It does not matter who Arsenal start in place of Kieran Tierney against Leeds United – Raphinha will still put them to “sleep” like he did to Gary Cahill.
That is the view of former Leeds striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 24-year-old winger was only getting better and better in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners, who will be without Kieran Tierney for Sunday’s game, have started Cedric Soares on the left-hand side of the defence for their last four top-flight fixtures.
The 29-year-old, who also played at right-back for the win over Newcastle, helped Arsenal beat Southampton and play out a 0-0 draw with Arsenal but ended on the losing side versus both Wolves and Aston Villa.
Whelan, who watched Raphinha terrorise Crystal Palace – and in particular Gary Cahill – on Monday night, has suggested the Brazilian winger could take on any full-back with the confidence that he has shown in recent weeks.
“Look, it doesn’t matter what defender now, everyone’s seeing the capabilities and what Raphinha’s got to bring to the party,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“It’s a lot and it’s getting better and it’s getting more effective every single week in his performances. It’s going to be another battle, another good competition, man-v-man, who can win that battle against one another?
“Raphinha, at the minute, I mean he nearly put Gary Cahill to sleep the other day with the nutmeg, nearly finished him off completely. He will be going in there full of form and in a great, confident mood that there’s no defender that can actually deal with him right now.”
Raphinha, a £17million summer signing from Rennes, has scored four and chipped in with a further four assists in 17 Premier League appearances for Leeds.
He has managed to keep the likes of Helder Costa, Pablo Hernandez and Ian Poveda out of the starting XI.