Tactical Analysis: Where Denis Suarez Will Fit In At Arsenal

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by Muhammad Uways Nisar

Born and bred in the north province of Galicia, Suarez grew up and played youth football for Spanish club Celta Vigo. The youngster eventually drew interest from many of the world’s top clubs, including both Manchester clubs, Barcelona and Chelsea. Suarez signed for Manchester City on the 23rd May 2011 for £800,000 potentially rising to £2.75 million based on performances and appearances.

The move didn’t work out for Suarez, and due to limited first team appearances, he found himself transferred to Barcelona for an undisclosed fee on a four-year contract on 22nd August 2013, mostly competing for Barcelona B in Spain’s Segunda División.

His most interesting career stint came during the 2014-2015 season where Suarez linked up with the now-Arsenal manager Unai Emery in a hugely successful loan spell where Suarez made 44 appearances, whilst also winning the Europa League. Suarez’s goal in the final group stage game against Croatian side HNK Rijeka, saw Sevilla qualify for the knockout stage.

Since then Suarez has been transferred between Villareal and then back again to current club, Barcelona, where he finds himself on the bench the majority of the time, with just 17 minutes in La Liga all season.

So Where Does Suarez Fit In At Arsenal

After Arsenal’s 2-0 Away win at Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup, Emery was questioned about Suarez’s best position, to which Emery replied: “He was playing as a left or right winger for Sevilla when he was with me.” (Sky Sports)

Given Arsenal’s lack of natural width in the side, a move for Suarez would make sense with Emery having managed the Spaniard before on either flank during the manager’s time at Sevilla.

In his best game this season, Suarez played on the left flank in a Cope Del Rey game on December 2018 against Cultural Leonesa in a first leg which saw Suarez score twice in a 4-1 win at the Nou Camp.

Suarez making a darting run from the right flank into the centre and the behind the Cultural Leonesa in the build-up to the first of his two goals.
Suarez receives and exchanges passes before running in behind the Cultural Leonesa defence for his second goal of the evening. (1/2)
Suarez receives and exchanged passes before running in behind the Cultural Leonesa defence for his second goal of the evening. (2/2)

Both of Suarez’s goals against Cultural Leonesa show the qualities the Spaniard possesses from both centre of the pitch and on the flank. In the first goal, Suarez makes a darting run from the right flank in behind the Cultural Leonesa defence. However, in the second goal, Suarez exchanges a one-two with Riqui Puig, whilst making another run in behind the Cultural Leonesa defence and slotting in for his second.

Suarez does possess versatility that would vastly improve squad depth for Emery, being able to play both central midfield and on either flank. With Arsenal lacking a natural winger and the quality in midfield over a full season and the imminent departure of Aaron Ramsey for Italian club Juventus in the summer, Suarez would be a welcoming addition to the Arsenal squad.

With Arsenal’s often change of system this season, Suarez could find himself in a number of positions should he move to Arsenal, mainly being central midfield and wing, with the odd stint of wing-back should Arsenal’s injury problems continue in defence, with central midfielder’s Granit Xhaka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles both featuring in such positions so far this season.

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