By Richard Clarke
Attacking full-backs are one of the keys to footballing success, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Arsenal manager has been blessed with abundant offensive options in wide defensive positions during his 15 years in charge - Silvinho, Lauren, Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole. Then there are the current exponents Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos.
The last of those is perhaps the best example. The Brazilian is always attack-minded and struck his second goal for the Club in the 5-3 win at Chelsea last Saturday. But, as Wenger admitted ahead of West Brom's visit to Emirates Stadium on Saturday, he is still learning about the rigours of defending in the English top-flight.
"Andre needs to improve on that, of course," said the manager. "But it's easier to give him that than [to teach him about] going forward.
"I believe he is much better defensively than people are giving him credit for. He is still sometimes caught but in a one-on-one he is quite good and in the last 10 minutes at Chelsea he saved three or four goals.
"And they have a different perception of full-backs in Brazil than in Europe.
"For me, having a full-back who creates is an important part of winning. Take the Brazilian national team, the ones who have won trophies anyway, you will see that there is always two good full-backs. With two average full-backs they would not have won. But they had Carlos Alberto and Roberto Carlos, Jorginho and Cafu.
"[Traditionally] when you play against a 4-4-2 the two strikers stop your centre-backs so the full-backs get the first ball from the goalkeeper.
"If your full-back gives ball back to the keeper or cannot get out of a tight situation you have to kick the ball forward.
"Against a 4-5-1, the trend now, the two centre-backs become more important as the full-backs are 'blocks' and the centre-backs get more of the ball.
"So the quality of their passing becomes very important."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Nov 2011