By Tony Attwood
Ah, Defenders. You know what they’re like. One falls over and the next thing you know we ain’t gone none at all. None. Well, ok we have Koscielny but he doesn’t count as he hasn’t played any proper games. So how is he going to play some proper games? Well, he has to play some proper games. So we have got Koscielny. But he hasn’t… repeat ad infinitum, which is exactly what the blogs and newspapers are doing.
“5 January signings who could fill Arsenal squad vacancy after Rob Holding’s injury”, shouts the Daily Canon. And what happens when some of our injured men come back – are they thrown out, or do we throw away any of the five we happen to have bought?
But we have two games coming up – the Europa on Thursday and then Southampton away on Sunday. And we’ll need defenders for both of them. So time for a bit of panic.
Or instead we could try and be sensible. Who do we have?
Koscielny: centre back. He has played most of an under 23 game, and was a sub in the last league game. He can play one of the matches, or maybe half of each.
Bellerin: full back. Nothing wrong with him as far as I know so he can play one of the games – presumably against Southampton.
Lichsteiner: full back. Yep he is a back up defender, so he can play. “But he’s a back up, so this is a crisis,” is the cry, and by and large that is nonsense.
Monreal: full back or centre back. We’ve seen him do a great job in both positions, and he is fit again.
Jenkinson: full back. Not a first choice of the manager clearly, but he can certainly occupy a position in the Europa game.
Mavrapanos: centre back, can play right back. Played three games at the end of the seaosn and was highly praised in some quarters. He is now back from injury. If he was good enough for the League games at the end of last season, why not now?
Kolasinac: full back. Playing in the team at the moment – not everyone’s favourite, but he’s doing ok.
Elneny: centre back. He played a few centre back games under Mr Wenger and performed well. Again a player that some like to knock but don’t be misled – he is not a walking disaster.
Maitland Niles: Brilliant youngster who seems to be able to play everywhere and deserves to get games.
Pleguezuelo: centre back or wing back. Made his debut against Blackpool, most certainly able to play in the Europa even if not yet consider ready for the Southampton game.
Osei Tuto: full back. Highly rated and quite capable of handling the Europa game.
I make that six centre backs to choose from and eight full backs to choose from. And this is another “Arsenal crisis”???
Let’s see what Amy Lawrene says in the Guardian…
“With the issues piling up in terms of Arsenal’s defensive composition…” Ah, issues are piling up. Well, I didn’t quite see that with my list of players but still, let’s carry on…
“Centre‑back concerns felt strongly under the microscope at the end of a week when Rob Holding suffered a cruciate injury, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi picked up simultaneous suspensions for their yellow card count, and the German skulked off with an injury in any case.”
OK he “skulked off”. He didn’t walk off. He didn’t get carried off. He “skulked off” – a phrase used of naughty schoolboys who have been caught cheating in an exam. She continues…
“Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal, career full-backs, could be drafted in to a back three.”
Drafted in – which seems to imply that it is not their normal position, a sort of make-do, a temporary solution. Nacho Monreal is a temporary solution at full back?
“Laurent Koscielny has not played for seven months and was not deemed fit enough to come on against Huddersfield. ”
Well no, not quite. He played 85 minutes of the match against Portsmouth. Yes he was surrounded by under 21s, but Portsmouth were the Portsmouth first team, who were not taking it easy against Koscielny.
She concludes, “Emery will have to make do and mend.”
And yet we have found after 30 seconds drawing up the list a total of 11 players to fill four or five positions, of whom four can play centre back or full back.
“Make do and mend”???
“5 January signings who could fill Arsenal squad vacancy”????
You’re having a laugh.
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