How Good Are Our Defensive Replacements?
Having lost Gallas for the season, Almunia and Clichy for three weeks we are now without Djourou for how long we do not know. What are options and how did the replacements fare on Saturday?
Fabianski had a very shaky game against Wigan. He should have done better with Mido’s goal, he only managed to help it on its way into the net when he should have turned it around the post. He later came out for a cross hand dropped it, but thankfully there was nobody following up. In the second half he was caught in no-mans land when Mido headed over the goalkeeper only for Gibbs to clear the ball off the line. He needs to have a far better game against Villarreal and Chelsea otherwise our quest for silverware will be over at the hands of the Pole.
Gibbs had good game going forward, having a shot and a great cross that Bendtner failed to convert. Defensively he was up against a tricky customer in Valencia and apart from the moment that his did not head the ball back with sufficient pace, he was able to keep Valencia quiet. As the game Chelsea on Saturday.
Finally, we come to Mikael Silvestre, my bête noire. Silvestre scored a vital goal for us on Saturday and credit must be given to him, however at the other end of the pitch he does not instil any faith. Several times his decision-making left us exposed and it was Toure and Gibbs who had to come to his rescue. It was his bad judgement of the bounce that allowed Mido to head the ball over Fabianski. Either Silvestre must make a dramatic about turn in his defensive form at Arsenal or we could be rueing the day we signed him.
Arsene does have two other options at centre-back. Bacary Sagna or Alexandre Song could both partner Kolo Toure. With Wenger switching to a 4-4-2 formation in the second half against Wigan, this means that Cesc drops back and will be partnered by either Denilson or Song. This formation can free-up Song to play at centre-back. The alternative is to switch Eboue to right back and Sagna to centre half. With Sagna’s recent performances at right back not being his best, it might be a way of giving Eboue a chance to re-establish himself as the right back.
Whatever Wenger decides, we need the replacements to be on top of their game for the next three matches, or we could end up with a very frustrating end to the season.