With Arsenal’s title challenge looking ever stronger by the week, the Gunners are performing admirably. Seven wins in a row have propelled Arsenal within touching distance of Manchester United. Veteran defender Sol Campbell has been called upon probably more so than manager Arsene Wenger would like with the 35 yr old appearing seven times since his signing in January. It appears that recent events regarding injuries and suspension could make Sol Campbell a decisive factor in Arsenal’s trophy hunt.
Despite reports of an easier run in for Arsenal, they are going to need no injuries or suspensions in order to maintain the pace with Manchester United and Chelsea. Unfortunately they do have them. At the back. Sol Campbell success as a signing is a difficult one to dissect. Arguments can be made that the towering centre back offers height, strength and a wise old head at the back for Arsenal. Some much needed experience to guide younger players. On the flipside though Campbell is not as quick as he once was and does not have the legs to keep up. With Thomas Vermaelen facing up to a one match ban after failing in his appeal against his sending off at the weekend and William Gallas having a lengthy spell on the sidelines with Calf problems; Sol Campbell is really going to be a key figure for Arsenal.
The general impression I have from Arsenal fans is that whilst Sol Campbell has been a shrewd piece of business by the club, a lack of trust remains. One fan I spoke to outside the Emirates said ‘Sol has been a good signing for us; his experience has helped our backline massively.’ Yet when I asked if he would play Sol Campbell for the Premier League match Vermaelen will miss. Furthermore even the prospect of Campbell starting against Barcelona for the injured Gallas. I received a damning reply. ‘No, I wouldn’t start him; I would switch Alex Song to the back.’ So here lies the contradiction and lack of trust in the aging former England international. An announcement of his credentials this season, yet fans worry about him still.
This is a vibe I received from numerous Arsenal fans’ I spoke to. The prospect of Sol Campbell playing many games in the club’s Premier League run in and a likely starting berth against Barcelona has the fans worried. I would be worried too, because whilst I think Sol does offer something to Arsenal this season, I don’t trust him either
By placing Alex Song at centre back would appease a lot of the Arsenal faithful, but solving one problem that in turn creates another is not really a viable option for the Gunners. By switching Alex Song to the back Arsenal have the problem of replacing a vital cog in their engine room. Denilson or Abou Diaby cannot perform the job to the standard of Song. Arsene Wenger has a real conundrum on his hands. It could be the most importance selection choice of the season.
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