Udinese Preview: Defensive leader could inspire Arsenal to brighter future
Wednesday, 24th Aug 2011 17:27
Amongst the negativity that has surrounded the club in recent weeks, one player has stood up and proved his class.
Thomas Vermaelen has all of the attributes that you would look for in a centre back apart from height. Yet against Andy Carroll on Saturday, Vermaelen was able to out-jump and out-play the giant striker throughout the 90 minutes. It was only once we went down to ten men that Vermaelen's defence looked like it could be breached. Wenger will wonder whether Vermaelen's injury cost him the chance of keeping Nasri and Fabregas this summer as we would surely have finished the season more strongly than we did.
Unfortunately both players have now left the club but new fan favourite Emmanuel Frimpong summed up the defiant mood in the Arsenal camp when Jack Wilshere wished Samir Nasri well on Twitter, he respond with 'pfff come on Jack'. Frimpong could be one of the new driving forces in this Arsenal team and his character and desire combined with Wilshere will be a match to however many millions our rivals are willing to spend on more established players. In the absence of Wilshere tonight, he could combine with Song to provide a very solid base for our midfield.
In defence Gibbs and Koscielny have been ruled out but Djourou should be fit to partner Vermaelen and Sagna filled in well at left on the weekend which will leave our only inexperienced player as Carl Jenkinson at right back. Further forward Gervinho, van Persie and Walcott could provide a dangerous forward line with Ramsey just behind attempting to craft the chances that Fabregas and Nasri used to create.
Tonight is a huge game for Arsenal and despite the result on Saturday, there were some very promising signs in the character of the squad if not the depth. A determined and loyal crop of players are emerging at our club and if they can secure qualification, Wenger will be able to supplement the squad with enough quality to ensure that we have a bright future. If not, Arsenal fans may be forced to summon more patience as we watch our club struggle to compete with the unlimited wealth which is being pumped into the Premier League.
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Photo: Action Images
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