Arsenal Opinion: 5 Reasons Why Arsenal Needs to Sign a Full Back in January
In recent seasons, Arsenal Football Club has been haunted by bad luck, squad indiscipline, poor officiating decisions and, of course, mysterious injuries.
This season, Arsenal has had its fair share of bad luck and one can’t look further than the surprising 4-3 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Gervinho opened the scoring after receiving a delightful through ball from Alex Song. Yakubu Aiyegbeni scored two goals (one offside) and that was where the scoring stopped for the home side.
Despite leading at halftime thanks to an emphatic Mikel Arteta finish, Arsenal somewhat connived to concede two own goals and Marouane Chamakh’s late header wasn’t enough to give Arsene Wenger’s men a point.
Regarding squad indiscipline, the regular culprit Song has done time after receiving bans from the FA and youngsters like Carl Jenkinson and Emmanuel Frimpong have already been brandished red cards in their short Arsenal careers.
I can open up a blog to write about the amount of officiating decisions that have gone for and against the Gunners this season alone and games like Liverpool (Luis Suarez’ offside), Tottenham (Rafael van der Vaart’s handball), Blackburn (Yakubu’s offside) and many more will come to light.
Injuries have become an essential part of football because of its unpredictability and the way teams handle them goes a long way in reshaping the destiny of the club for that season at least. Manchester United for instance, have lost their inspirational captain Nemanja Vidic to a knee injury that will sideline him for the rest of the campaign, but they have the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to provide support for the aging Rio Ferdinand.
Arsenal is a team that’s renowned for having a formidable squad that challenges for honors every season but Wenger’s team has been hit very hard by the demons of injury as all four recognized fullbacks are currently on the sidelines nursing injuries.
Bacary Sagna suffered a leg fracture in October when Arsenal visited White Hart Lane to play rivals Tottenham, Jenkinson has back issues, Andre Santos went for a surgery to solve an ankle problem and Kieran Gibbs recently suffered a set back in his groin injury.
Wenger has been forced to use his center backs as make-shift full backs and they haven’t been half bad in those positions. He’s still waiting on the return to fitness of these players but the fans are calling for emergency full backs to hold the fort at least.
Here are five reasons why Arsenal needs to sign a full back in January:
This is the principal reason why a full back has to be signed in January because Arsenal is lacking personnel in those positions. Arsenal’s primary left fullback Andre Santos, is sidelined till spring and Kieran Gibbs is a player that has become consistent in getting injured so Arsenal is in dire need of a new left back.
Bacary Sagna on the other hand is a player that’s renowned for his stamina and natural fitness but he fractured his leg in October and his replacement Carl Jenkinson is also out of action.
A new full back needs to be signed to provide adequate cover for these injured players till they return.
Thomas Vermaelen Needs to Return to his favored position
In Thomas Vermaelen’s first full season at Arsenal, he scored eight goals and won a place in the PFA Team of the Year for 2009 thanks to his valiant and commanding stellar performances all season long. Unfortunately, he couldn’t build on his blistering form in his second season as he suffered an Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for seven months.
Injuries to the full backs have forced Wenger to deploy the Verm as a left back and I’m pretty sure he’s not happy with it but he picks the team above self. If a new full back is signed, Vermaelen will go back to his favored center back position.
Johan Djourou Offers Little or No Attacking Threat
His assist to Aaron Ramsey in the match against Olympique Marseille was a peach of a cross, but it’s fair to say that Johan Djourou has been the weakest link of the make-shift full backs deployed by Wenger. Defensively, he has been solid in some games and very shaky in others but upfront hasn’t really done that well to provide adequate support to the right winger.
When Arsenal hosted Everton in the game that marked the club’s 125th anniversary, I can’t recall any time Djourou sent in a cross from the right hand side. Theo Walcott was more than a match for Leighton Baines but the game will be forever remembered for Robin van Persie’s “Van-tastic” finish that was more than enough to seal the points for Arsenal.
A new right back has to be signed to relieve Djourou of his services to say the least.
Lack of Service from the Flanks
Arsenal has played three matches (Manchester City, Aston Villa and Wolves) with its make-shift full backs and it’s obvious that no clear cut goalscoring chances have been provided from the full back positions. However, they’ve added solidity to Arsenal’s defensive play though.
Bacary Sagna and Andre Santos are full backs that maraud the flanks and they contribute immensely to Arsenal’s attacking play. Arsenal has to search for a new full back that will pick up were Sagna and Santos left off with quality crosses into the box as well as proper support for the wingers.
At this point in time, Andre Santos and Bacary Sagna are sure of their first team berths and it has led to a bit of complacency from Andre Santos at least. When Arsenal played Chelsea in that enthralling encounter that saw Robin van Persie smash in an impressive hattrick, Chelsea scored their third goal after a bit of sloppy play from Andre Santos.
The Brazilian full back dallied on Wojciech Szczesny’s simple throw and the buildup led to a brilliant Juan Mata shot that went past Szczesny to level the tie at 3-3. If Andre Santos played as if every game was his last, I’m sure that Arsenal wouldn’t have conceded such a cheap goal.
Arsenal needs to sign a left full back that will give Santos a run for his money because I’m sure that Kieran Gibbs will still spend more time in the physio room as the season progresses.
I can’t recall many right backs presently better than Sagna in world football with the exception of probably Dani Alves, Maicon and Sergi Ramos but Wenger needs to sign a right back that can deputize in Sagna’s stead when he needs a breather.
That’s supposed to be Carl Jenkinson’s job but…he’s out injured.
Feel free to share your comments on these reasons because it's quite a debatable topic.