what unai did at Seville well. It grows confidence in the players and team by having the ball, and being 1 nil down and the opponents missing a pen makes the need for just keeping the ball important.

    But arsenal need more then that, and to unai credit he did what we haven’t been too use to, he tactically educated the players at half time. The players came out and offered more (as much as a friendly pre season allows them) and suddenly Chelsea didn’t have the solutions they worked with in the first half.

    Laca is for me a top player. Not in the league of the very best but a player who knows how to score. If having a top 2 like the late 90s was in fashion, arsenal would arguably have the best 2 – but a balance in attack and defence is key and with Mhikt and Ozil wanting to come infield meant Auba was needing to link up and therefore coming deep and it all seemed to break down. It was only when energetic nelson and a runner in iwobi that Chelsea looked stretched and the goal came from width work.
    In 90mins of football arsenal had more pocession and possibly equal amount of chances but there is, as expected much work still to do.
    Unai, speaking English to his squad and staff is needed to be given time to not only communicate his philsophy but also to learn fully the language.
    I ask you, go to Spain and teach a team to do something you want them to do in Spanish. We take for granted the reality of football. We just want to win and when we don’t we abuse.
    The percentage of them on this site is as high as 70%, I can only imagine what match day is like When things go Pete Tong!!

    The fact that Chelsea have more money and also therefore more better players means arsenals road to competing starts within London on a tuff playing field. I said it before, arsenal need to be top dogs of London first and that takes time.

    For Chelsea, going off this game; Morata will be given every chance to get shots on goal, but his confidence is completely gone. Rudiger and David Luiz looked solid. Jorginho is going to be a wonder to watch this year.

    For Arsenal, my concern is the high press isn’t yet implemented until you see the young chaps come on as subs. Unai will need to make a call on playing both Mhikt and Ozil even though both are excellently gifted footballers.
    In attack, counter attack we seem to be deadly because Mhikt and Ozil can find Auba while following up to support him. In pocession and break down opponent play, we lack the knowledge to press and kill.

    The game told us everything about nothing. Both teams are in reshape mould, all will be different in 1 month, 2 months..

    For now, all this match report will tell you is, it was 1-1.

    1. chucky says:

      Nice article, was worth the read.

    2. Break-on-through says:

      I’d give those Chelsea CB’s some credit, they played a close link (good distances) to one another and watched Auba like a hawk. He just couldn’t go through the centre of them, he had to turn back and pick the ball up himself but even then they would not let him get a run on them. He had a great chance all the same and nine times out of ten he’d have put that one away. He could’ve had another one only Bellerin ballooned it when he should have zipped it across the sweet spot.

    3. Karonito says:

      Thanks for the insight Tom.

    4. Arsene is Out says:

      Nice article Tom, excellent observations. I think Mhiki and Ozil should rarely play together as like you said they dont give width to the team. Auba and Laca playing together could be more interesting even if Auba has to drift in form the left.
      Dembele would be a coup for us. I would love to see him in an Arsenal shirt.

      We will have Toreira in soon to sit in front of the back four which should help things quite a bit. Nevertheless I wish we had one fast central defender as all our options are pretty slow.

      Also Cech seems to be relishing the competition from Leno

    5. Naghar says:

      Well said

    6. Khadii says:

      You should be a columnist at Just Arsenal…
      Cool article…

    7. iffybright says:

      Iwobi and Nelson introduction made things easier…..
      Chelsea became stretched and penetration became easier…..
      Thanks for the enlightenment, most of the Fans didn’t noticed that…..
      We need to start more willing runners to make penetration easy….
      you guys should just look at that Chelsea Boy, Hudson Odoh, he is just like Coman…
      He really death with us yesterday….
      Nelson has a big role to play this season….
      Emery likes him

    8. Mudassir says:

      @Tom, great write up, while reading I tot it was the actual article I have opened, should have sent it to admin to post it.
      my take:
      1. I wonder how xhaka will feeling while watching Gouendouzi, same as Ramsey watching Rowe Smith watch your back boys.

  4. Peter says:

    Licht Steiner for sure. For Arsenal the RB position is a huge weakness because Bellerin is not good enough defender in the Premier League. His speed covers up his leck of technique. Or it did; now he hs been shown to be not as fast, he has nothing but embarrassment, imo. He should leave.

    1. OzzieGunner says:

      Peter, totally agree. Lichtsteiner is the captain of the Swiss National team and a 5 time winner of Seria A with Juventus. No comparison. Starts over Bellerin until Bellerin proves himself the better player.

