The season started with Gallas and Toure as our regular centre-backs. Senderos was dispatched to Milan to learn about defending and Wenger went out and bought Man Utd’s crock, Silvestre. Arsenal’s other centre back, Djourou was considered to be the fourth option.
Djourou spent the early part of last season on loan at Birmingham, where in
all honesty he did not set the place alight. He returned to cover for Toure who was at the African Nations Cup, but was injured in his first game back.
Djourou started the first game this season and performed well; in fact in the early part of the season in the games he played he was solid, good in the air and ensured we kept clean sheets.
The game that clinched Djourou’s position as our regular centre-back was the Chelsea game. Wenger dropped Silvestre and said he wanted someone who was good in the air, athletic and fast. Despite scoring an own-goal, the young Swiss defender proved to Wenger that if he is looking for a centre-back then Djourou is his man. He kept Anelka quiet for most of the game.
Djourou has gone from strength to strength proving to everyone that he is the tall, commanding centre back that we have crying out for. Wenger has picked Djourou to partner both Gallas and Toure and he has been comfortable with either of the two “veterans”, not only that the defence appears to be more solid with him in the team.
Djourou deserves to play at the back, he gives us the solidity we crave for, next season he will be an ever present in our team.
Arsenal have confirmed that both Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas will be out for around three weeks. Whilst some may look at this as a disaster, I for one think this is what the club needs.
The injury to Silvestre is the biggest blessing in disguise. When Fergie jettisons a player it is for a reason, and there has been no evidence this season to suggest that Silvestre is the answer to any of our answers. In fact as stated in my post “Silvestre the Weakest Link“, Silvestre’s appearances have coincided with some our worst defensive performances. his absence will allow Djourou to cement his position as our number one centre back.
The injury to Gallas is unfortunate, as he he has performed well since he lost the armband, but this injury will mean that Toure will be given the next few weeks to mend his relationship with Arsenal. A focused Toure is what we want, this man was a colossus during our invincible season and can be the same man again, he needs confidence, he needs to be loved and he needs to be wanted. Unless Arsene brings in another centre-back, the injury to Gallas has out an end to any transfer of Toure to Manchester City, if anything it could well be the leverage that we need to entice his brother Yaya Toure to the club.
Arsenal’s defence will be stronger by the end of January with these two giants at the heart of it.