There’s no disguising the fact that Alphonso Davies has enjoyed a fantastic start to the 2019/2020 season, especially since Hansi Flick has taken charge. Flick made the decision to start playing him at the left back position, and it’s proven to be one of his wisest decisions since taking charge of the club. With that said, Flick will have some tough decisions to make when Niklas Sule, Javi Martinez, and Lucas Hernandez return from their injury layovers. Does he push David Alaba back out to left back? Does he keep Davies as the starting left back? Does he push Davies to the midfield, or perhaps even the bench?
We decided it was best to piece together a good ol’ fashioned BFW Roundtable to spark this debate.
* Should Flick stick with Davies as the starting left back moving forward?
Alphonso Davies is the best left back in the #Bundesliga right now. He's been THAT good.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) December 21, 2019
Alphonso Davies is a special talent in my view — his pace, physicality, and overall athleticism is probably the best on the team by some margin. Between him and David Alaba, Bayern Munich have a unique blend of speed, power, and technical skill at the back that we haven’t seen before.
TALK ABOUT PACE:
In case you missed it, this is how @AlphonsoDavies set up @lewy_official on Wednesday night ️ pic.twitter.com/FSYoGv7bHj— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) December 23, 2019
The main reason I think Bayern Munich should keep Davies as their starting left back is because he gives the club a kind of “get out of jail free” card in difficult situations. Fast counters have been the bane of this team for years now, and for once we have someone who completely neuters the danger of a fast break (on the left side of the pitch at least).
Davies’ mere pace could mean the difference between winning and losing a UCL tie, so he should clearly keep the position even after Lucas Hernandez returns from injury. In addition, he has been progressing rapidly in terms of his overall game — we’ve seen more and more attacking flair from him lately — which is yet another reason to continue his development. We could have another Andrew Robertson on our hands, if we play our cards right.
Tom Adams: Undecided...no need to change it just yet, though
This is such a conundrum for me. Davies has been SO good at the capacity he’s played at left back with the injuries to both Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule. Playing David Alaba as a center back alongside either Javi Martinez, Benjamin Pavard, or Jerome Boateng with Davies on the left has proven to be a system that’s worked quite well for Hansi Flick since he took charge following Niko Kovac’s departure.
Naturally, since Hernandez will be returning from his injury before Sule, I still think it will take him quite some time to get back to full match fitness, so with that said, keeping Davies as the starting left back would make sense for the time being. Once Hernandez is back fully fit, though, I still see him as more effective from a center back position, but that would force either Alaba, Pavard, Martinez, or Boateng out of that position, though Boateng’s agent HAS expressed his desire to leave Bayern during the winter transfer window.
Taking all of this into consideration, I think that Flick should just stick with Davies at left back UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Once Sule and Hernandez are back and fully fit, however, I think the conversation can, and will, change. Part of this also has to do with curiosity in the sense that with his blistering pace, I’d like to see how well Davies could do if he were to be deputized as a left midfielder as opposed to a left back. I think he’s shown that he has a lot to offer going forward and can be effective in an attacking role while still holding some defensive responsibility.
Rune King: No
Since Matchday 9, Alphonso Davies has played every minute in all competitions for Bayern -a remarkable feat considering the fact that he turned 19 at the start of November. Of course, the Bayern’s back line’s injury implosion opened up an opportunity for regular minutes. The young Canadian has since gobbled the opportunity that came his way and has been a revelation in the Hinründe. Despite being played out of his natural position, Davies did well to adapt to the left back role.
His strength, pace, one-on-one ability as well as his skill on the ball shone bright in his performances leaving the fans clearly impressed. While he has shown to be the best transfer of this year, he is far from flawless, yet. His defensive positioning needs work and he’s lost the ball quite a few times,some of which have lead to goals. The constant vigilance needed to absorb the press and the experience will eventually come to him as he gets more games under his belt. The Canadian is still a work in progress, which is why I believe Alaba and Hernandez should start before Davies at Left Back, especially in the big games.
Fergus Tong: Yes
In my opinion, Davies deserves to remain as the starting left back for Bayern. What he has done in the short time he’s been starting is absolutely extraordinary. The nineteen year old has been thrown into the deep end and not only has he floated, he’s done so with extraordinary style, conviction and class.
Davies’ pace and physicality eclipses that of even Alaba at fullback. This enables the team to play a higher line - a crucial component of Flicki Flaka as it enables more ferocious pressing. Furthermore, this pace covers up for the lack of pace of other defenders and helps Bayern when dealing with counterattacks. Moreover, Davies’ attacking is a big focal part of Flick’s current Bayern. The Canadian’s marauding runs from the back often create overloads and gives Bayern the ability to get crosses into the box. In short, Davies’ current offensive threat is far greater than that of Alaba from the past few seasons.
Another big reason in why Davies must stay at LB is Alaba’s performances at CB. The Austrian has excelled in his new role and the team misses his direct, long passing abilities when he’s not at the heart of defence. Even if Hernandez is fit to play, I believe that Bayern’s best defence includes Alaba at CB as his passing, pace and reading of the game are crucial, not only for the defence but for the offence, too.
Well, we’ve had our say. Let us know what YOU guys think in the comments section! Mia San Mia