      1. jonfox says:

        Agreed! I would even play my cat in place of Bellerin , let alone seriously compare the woeful Hector to top pedigree Lichtsteiner. Puss then second second and Bellerin either in Barcas fifth team or at somewhere like Yeovil where he might be thought useful. I see NO defensive ability at all in BELLERIN, who has speed only and even that is usually useless when you are forty yards from where you should be, chasing back hopelessly while the ball goes in our net. I would have Bellerin out today, were it my decision. Unlike Wenger, I see no benefit at all in keeping deadwood around for years wasting our wages on them for no return.

  5. CorporateMan says:

    Chambers did well when he came on against Chelsea. Maybe he’s just the best option?

  6. Miztermann says:

    @Tom…..ur comment is an article on is own………u really analyzed the thing more than my expectation……sincerely u make sense especially on fake arsenal fans that cant just have the Patience of one match b4 criticizing emery tactics,calling it same arsenal all on single experimental match…..”poor fake gonner” their percentage is even more than 70………God bless u tom…..God bless Guedousin…….God bless lacazette and may Allah bless the Emery’s ongoing work…

    1. Phil says:

      How about God Bless the Queen-you missed her out

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        I second that

  7. Break-on-through says:

    I think Bellerin will begin the season first choice and if he plays like he did last season then Lichsteiner will come in at some stage. But when we face huge pace on that wing I’d expect Bellerin to come back in unless Lichsteiner’s positioning nullifies the threat. Its a difficult one, Lichsteiner’s a household name but it would’ve been some purchase if he’d been only 29 or something.

    1. OzzieGunner says:

      Lichtsteiner is not slow, either in physical pace or football brain. He should start as age, based on his ability and experience, is irrelevant.

      1. OzzieGunner says:

        Why moderation?

        1. Admin says:

          Hi Ozzie.
          For some reason you have added a “p” to the beginning of your email!

          1. kstix says:

            it takes forever for my comments to be moderated on this site. I wonder why

          2. Admin says:

            I have no idea either. Are you on a spam list somewhere that gets picked up by my filter?
            I suggest you log in with a new username and email and hopefully it will get passed….

  8. Maks says:

    I dnt know… we still have a weak defence. We have to attack more and I hope Toreira will prevent them to play with our defence too much. Guendouzi is a brilliant prospect, in time he will be big for us all over the pitch so we have to be more patient… we were with Wenger so season is long and I hope no smart person will judge Emery after one season with lot s of Wenger s deadwood still in the team.

    1. jonfox says:

      Exactly! We have to give Emery a chance to get his own team in and get rid of all WENGERS DEADWOOD. It would need a strong team of lumberjacks to move it all out quickly enough, so Emery needs time. We gave Wenger ten years too long!

  9. Wolfgang says:

    Bellerin maybe great going forward but asa defender he has been found out not once
    but in the big games as well. The Swiss defender lack of pace could be fatal especially in a one on one scenario. Then in that case there must a 2nd/3rd defender to back him.
    I have been pleased with the defence to date . Sterner tests await.But I am pretty
    confident the defence would perform better than under the fm.
    The latter did not believe in defence and he would have played with 11 attackers if
    he so desired.Such arrogance was bound to undo him and I believe if he had not
    left on his own he would have been axed/

    1. Khadii says:

      Bellerin is an all round liability IMO…
      Can’t defend properly at the back….
      Can’t cross the ball properly at the front

    2. OzzieGunner says:

      Wolfgang, what lack of pace? Please demonstrate.

  10. Durand says:

    Torreria will cover up those defensive holes behind Bellerin and Sead. It’s good they are exposed now rather than papered over by Torreria’s quality.

    Still work to do with new system and changing the mindset of players. Love that never quit attitude tho, saved the game

  11. Innit says:

    Just watched video of Lictsteiner.
    He is FAST. Really fast.
    Faster than Bellerin

  12. RSH says:

    Bellerin must improve defensively or he wont be starting. I think Bellerin will initially start games, but if he doesn’t improve his defending Lichtsteiner will fill in. I’d much rather feel safer at the back than have Bellerin contributing in attack honestly.

  13. Unai Emery says:

    Lichsteiner would have taught Odoi some manners yesterday, something which bellerin can never do

  14. In the upcoming 3 matches i would use AMN at RB, better defensively and a better crosser of the ball. He has played there before for Ipswich. Liechsteiner needs more time and Bellerin is just not there at the moment.

