Arsenal seem to have finally found the missing piece of the defensive puzzle. The signing of Mustafi so far looks to have plugged the hole created by numerous average defenders that Arsenal have had over the last few years.
The injuries to Mertesacker and Gabriel may have seemed like a major problem at the time, but this could have been the best thing to happen to Arsenal this season. It meant that Wenger was forced to buy. Mustafi now seems like a bargain, a snippet of the price paid for John Stones by Manchester City.
The injuries also meant that we got to see the other new centre back Rob Holding in action. He looks to be the real deal, lets just hope he can develop the way we all think he can. We have seen a few games with Mustafi and Koscielny now at centre back and they seem to have the early signs of what looks like a complementary partnership.
As a back five, Arsenal can now boast to be up there with the top premiership sides. I would say only Spurs can match us in terms of defensive quality, although we shade it with our strength in depth.
Hector Bellerin, Petr Cech and Nacho Monreal now make up the rest of the pretty solid defence. Having the odd defensive lapse is what has cost Arsenal in the past, lets hope the guys at the back can keep up the good performances.
With the injury to our first choice rightback (Debuchy) and the loan move away for Carl Jenkinson, we are now left with Hector Bellerin and Callum Chambers to play at rightback. It seems that Bellerin is currently ahead of Chambers in that role currently, but what is the longterm plan?
If fit Debuchy would be the first choice in this position. His experience and positional sense is invaluable. We have truly been robed of the best of him this season. So the next question is to who is the understudy.
Carl Jenkinson was the backup to Sagna for the last two seasons. He did not get much game time, but when he did he was pretty good. His strengths lie in his energy levels. His crossing is not to bad either. I feel Wenger sent him on loan this season to gain match experience. For West Ham he has become a real fans favourite, as he was with the Arsenal fans. We should see him back with Arsenal next season. Lets not forget he himself thinks his best position is at centre back.
Callum Chambers started the season on fire. He was our best defender until we played Swansea. It seems that he played more games than we would have liked him too because of injuries. Most people do say that his best position is centre back, I agree with this.
Hector Bellerin is the same age as Chambers and has really come to the party recently. On current form he can’t be dropped, but the question now is if he can last the pace of a long season? I do think a loan move away to a mid table premiership club would benefit him next season, especially if he is third choice for right back. I can see Bellerin moving into right midfield one day, due to his pace and excellent ball control.
There is space for all these players at Arsenal just not at right back. Carl Jenkinson is favourite to be sold next season, but I feel this would be a wrong move. He should be the backup to Debuchy, Chamber should be the 3rd or 4th choice centre back and Bellerin could move to a club like West Ham on a short term loan.