Do we need to buy a right back? By SV
Following the news that Bacary Sagna will be out until the end of August (at least), there has been much confusion surrounding that right back slot. The natural fill-in for Bac is, obviously, Carl Jenkinson, but his recent performances (especially the one against City) have raised many question about his ability to cover effectively. Our other options are Francis Coquelin and Nico Yennaris, and some people think that we need to bring in another defender altogether. This article will look at all of these possibilities.
We’ll start off with Jenkinson, shall we? Jenkinson has, in my opinion, shown that he has the ability to cut it for us in the long term. He’s athletic, good technically and (best of all) a born and raised Arsenal fan. However, he is not yet the finished article and can be naïve with his positioning, and I have seen him dive into tackles on occasion. These are problems that often occur with inexperienced defenders and can be resolved with work on the training ground and more game time. But that won’t help much in the immediate future, and so I would be quite concerned to see him start on August 18th.
Our other two back-ups in that position are both midfielders by trade, but have played at right-back for us over the 11/12 campaign. Nico Yennaris had a very successful League debut against United and managed to do what Djourou couldn’t: keep Nani in check. The fact that Wenger subbed off an established first team player – against United, mark you – in favour of an unproven youngster, indicates that Yennaris clearly has something in him. However, that debut was his only League game for the rest of the season and so we can’t really know for sure how he will perform on a regular basis. So that’s him out, for me.
We come now to a man who I think is the answer: Francis Coquelin. I reckon this lad has a big future ahead of him. Despite being a defensive midfielder, he served with distinction in both full-back positions over the course of the campaign. His successful adaptation showed that he has a good ‘footballing brain’ and his defensive abilities are, I think, very sound. Some people are unconvinced with him, as he has slipped on occasion, but I maintain that these small slips are nothing compared with the solidity of his overall performances.
I would finally mention the last option, which is to buy a new defender. I admit that there is an argument to be made for this, as our defence was shaky at times last season. But I just do not think that a transfer can be justified. We have three top-drawer centre-backs (despite what the media says), have two decent left-backs and have the league’s most consistent right back. Yes, another signing would have been useful last season but last season’s scenario was extremely improbable. In football, you cannot prepare for every eventuality. The fact is that if we dish out for a top class player now, he will, more likely than not, spend the vast majority of his time warming the bench.
In conclusion, my preferred choice for that right-back position would be Coquelin, due to his sterling performances last season and his strong defensive abilities. I am, however, willing to be challenged on this.
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