After his performance against Newcastle yesterday, questions have again been raised as to whether Serge Aurier is doing enough to warrant being used consistently as Kieran Trippier’s back-up on the right-hand side.
Last season, the Ivorian and Trippier were more or less used equally throughout the season, with Pochettino keen on rotating his full-backs at every opportunity.
It remains to be seen whether a similar system will again be used during this campaign, in order to deal with the demands of playing in 4 competitions again. Nonetheless, it was Aurier who got the nod yesterday against Newcastle, due to Trippier’s enduring World Cup campaign, with Kyle Walker-Peters taking up a position on the substitutes bench with his ability of being able to play both left and right back.
Serge’s performance again highlighted the potential but also the flaws of his game in a back four. His highlight was of course a wonderful assist for what turned out to be the game-winning goal from Dele Alli. The cross was inch perfect and made it almost impossible for Dele to miss. This part of Aurier’s game I believe has vastly improved since his arrival in January as he now provides a much more consistent delivery and does create chances on a more regular basis from the right hand side.
However, it can’t be ignored that his vulnerability when it comes to his defensive duties was also on show throughout the game at St James’ Park. There were a few moments where the right-hand side of our defence was exploited and it would’ve only taken a little more quality from the opposition in order for us to have been punished.
Luckily for us, it wasn’t yesterday and we walked away with the 3 points, but, only in my opinion of course, a slight change in formation could help with the situation. With Trippier performing superbly in the role as a RWB for England over the summer, and Aurier’s strength definitely being more based on his attacking ability, it seems fitting that a switch to a back three could have potential, especially as that would coincide with the return of one the best centre-backs in the Premier League on his day, Toby Alderweireld.
If Pochettino could get Toby back to his best and returning to the Starting XI, then the prospect of Sanchez, Alderweireld and Vertonghen in a back three complimented by Davies/Rose on the left and Trippier/Aurier on the right, may solve some of these issues. This would then mean if Aurier was to get caught out of position, it means, in theory, there should be extra cover in the area behind him, whilst also issuing him more of a licence to get forward.
Of course, this is all just talk and opinions, it remains to be seen what Pochettino does in the coming weeks, it may even result of the emergence of Walker-Peters as the other option to Trippier and we may continue to use 4 at the back as our preferred formation, as it gives us an extra player in attack.
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