This season promises to be one of the most important for Arsenal as they plan to end the four-year trophy drought. One of the players who I believe this season’s title aspirations could rely on is Emmanuel Ebouè. Football has evolved into game where to be successful you must have a world-class squad, with virtually two world-class players in every position, Manchester United and Barcelona are prime examples of this notion.
In Arsenal's case we possess a world-class starting line up, but the squad as a whole is not. Yes there are a few players on the bench who are at the same level of the starting 11, all I can name is Nasri, Rosicky, (I believe Arshavin and Walcott will start) Ebouè and possibly Bendtner, as Van Persie and Eduardo will be the first choice strike partnership.
I know that many of you will disagree with placing Ebouè at the level of Sagna, but the truth is, Ebouè is a world-class wing back. Joining the club in 2004, Ebouè was mainly a reserve player, but an injury to Lauren in the 2005-2006 season allowed him to cement the right-back slot. Ebouè was immense in both the Premier League and Champions League, being one of the driving forces in the club’s road to the final in Paris. Ebouè won Arsenal the free kick from which Sol Campbell scored.
From these immense performances Ebouè was shortlisted as defender of the year in Europe alongside Carles Puyol (who won the award). However from this meteoric rise to being considered one of the best right-backs in world football, injuries restricted Ebouè to replicating his form. He could only show minimal flashes of brilliance, such as the game against Manchester United where Arsenal won 2-1.
The arrival of Bacary Sagna caused Ebouè to be placed on the right wing where he struggled to excel, whilst Sagna excelled Ebouè floundered and wasted goal-scoring opportunities, relegating Ebouè to the bench. 2008-2009 got even worse when he was sent off in the North London derby, booed by Arsenal fans, and could not even hold down a first team spot.
Ebouè now wants to take the easy option and quit the club for Fiorentina or Atletico Madrid. However he should stay and repay the faith of Le Boss, who has unwavering belief in his ability.
The solution for Ebouè is to follow Jon O’shea’s example, who himself was tipped to be Dennis Irwin’s replacement and did so for a season only to be usurped by the superior Patrice Evra. O’shea has shown patience and maturity, which Ebouè has struggled to show, this seasons’ North London Derby at White Hart Lane comes to mind.
Jon O’shea has played in every outfield position for Manchester United; where his patience and maturity has been rewarded, as he started in this season’s Champions League Final at his natural position, full back. O’shea is a player who makes smart decisions, whilst Ebouè will make immature decisions, if Ebouè combined his quality with sensible decisions he would be one of Arsenal’s most productive players.
There is a fine line between brilliance and insanity; Ebouè seems to waver on the latter with a wild challenge or shot on goal instead of passing to a teammate in space. The quality is there, now Ebouè must take the road of redemption to prove this.