Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are reaping the rewards of Arsenal’s back-three

A THREE-MAN defences is not a new creation nor is it particularly revolutionary – but it has given Arsenal a new lease of life.

And two players are reaping the rewards more than most: Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac.

Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are reaping the rewards of Arsenal’s back-threeGetty4 Hector Bellerin appears to be thriving in Unai Emery's back three

It is no surprise Bellerin is flourishing in this role – he's quick, forward-thinking and loves to attack.

He's anything but a conventional, defensive right-back – it is almost as if the wing-back was designed by an architect who had the Spaniard in mind.

And so it proved once again this afternoon.

From the very first whistle Bellerin was up and down – well predominantly up actually – the touchline, looking to create and get involved.

Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are reaping the rewards of Arsenal’s back-threeAFP4 Sead Kolasinac also looked comfortable in a more advanced role

Arsenal would have known they were going to have the majority of the ball and with both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey out injured, the wing-backs needed to be on their game.

While Bellerin was getting into the Huddersfield box, linking up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Kolasinac was operating in a slightly different way.

Unai Emery spoke last week before the North London derby about needing “balance” from his wing-backs and that was certainly evident.

For all Bellerin’s attacking threat, Kolasinac added an air of calm and stability on the other flank.

Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are reaping the rewards of Arsenal’s back-threeReuters4 Hector Bellerin is tailor-made as an attacking wing-back
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That’s not to say he did not get forward – for he did just that – but it was certainly with an added sense of caution.

He may not have the same pace of his team-mate but he makes up with his raw power.

It was not all rosey for Emery, though.

Despite two attacking wing-backs looking to make something happen, a midfield three of Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi does not exactly scream "creativity", does it?

And so it proved, as – just like last weekend – the boss made the changes he needed to at half-time.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lacazette made way, as Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on.

But with the change in personnel came a change in formation as Arsenal returned to a back four.

Is this Emery showing his tactical nous once again or does he not know his best defence? One would suggest there is an element of both.

Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are reaping the rewards of Arsenal’s back-threeReuters4 Sead Kolasinac had another strong game for Arsenal today

It was time for 4-3-3, with Iwobi and Mkhitaryan supporting Aubameyang in attack, constantly looking to add some flair and, more importantly, something to the scoreboard.

Bellerin and Kolasinac were now full-backs, not wing-backs. Not that Bellerin knows the difference.

While, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis occupied the central areas in defence, the full-backs were certainly more reserved, well aware of what the substitutes could offer.

Bellerin was more conservative with his attacks, picking and choosing the time to help out in the final third with real maturity.

He huffed and he puffed but he could not get the break he needed against a resilient Huddersfield defence.

The same could be said of Kolasinac on the other side.

Strangely, he was more involved down the Arsenal left in the second half when he was supposedly playing as a full-back.

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On at least three occasions in the second half, he made inroads and had the ball in a dangerous position.

The first time, he hit the covering defender and won the corner.

The second time, he played it across goal but the ball was cleared.

The third time, he was free on the edge of the box but his touch let him down and the ball got away from him, much to the despair of the home faithful.

For all their lack of creativity and grittiness in midfield, it was surprisingly Torreira who produced the one moment of magic.

After Aubameyang had his initial effort blocked, he did fantastically well to stand it up to the tenacious Uruguayan in the middle.

He had broken clear, only possible due to the cover of Xhaka and Guendouzi and launched himself into the North London air to unleash a brilliant overhead kick past Jonas Lossl.

And boy did the Emirates release a huge sigh of relief.

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