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Friday, 26 October 2012

Arsenal's left back dilemma: who should start against QPR?

In the absence of Kieran Gibbs at left back, there is room for debate as to who should be his replacement.

Andre Santos has had two consecutively poor performances, at fault for Grant Holt's goal for Norwich and Jan Huntelaar's for Schalke. Both were due to lapses in concentration and perhaps lack of natural defensive instinct, failing to step up with the rest of his defence and thus playing the strikers onside.

Now, does Arsene Wenger keep faith in Santos? He's been a liability recently but he is our sole specialist (heh) left back in Gibbs' absence - and one we paid over £7million for. 

One has to worry though that against the pace of QPR's wingers, the likes of Junior Hoillet and Shaun Wright-Phillips, married with the probable counter-attacking game the Hoops will play against us, Santos will struggle. 

He will leave space in behind due to his natural inclination to go forward and poor positional sense, and I just don't see him matching those attackers for speed. 

Alternatively, Ignasi Miquel could be deployed at left back. As I said yesterday, this is probably my preferred option. The Spaniard is a natural defender, tall, disciplined and relatively quick. He has impressed whenever called upon and would certainly add some solidity to our back four. 

There is also of course Thomas Vermaelen. To be honest the thought of him at centre half against Zamora - which wasn't pretty at times last year - is enough to persuade me that he should start at left back. Not many strikers bully Vermaelen, but Zamora did exactly that at Loftus Road last season. 

The skipper has said he does not like playing at full back, but he is adequate enough in this position to fill in during Gibbs' absence.

What this would also allow is a centre back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker - arguably our strongest partnership. 

Anyway, regardless of who plays it is a very important game. Anything other than three points and I'd predict some fairly vociferous criticism from portions of the crowd towards the team and the boss.

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Up The Arsenal.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Reuben

    What a great blog - there's some fantastic stuff here! It’s a shame that you haven’t written in a while! If you would still like to write the occasional article on Arsenal, we would love for you to share your opinions on a site where the stories are written by fans. It’s less pressure than maintaining your own blog! You can write about what you want when you want.

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