Arsenal Welcome ‘New’ Right-Back Replacement
Arsenal will face Stoke City on Sunday with both their first and second choice right-backs out with injuries. With the sides defensive record being as it is this season, this isn’t the best situation for Arsene Wenger to find himself in. However, the…
Arsenal will face Stoke City on Sunday with both their first and second choice right-backs out with injuries. With the sides defensive record being as it is this season, this isn’t the best situation for Arsene Wenger to find himself in. However, there is a solution.
Carl Jenkinson joined Bacary Sagna on the treatment table with a problem which will rule the 19 year-old out for around “two to three weeks,” and while it may be billed as an “injury crisis,” Johan Djourou sees it differently. The Swiss international, who is naturally a centre back, is ready and willing to step into the unfamiliar and challenging role which has been left temporarily vacant by Jenkinson.
Arsenal’s summer signing, Per Mertesacker, played alongside Laurent Koscielny on Wednesday for the clubs Champions League group game against Marseille in which Jenkinson picked up his knee injury. Djourou came off the bench to replace the youngster, and helped to keep Wojciech Szczęsny’s clean-sheet, as well as assisting Ramsey’s late goal – winning a valuable three points in Europe in the process, and the 24 year-old is ready to do it again against Stoke – as long as he gets to play football. He said:
“I am a centre-back first … I love my game, I love playing football and when I can play, it’s a relief. So if I have to play right-back to help the team, then I will do it. It worked out against Marseille because I played the final ball for the goal. But I just want to play football.”
“I have played a few times before at right-back and it’s a completely different game. When you play centre-back you can see the whole game in front of you but when you’re on the wing, you have to adjust a little bit. When you are used to something and then you to move, it’s something else. But I’m a player who can play in different positions.”
It is easy to forget that Djourou has been at Arsenal for almost a decade. He joined the Arsenal Academy back in 2002 and made his first senior appearance in a League Cup win over Everton in 2004. After a short loan period with Birmingham City, he returned to Arsenal and gradually began to cement a first team place until suffering a serious knee injury in 2009 requiring surgery and leaving him out on the sidelines for a long while.
However, when Vermaelen picked up his injury at the start of last season, Djourou capitalized and began to play regularly, putting in some very solid and impressive performances. His season was then interrupted again by a dislocated shoulder suffered against Manchester United, and it was then when Arsenal’s season spiralled out of control.
It seems the side are only now recovering from the poor form from last season, and so whatever Djourou can do to make up for lost time is welcome. For now he can be Arsenal’s ‘new’ right-back, but lets hope that doesn’t mean he is condemned to inevitable injury because of it.
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