When the news came out that Bacary Sagna would be unavailable for the North London Derby last week, the reaction from Arsenal fans was perhaps surprisingly muted, given the reputation the French right back has as amongst the best in the league in his position.
However Sagna has underperformed this season since returning from a long term injury, and with his comments off the pitch suggesting he might be preparing to leave the club in the near future, it might be worth handing Carl Jenkinson to starting spot in the last ten matches of the season.
Despite losing to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Jenkinson played well both defensively and going forward, where he used the space left by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who mostly moved infield to combat Arsenal's midfielders, to provide width to Arsenal's attacks.
At the back, Jenkinson seemed one of the more comfortable members of the defence in the now widely criticised high line, with the pace to cover his centre halves and enough discipline to not get pulled out of position by Bale and Sigurdsson's movement.
In contrast, perhaps Sagna's best performance of late has been at centre back, and with Per Mertescaker and Thomas Vermaelen also underperforming, Wenger could decide to move Sagna there more often, allowing Jenkinson to start on the right. This could mean an overall increase in the pace of the back four, although perhaps the biggest problem with the defence is a lack of help from the midfield, with Abou Diaby once again out injured.
Sagna has been a very good player for Arsenal, but Jenkinson looks in better form, and has committed his long term future to the club.
With Arsenal facing an uphill struggle to claim a Champions League place, they might be better off trusting the right back berth to the highly motivated Jenkinson, rather than the jaded Sagna.
image: © wonker