Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen are obviously our first choice centre backs this season. When circumstances dictate John Djorou will step in and deputise and when even that is not possible Arsene will call on Alexandre Song to step in at centre back. Between the four of them there are less than 75 completed matches at centre back in the Premiership. These are not experienced options for a position, perhaps more than any other on the pitch, which requires experience.
Knowing when to press, when to step up, when to commit and when to drop deeper is related to experience. There is obviously a form of defending that is innate and a sense for positioning that can be learnt on the training ground but, for the most part, the more experience of matches at centre back you have then the better central defender you will be.
Every Arsenal fan who has browsed over our squad this season will have noticed that we are a centre back light. Always just a suspension or an injury away from a potential problem we all suspect that in one way or another this might end up derailing our campaign at some stage. The obvious and most pertinent question is that if we can see this, why can’t Wenger?
Unable to find a definitive answer (there is no outstanding young centre back coming through the ranks) we must conclude, somewhat loosely, that Wenger simply has sufficient faith in the quartet available to him, despite their inexperience. When faith is merely implied and counted as sufficient it is safe to say it is not absolute. A couple of central defensive injuries – or suspensions as the case may be – and Wenger himself will realise the problems he has contributed towards developing.
Thankfully, exactly such a scenario has occurred while the transfer window is still open. Koscielny is suspended for the next match. Looking at his options this week might Wenger take note of the fact that were some misfortune to strike on the training ground this week, and at some stage of the season it obviously will, he, and we, would be in a bit of a quandary. The Koscielny suspension has not quite forced his hand but surely alerted him to the fact that all Arsenal fans acknowledge. We need another centre back.
Should we sign another centre back this week the Koscielny suspension might just turn out to have been a blessing in disguise. Knowing Wenger as we do, though, we are hoping, not expecting.