On Sunday as Arsenal faced Aston Villa at the Emirates, it looked like Martin O’Neil’s side could quite possibly leave with a point but Wenger had other ideas as his side were chasing United and Chelsea trying to cut the points difference.
So with 56 minutes gone Wenger rolled the dice and it appears they came up 7 as his gamble in bringing on Fabregas paid off spectacularly. The Spaniard opened the scoring with a wonderful freekick before finishing an Arsenal counter attack to seal the points but in scoring his second Fabregas aggravated the hamstring injury that saw him start the game from the bench and with a figure of 3 weeks being banded around, who can really deputise for him?
Arsenal do not have a massive squad but what they do have is young talent in abundance that when called upon do tend to perform with Gibbs most recently stepping in to do a job in the absence of Clichy.
So who out of Merida, Wilshere and Ramsey would be the likely choice?
Fran Merida has followed a similar path to Cesc, joining the Gunners from Barcelona’s much touted youth academy. He has previously been on loan at Real Sociedad gaining first team experience, grabbing a goal and 6 assists in 14 appearances. At the start of this season he came close to joining Levante on loan buy the player Wenger described as “an absolutely amazing player” showed why Wenger was reluctant to let him leave with solid performances in the Carling Cup even scoring a screamer against Liverpool in the 4th round. Creative and technical like Cesc he is definitely an option.
Jack Wilshere has exploded onto the scene with much fanfare after capturing the imagination in the Emirates Cup with outstanding performance against Juventus and Real Madrid in 2008, he continued with good performances getting his first senior start and goals in that season’s Carling Cup. He has continued to grow as a player and now at just 17 can be called upon without the fear of being over awed, having already played in big competitions like the Champions League. His age does not match his talent as he plays like someone much older and this maturity is a key asset especially in the league.
But my choice of the 3 would hands down be Aaron Ramsey. Named as Arsenal’s potential answer to Paul Scholes I don’t see why he can’t ascend to such heights as he has time on his side. His range of passing is ridiculous for someone just 19 and the way he can control the tempo of a game is extremely impressive. His performance against Scotland earlier this year was enough to make me, as a United fan, sick to my stomach that we missed out on signing him.
He has already made a number of appearances for Arsenal in the league this term whilst grabbing 2 goals and came on for Fabregas after he went off against Villa. He is the closest of the three to forcing his way into a first team spot and rightly so, for a player so talented.
As shown on Sunday, Fabregas is such an important player to Arsenal. He can change any game with his passing and goal scoring efforts so to have him out will be a massive blow but I feel that Ramsey can lessen this if drafted in.