Posted on Friday, 30th September 2011 by Iain Culverhouse
Martin Keown believes that if an Arsenal midfielder needs to play in the centre defence then Alex Song is the man to do it, and after his performance on Wednesday night Olympiakos, I believe the former Gunner is absolutely right.
Keown said before the game:
‘He is strong and brave and has done it before, most notably against Barcelona in the Champions League a couple of seasons ago.’
‘Per Mertesacker will have to look after him and marshal him through the game.’
As it is, I don’t think Mertesacker marshalled him, I just think Song did really well in a position that although he is has played in the past it isn’t his natural position. I don’t recall one moment, apart from the goal, that we saw Song out of position and you cannot blame him for the goal because there were plenty of other players who should have been marking.
Although not an ideal solution to the problem, the Cameroon international proved that when called upon he can play in that position and it speaks volumes for Arsene Wenger’s confidence in Song that he was picked ahead of our natural central defenders.
Keown did raise a concern about the decision though:
‘I worry about whether he is explosively quick enough to deal with the change of pace some strikers will have. It is very repetitive playing centre half so that can take some adjustment – to curb his midfield instincts.’
Obviously you can’t say ‘yes it will work week in week out’ because it was just a one-off. Let’s just hope that Arsenal get their defensive problems resolved. However, I will say that I have more confidence in the pairing of Song and Mertesacker in the back than I do any other pairing available currently at Arsenal.
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