    Arsenal is not blessed with tall players, and looking at the combination in midfield we will not be blessed with good jumpers or individuals with good height.

    I will still stand by my statement that we do not need anymore defenders and what we have is sufficient, however, our right and left back needs seminars on how to defend quick wise players


    1. Cover the attacker dominant foot
    2. Always show the attacker the longest route to gold
    3. Never give the attacker your back
    4. Do not go to ground in the 18yd box

    This should be drilled in Bellerin and Kola head from morning till night

  15. John Ibrahim says:

    Leic should play cb hes tall

  16. Stephen style says:

    But what if we experiment with bellerin on RW just like bale. IMO, he will be a great winger.

  17. Gooner14 says:

    People just assume lichtsteiner is slow because of his age, which is stupid. Is c Ronaldo slow at 34? I’d rather have lichtsteiner with broken toes playing than the absolutely useless bellerin.

  18. ozilking says:

    I don’t know y u guys complain like babies.lichestnier has not even kicked a ball for arsenal yet u guys have already started judging him on lack of pace ,dis and dat.are u de coach?let de coach decide on de position dat best suits him.whether it be rwb,rb, is not only about been pacey.experience and maturity comes in play.

    1. OzzieGunner says:

      Yes, downgrading a player who has captained Switzerland at the recent World Cup and won Seria A 5 times.

  19. ozilking says:

    take branislav ivanovic the ex Chelsea for instance. he wasn’t de most pacey rb in epl ,bor anytime he goes for attack he looks so dangerous,had total composure, maturity and stamina.sometimes he was even deployed as cb due to his height,strength,stamina. therefore i belive lichestner has alot more role to play rather dan running,running,running. he will bring in additional quality to our style of play. defensively/attacking wise, COYG

  20. John Wick says:

    Bellerin is an absolute liability and kolasinac isn’t far behind him! Bellerin needs to focus more on his game rather than his fashion and believe me both are shocking! Central defence and full back roles need some serious work or upgrading.

    1. Tas says:

      John your wrong to say Belerin shouldn’t concentrate on his fashion HE SHOULD because the way he played yesterday he needs a new career

      1. Phil says:

        And to think it is Bellerin who has come out and informed everyone how much emphasis Emery is bringing new coaching methods and tactics to training and working on defensive shape and cover.Perhaps he should start listening a bit quick otherwise he will soon be out.Lichstiener may be 34 but he has experience and defensive abilities Bellerin will never possess.
        Top of the transfer requirements for next year?TWO NEW FIRST CHOICE FULL BACKS

        1. Gooner14 says:

          Agree 100%

  21. Abel says:

    For people who say its just a friendly, and the scores do not matter. The 1-1 scoreline an penalty win seems to have blinded you to obvious deficiencies in our game which were shown against our 2nd opponent in the league in a few days time.
    We have one more friendly and the team shape should already be obvious regardless of personnel.
    The game play in the first half was frankly disappointing as the players looked like deer caught in headlights. We are still yet to start a big game on even footing. The slow start to big games like we were used to in the Wenger era will cost us in competitive games and the match would already be lost.
    Cech looks reborn. Guendozi is very comfortable on the ball and is not fazed by pressure although he did lose possession in vital areas when he tried to play out of trouble.
    Our attack is sorted but will need the defence and midfield to hold their own if they are to perform effectively.

  22. Diana says:

    I think that Lichtsteiner should start ahead of Bellerin unless injured. His positioning is exceptional, he reads the game well and he actually knows how to freaking cross the ball. Sadly, i dont think he will be physically ready to start the first 3-4 games of the season. However, he is one of two players i would gamble on their fitness- together with Torreira, as our first 3-4 games may set the tone for the first half of the season.

    If there is one thing though i did respect about Bellerin and all the other pkayers is despite failing to do what they sometimes wanted(passing, flicks, link up, changing play, crossing, trickery), they didnt stop trying. The fight was visible and i can live with ovcasionally losing games but with performance and fight, not what we have seen for years.

    I do however disagree with Mkhiky and Ozil playing together. I think Mky is strongest on the right, and Ozil loses a significant part of his play when he plays from the wing. We should just let people play in their natural positions. I hope Emery wont be a Wenger- playing people out of position just to accommodate what he sees as “good players”, whose contribution then decrease and make other players look average. The games were both Mky and Ozil and Aub have played in their natural positions, its been beautiful
    Genuinely excited

  23. Boliviangunner says:

    Well, all of man city attackers are amazingly pacey. So I would place lichs as cb an send sokratis to the bench as the greek is really slow player

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