Gibbs or Clichy for Left-back
For the last three seasons Gael Clichy has been our number three with little competition for the left back position. Clichy has not been a rock and there are many aspects of his game that need working on.
Clichy does not like crossing the half-way line. Clichy is blessed with great speed, but does not put it to great effect going forward. There is no confidence once he is in the opposition’s half. He does not cut in, which makes him predictable, whilst his crossing is laughable.
Defensively, Clichy is a good tenacious defender. He uses his speed to great effect, but has been known to have lapses in concentration. These lapses have started to become more and more common. This does not help the other defenders, who need to be able to rely on the young Frenchman.
Over the last three years Clichy has not improved, but has either stayed the same and in some respects gone backwards. It is no surprise that he is not considered to be worthy of a place in France squad.
There are question marks over whether or not Clichy can develop further or whether he has reached his limit. If it is the latter, this season we have seen the introduction of a young English defender, who will become a great left back for Arsenal and England.
Kieran Gibbs has played 21 games for us this season as a left-back. Apart from one slip against Manchester United the youngster has done us proud. He has never shirked his responsibility, having come through against all sorts of opponents. He played very well in the FA Cup semi-final, creating our only goal.
Gibbs is a break from our normal left-backs in that he is a tall player. No longer do opposing teams single out the left back for a long ball. Having started his career as a left-winger, he is blessed great speed, athleticism, and does not panic once he crosses the half-way line. He is the best crosser of balls out of our four full-backs (Sagna, Eboue and Clichy). He cuts in from the flanks causing defenders problems and will also make the overlapping run.
Gibbs has some aspects of his defensive game which he needs to work on, but he is only 19 years old and has learnt a lot this season. The other plus point is that Gibbs is an academy graduate; the fans love to see “our” boys make the grade.
Gibbs might be ready for a regular place for the whole season, but there is not much to choose between Gibbs and Clichy and Clichy is 25 years old in July.