A Case for Lisandro Martinez at Left-Back

I present a chain-of-thought argument supporting why Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez can and should be considered for the left-back position.

A Case for Lisandro Martinez at Left-Back
Image from @LisandrMartinez

I spent more time than I'd like to admit detailing reasons why I think Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez could and should be considered at left-back. Because the argument hints at some of my fundamental interpretations of the sport, I've deemed it necessary to archive.

While some premises may be more subjective than others, I hold each one with deep conviction and careful consideration.

If necessary, I am willing to write and link separate essays for each of the boldened points.

RCB - Right Centre-Back; LCB - Left Centre-Back.

  • Fullback is a utility position: a good fullback in one setup performs very different core functions from another.
    • Lisandro Martinez is a good footballer and possibly the most secure in that deep, left zone.
    • Good footballers deliver across board. A ~10-metre difference in set position is inconsequential to his ball playing capacity.
  • All fullbacks get dribbled past; it’s a feature, not a bug.
    • Most fullbacks get dribbled past more times than they intervene (except specialists like Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kyle Walker, and a few others).
    • Martinez, although aggressive, has better defensive fundamentals than both Shaw and Malacia.
    • Because neither Luke Shaw nor Tyrell Malacia is a specialist defender, any pure-defending margin gained or lost with Martinez is insignificant.
  • Centre-back is not a utility position.
    • While stylistic difference appear between teams, box-defending, cover-defending, ability to make 1st contact, set-pieces, and clearances are all fundamentals for the centre-back position.
    • Martinez, while a capable LCB (remember, good footballers deliver across board), has deficiencies in a couple of these, which can easily be sealed with a different option.
    • There are seemingly good LCBs in the Market. It’s a good time to grab one. What better way to bed them in than being flanked by Martinez and an RCB on the other side.
  • Manchester United are a side in need of margins. Fullback is where the best teams steal margins.
    • At left-back, United would have one of the best deep playmakers in the world in a liberated role.
    • Meanwhile, at center-back, United have a workable player with restrained playmaking potential.
  • Shaw, Malacia, and Martinez were injured across almost the entire season. It is unrealistic to expect each one to return with full vim.
    • Tabbing Martinez as a left-back option and signing an LCB helps insure that.
  • Whatever running and movement help you suppose United’s left-winger needs, it is possible to get that from midfield.
    • Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes are more than capable of providing cover runs and incisive passing from the left-hand side.

Archive from June 12, 2024

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Who is the Writer?

Joel A. Adejola is an undergraduate at the University of Kansas (KU), studying Engineering and Philosophy.