I wanted to talk about our defence & whether or not we need to strengthen it with reinforcements in January & then possibly the summer.
For me, left back is the best position in our entire team in terms of having 2 top quality players in the same position. Monreal & Gibbs are 2 top quality left backs plus Vermaelen, Sagna & even Flamini can fill in there. We are absolutely fine in this position, no signings needed.
Mertesacker & Koscielny is 1 of the best centre back partnerships in Europe, their record together is absolutely insane. To be a top team you need a real resilience and strength in your defence and its fair to say that with this partnership we most certainly have those traits. Vermaelen has found himself playing second fiddle to Koscielny on the left because they are very similar and playing them together makes us quite imbalanced so it is 1 or the other. Nobody would argue that Koscielny is the better of the 2 but having Vermaelen as a 3rd choice centre back is something not many teams can boast. No signing needed for left centre back unless Vermaelen leaves.
As for right centre back, we only have Mertesacker which is the biggest worry in our defence. You could argue that Koscielny can play there while Vermaelen slots into left centre back for the odd game or 2, which I personally have no problem with. My major concern is if Mertesacker gets injured and we have to play those 2 for a long period. The stability, calmness and balance Mertesacker gives us is so important, he is the 1 player I pray doesn’t get injured because it would really derail us. We definitely need another right sided centre back, ideally someone young and versatile.
Lastly we have right back, a position that Sagna has owned since he arrived in the summer of 2007. He has always thrived off of competition for his spot, be it from Hoyte, Eboue or now Jenkinson. He earned the title ‘Mr consistency’ until he broke his leg twice in the 2011/12 season and Jenkinson filled in very capably. Contrary to the opinions of fans who jump on band wagons from game to game, I am happy with Jenkinson as back up and would not be negative if he started a few games for us. Last season people were calling for Sagna to retire or be sold, not considering the fact that he had no pre season and the team in general were struggling. This season after a bad game against Chelsea, its Jenkinson’s turn to be slated and scapegoated.
Jenkinson went to places such as Anfield & the Allianz area and kept clean sheets without putting a single foot wrong last season, people were calling for him to get the number 2 jersey and be our new Lee Dixon. Now this season after 1 bad game there are calls for him to be loaned out with Bellerin getting promoted, which is an absurd over reaction in my opinion. He has a tremendous engine and all the tactical/decision making sides of the game will come with game time. 90% of Arsenal fans slating him were probably the same fans that wanted him to replace Sagna last season. In my opinion we will only need another right back if Sagna leaves, which isn’t likely to happen till the summer if it does.
- Left Back = N/A
- Left Centre Back = N/A
- Right Centre Back = 1 needed in January
- Right Back = 1 needed in Summer if Sagna leaves
Overall its very clear that we have quality, experience & competition in our defence. The 1 gaping hole that we must address this window is another centre back that plays right side and if needed can slot into right back. They will be 4th choice overall (2nd choice on the right) without injury so don’t expect a Phil Jagielka, or anyone from the Premier League to join us for that matter. Someone with Champions League experience and on the good side of 26 would be ideal. Once we obtain another centre back that will bring us up to 4 in total with Sagna as emergency, which will be more than adequate to see the season through successfully.
Photo by Ronnie Macdonald