Arsenal - A Glimpse into the Future of the Gunner's Defense?
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A Glimpse into the Future of the Gunner's Defense?

Amidst the stupendous siege that the Arsenal attack laid on Chris Kirkland's goal last night, another facet of the young Gooners play had me entranced in excitement. The Arsenal defense last night was nothing short of fabulous. Though they had some moments on long balls and heaving throw-in's where they looked just a tad out of sorts, that wrinkle will surely be ironed out with time. Fantastic tackles were being made all over the pitch, but no two players made more exquisite, ball winning tackles than Johan Djourou and Alexander Song.

Being the realist and cynic that I am, I just can not see any Arsenal youth player being able to displace either outside backs, in Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. The other two positions, however, are very much up for grabs in the coming years. Who should be starting at the centre back positions has been a hot topic throughout the Gooner blogosphere since Sol Campbell left. Now this article is not trying to imply that Johan and Alex should be starting every game this season, though looking at them as a long term option should be a much more realistic objective to argue. Both William Gallas and Kolo Toure are getting up there in years, for Arsenal standards of course, and possible replacements must be lined up. The pair of 21 year olds showed last night that they can be a perfect combo in the centre of the defense, as both have the speed, height, and physical presence required for the job, and with Djourou measuring up at 6 foot, 4 inches, he has the extra height that most Arsenal fans are shouting for.

Though both players actually see themselves as defensive midfielders, I believe that Arsene has a long term plan for them elsewhere. With Djourou recently signing a massive six year contract and Song already on a long term deal, Le Boss has no intention of letting these two prospects go. They very well could be the perfect solution for Arsenal's defensive frailties of late, and with Arsenal fans everywhere demanding for a new, towering centre back be brought in, we may not have to after all. What do you all think?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 12 2008

Time: 9:00AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Heheh I loved how you said the kids' "wrinkle will surely be ironed out with time". Hey one question cos I couldn't watch the entire game: was there some sort of division of labour between the CB's, e.g. tall Johan to deal with long balls and crosses, Alex to get the second ball? Or were they pretty much sharing all the defensive work in the middle? Who did they mark at set-pieces?
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12/11/2008 06:57:00

I thought Johan is definately pushing to be a first team regular. I still fell Alex's best position is in the midfield. I think the calmness under pressure that Johan shows is a good influence on whoever he plays next to! To be fair, last night I thought it was a tougher examination for young Gavin and Kieran, as most of Wigans attack were focused from the wings.
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12/11/2008 09:12:00

Both Gallas' and Silvestre's contracts expire at the end of next season so we'll need to see some defenders making progress. Both Djourou and Song did well last night and after an uncertain start, as Wigan targetted the left side, Gibbs settled into his role quite well too.
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12/11/2008 09:23:00

I've already said that for some time, but the good thing is that Wenger is actually letting him go for a change.
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12/11/2008 09:30:00

the Song lad looked rather good.......
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12/11/2008 09:48:00

i always knew johan was class, not that this of any relevance, but in my simulation manager game (FM 2008) johann is bloody pretty sure their progress are calculated by algorithm values relevant to their current skill, soo..since im a science man...i think theres a posibility that johan in real life will mirror the johan on my macbook. =)
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12/11/2008 10:18:00

Interesting to see the left back position when/if Traore, Boetehlo, Gibbs perhaps even Emmanuel-Thomas challenge Gael for his place. RB position is not so highly contested although Sagna, Eboue, and youngsters Ayling (from what I have seen from him) and Hoyte (ultimately a CB) should do. With Silvestre and Gallas going, Djourou, Toure (-15 lbs.), Song, and one or two high quality players emerging from Nordtveit, Hoyte, Bartley and a should give us depth for the coming years. And then there is Senderos.
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12/11/2008 10:48:00

*(and a)
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12/11/2008 10:49:00

Two serious questions-1/ If they played your 1st team 5 times do you think they would win any of the games? 2/ Where do you think they would finish in the prem? They looked very good last night...W****** lol
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12/11/2008 10:51:00

I think they could get a result against the first team, but not beat them. The lads aren't cloggers like Stoke and the first team plays like a dream against any team that doesn't kick us up in the air and with their superior experience (lol Cesc being experienced at 21) i think they would shade it, but it would be fascinating to watch.
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12/11/2008 11:27:00

Woddy, good questions! It's a bit easier for them to get up for these one off games. Most players are in the reserves, and they don't play at last nights level each week (as is understandable from lads that age). I suppose that probably answers both questions! That's not meant to take anything away from them, but let's not get carried away!
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12/11/2008 11:28:00

Quite right navydave. We know how they can perform when they go in front. How would they react if they went a goal or two down? It is a just a knockout competition - Barnsley knocking Liverpool and Chelsea out of the FA cup last season didn't make them world beaters. Don't take anything away from them though they played terrifically last night but the good thing is that they still have plenty to prove. Should be exciting to watch them develop.
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12/11/2008 11:34:00

if the kids get to the final...wenger could play a game between the first teamers and the kids and who ever wins could play in the final
fran merida
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12/11/2008 13:52:00

If Wenger even thinks about putting any of our first teamers into the mix I will be greatly disappointed. Stupid as this sounds, that was my greatest disappointment last season. The kids fought hard and then Wenger flinched and put senior players in against Sp*rs. The kids then looked unsure of themselves and the seniors looked uninterested. Win or lose I want the kids to take this run as far as they can all on their own.
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12/11/2008 15:42:00

I completely agree with smithdj74, AW should have stuck with kids last year. There is a unity within that group and I feel that would be disrupted by introducing the senior players. I can't understand why he changed his plan last year against the spuds, maybe he thought the game meant more to the fans because of the opposition. I couldn't understand the commentator on Sky going on about AW sticking with the kids thorughout the competition last year?! He must have a poor memory.
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12/11/2008 18:38:00

Wenger has acknowledged that he made a mistake by doing that last season, and I feel that he will stick with this team all the way through.
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12/11/2008 19:37:00

As for the defenders, I rate Djourou highly and I even think he will challenge for the first team this season itself. He looked quite good paired with Gallas against WBA. As for Song, I have some doubts. There are moments of laziness, where he drops his concentration where better sides will make him pay. I remember early in the 2nd half, he gave away the ball cheaply on the edge of the box and that could have cost us. If he can improve that aspect, he can be a good CB.
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12/11/2008 19:39:00

As with the rest of the team, the defenders all had a good game as well as the clean sheet shows.
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13/11/2008 14:26:00


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