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Bacary Sagna could return in this match.
The full-back positions were targeted by Aston Villa in the December encounter. The positions were manned by Francis Coquelin on the right and by Thomas Vermaelen on the left.
Coquelin had a torrid time against Charles N'Zogbia. Vermaelen tends to be too narrow due to his natural inclination as a central defender.
Manchester’s first goal was caused by faulty positioning in the two full-back positions. Both Johan Djorou and Vermaelen were too narrow.
It was Vermaelen who failed to check the run of Antonio Valencia, who tucked home United’s goal. But it was Djorou who was too narrow, allowing Ryan Giggs to run wide and measure his cross.
Bacary Sagna is likely to return from injury in this match.
He should bring the natural dimension of a full-back to the position, which includes creating width when Arsenal are under attack to force the attacking winger away from goal and the ability to tackle the attacking winger or full-back.
Furthermore, his overlapping instincts should set Walcott free to terrorize Villa’s defense.
Being his first game after injury, if he plays, Sagna may not play the full 90 minutes of the game. Nico Yennaris impressed in the United game. He should provide a good option and cover for the position.
Vermaelen may still be required to cover for the left-back position, although Coquelin is available for the match.
In the Fulham and QPR matches, Coquelin impressed via his intelligent positioning further up the pitch, forcing the opposing wingers back into their own half.
Based on these two matches, I’d prefer Coquelin over Vermaelen, even though the latter has played for Belgium at the left-back position.
Nevertheless, Vermaelen is not a good left-back. One can only hope that he provides a descent performance in the match, a performance adequate enough to prevent Arsenal from conceding silly goals.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are likely to be the central pair in the defense.