Back to square one: why defenders at City and Arsenal are the middle men

There is a strong possibility that all four full-back roles at the Etihad will be filled by players usually deployed as centre-backs

In 1918, the Kyiv-born artist Kazimir Malevich painted White Square, a white square on a white field. It followed Black Square and Red Square and was the culmination of his project of “suprematism”, his belief that abstraction was a means of approaching a spiritual understanding of the absolute. By that stage, he had achieved international recognition, but it left him with a problem: where to go next? When you have taken abstraction so far you are painting in white on white, what remains?

And so, guided in part by the Soviet regime’s increasing hostility towards abstract art, particularly after the death of Lenin, who had been an admirer, Malevich returned to a more representational style. Some have detected a sarcasm in his later work, veiled criticism of the Soviet system, and it’s undeniable that a painting as overtly realistic as The Worker (1933) bears traces of the earlier stylisation but, still, after the floating colours and geometric shapes of 15-20 years earlier, he went back to images readily identifiable as people. Sometimes revolutions go so far that the only way forward is back.

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