Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta says he has been really impressed by the form of full-backs Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson this season, according to Goal.
Gibbs and Jenkinson have been instrumental in the Gunner’s fine start to the campaign. Arsenal have only conceded two goals in their first five games in all competitions. The north London club’s defensive competency has been paramount to their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
Arteta, who himself has played a key holding role for Arsenal so far this season, was full of praise for the young duo, “I think they’ve been very consistent. I think Gibbs has been playing really well. I think he’s finding himself more comfortable going forward.”
The 22-year-old Gibbs is part of a long-line of highly talented left-backs that have played under manager Arsene Wenger. In recent years, Gibbs had been an understudy to Gael Clichy who left the club in 2011 to join champions Manchester City. However, despite Clichy’s departure, last season Gibbs only managed to play for the Gunners 20 times due to persistent injuries.
Despite this, Arteta believes that Gibbs has the raw talent to be successful in the red of Arsenal, “He’s rapid and can make a big difference. It’s tough for a wide man to defend [against] a full-back like him.”
Arteta, who joined the Gunners from Everton last season, also believes that Carl Jenkinson has deputised well in place of Bacary Sagna who is currently suffering from a reoccurrence of a leg injury, “Carl is finding himself more comfortable. He’s had four or five games under his belt, he’s done a whole pre-season with us and you can see he’s confident.”
Jenkinson has also added more to his game as an attacking threat, as Arteta eluded to, “Against Montpellier he put a brilliant cross in for Gervinho to score the goal. That’s what we need because we’re missing players. When you’re replacing someone like Bac [Sagna] it’s not easy because you’re under a lot of pressure. I think they’ve been really good.”
Like Arteta, Jenkinson joined Arsene Wenger’s side at the beginning of last season from Charlton Athletic. The 20-year-old failed to make an impact last season but is displaying a growing maturity and with the current form he is in, it is perhaps difficult to envisage Sagna retaining his place at right-back.