There is at least some bright spots for today after the last couple of sad days mulling over our deficiency against Blackburn. A player who has not kicked a football in anger since the season started, finally played his first game yesterday. He may not be an established player and probably is not even part of the Arsenal first team furniture yet, but I’m nonetheless still thrilled to see him back.
Emmanuel Frimpong completed his first 35 minutes of football since his knee ligaments injury, albeit via a Reserves match against Sunderland. As per usual with players coming back from long injuries, Arsenal take slow steps with them and it is no different with Frimpong. It is hard to say whether he would’ve played any part in the first team this season had he remained fit.
If we look back at the pre season, he did play a lot of games and excelled in most of ones which he featured. Of course, that is mainly due to the fact we were missing a couple of established first teamers who were out injured. Whilst he looks every inch a prospect, we must be patient with his progress. Defensive midfield is hardly the easiest of positions for youngster to break into. A position which requires a good reading of the game as well as good discipline to succeed in.
However, it is a role which Arsenal are short in personnel. In Frimpong, at least we have someone who is a natural player in that role. The same cannot be said of Abou Diaby or Denilson regardless of any statistics which could back them. Alex Song is currently the only player in this Arsenal squad who can be relied upon to do the job well. Francis Coquelin who is honing his skills on loan at Lorient in Ligue 1 is also another defensive midfielder to look out for in the near future.
That being said, I would not put my house on either of them coming good individually next season. We all know the Premier League is a different kettle of fish compared to the Reserves or even Ligue 1. But I’m in the opinion that together, they could still be pivotal for us. When Song is available, he gets the nod without any shadow of a doubt.
But if Song is not available, putting Frimpong and Coquelin together in midfield might not be such a bad idea. It gives us and extra man in the defensive role so no one single player would be completely outplayed. Of course, that reduces our attacking option slightly but given the situation, it could be a choice. Not forgetting there’s also Craig Eastmond, who himself is on loan at Millwall who definitely warrants a shout in that position as well.
The Champions League resumed yesterday with the quarterfinals match. The result only serve to show how far out of their depth Spuds are in this stage of the competition. You can argue that they lost because Peter Crouch was sent off but there’s no guarantee that the result would not have stayed the same even if they had 11 on the pitch. Former employee of Arsenal, Emmanuel Adebayor once again propensity to put Spuds to the sword with a 2 goal salvo. Not quite forgiven him for what happened previously but this surely helps.
The only other things of notice is the suspension of Wayne Rooney for 2 games following his swearing into camera in the West Ham game. Only one of those is for a league match but it could be important for us as well. Rooney may be off his game this season but slowly you can see him coming back into his groove and his hattrick and overall contribution on Saturday exhibits that. Together with Alex Ferguson’s touchline ban, Manchester United will be without 2 of their most talismanic figures around the pitch. At the moment, I’ll take what I can.