Tottenham Hotspur gave up a 2-0 lead, with Arsenal eventually earning a 2-2 draw in this exciting derby affair. Davinson Sanchez had to fill in at right-back with Spurs’ startling list of injuries. It was clear that he wasn’t comfortable in that role and this impacted on the match.
Davinson Sanchez Uncomfortable At Right-Back In North London Derby Draw
Lack of Senior Right-Back Depth
With the injuries to Kyle Walker-Peters, Juan Foyth and even Eric Dier, Pochettino had to really delve into his resources. It was perhaps a surprise to see Sanchez starting there. He is a centre-back by trade but has featured on the right side of a three-man defence. This was very much clear in the match. Constantly Sanchez tucked in a little too far, and so Arsenal got around the back of the Spurs’ defence too often. It is difficult for a player to suddenly adapt to a role with so little warning. Dier would have been most likely to be prepped for the role in midweek but his hip injury disrupted that.
Serge Aurier was on the bench for the match. He is rumoured to be seeking a move away this summer. This has been evident from the start of the season, with the player not playing any minutes thus far. Pochettino is unlikely to field a player that he feels hasn’t got his head in the match. But, if and when he departs, Spurs are at risk for a situation like this occurring again.
Sanchez had a very tough role to play in this critical fixture. And, as a result, his performance is always likely to suffer. But, both at centre-back and right-back, Sanchez has displayed some weaknesses. Positionally, Sanchez gets himself caught with the ball swirling over his head. At right-back, this is exacerbated since he usually takes up a poor starting position.
A larger issue is his clumsiness. Sometimes the Colombian lacks the finesse and dexterity both in dispossessing an opponent but also taking the ball forward. At 23-years-old, some of this could be attributed to inexperience. He has had two full Premier League seasons of experience, though and so this excuse starts to lose some credibility. Nevertheless, players do take varying lengths to bed in and truly develop. Indeed, Moussa Sissoko suddenly transformed due to some intervention from Pochettino.
There are some positives in his play. He is clumsy and yet so strong. There are further similarities with Sissoko’s old self in that he can struggle to use this strength effectively. He is strong in the tackle, fast and good in the air once he’s positioned himself properly.
Sanchez shows glimpses at being able to bring the ball forward like Jan Vertonghen or Toby Alderweireld. But, as aforementioned, he still has some refining work to do.
After his spirited yet awkward performance, Sanchez did not give his best performance at right-back. Unlike Foyth, he doesn’t seem to have the natural suitability to excel in that position. Instead, he can better use his physicality in a central defensive position.