Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Wenger: Debuchy can challenge centre-backs

Arsene Wenger says he considers Mathieu Debuchy a bona fide centre-back option this season after the Frenchman was deployed in the position during the 2-1 win over Norwich City in the Carabao Cup.

The 32-year-old came through 120 minutes unscathed, his first game time at the Emirates since last November, and has been set the challenge of pushing Arsenal’s more established central defenders in the coming months.

“We are all very pleased for him here because he has gone through some very difficult moments with setbacks,” Wenger is quoted as saying in the Evening Standard.

”The fact that he got through 120 minutes the other night is a huge boost for him. He needs to recover now but from now on, he’ll be a candidate to fight for the team places again.”

Wenger added: “Mathieu is absolutely strong and determined as well. He’s a quiet character but a very strong one. I must say he’s 100 per cent a professional player. Everybody in the medical department just says he’s exceptional.

“Maybe his future is as a centre-back. He has the attributes because he’s very good in the air. You think he couldn’t play centre-back because he’s not tall, but if you look at the number of balls he wins in the air, it’s impressive.”

With Hector Bellerin holding down the right wing-back position and the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson given the duty in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, perhaps the boss is right to offer Debuchy a chance at redemption in a position where we’ve been a bit short recently. He’ll no doubt be looking to catch another club’s eye ahead of becoming a free agent in 2019…

If memory serves us correctly Debuchy once played as a centre-back in an away game at Liverpool a couple of years back, albeit when we played 4-4-2 rather than 3-5-2. He actually scored in that game and looked pretty solid despite us conceding twice to draw 2-2.


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Debuchy reborn


Waiting to see the dream back 3 of Kolasinac, Monreal, Debuchy.

Isaiah Rankin

Debuchy, Elneny, Eddie

Tom Gun

I know most will say Debuchy should play on the right of a back 3 but I think he should play on the left. Why?

“Pass Debuchy on the left hand side” Sing it with me now!

I’ll get my coat!


I think you have your answer there – we don’t want him to be passed on the left, he is better on the right where he is less likely to be passed.

But excellent try.




As well as CB, he’s an alternative to Hector right now.
V Swansea, Hector was nowhere near his best, and Wenger has a habit/myopic/obsession of playing players thro their bad spells, and the situation ending in tears………….Chambers/Holding being classic examples, who definitely had confidence issues as a result, having been overplayed whist not at their best.
Gives Hector a chance to get his hair cut as well (only joking)

Dave M

Hector was EVERYWHERE against Swansea. He may not have scored or assisted but he ran an absolutely miles, was very good defensively and heavily involved down the right. Guess he is the next foreign scapegoat…yawn


He wasn’t outstanding, and was playing against smaller clubs, however….
The guy deserves some credit for playing well. He’s been safe on the ball, fairly aggressive against the counter, good in the air, decisive with forward passing, and an all around solid choice. Fairly impressive given how little he’s played in 2 years. Given the 3 competitions the club is trying to win, that kind of depth is wholly necessary. One can only hope that those players outside the starting IX (EPL) can keep an eye on the big picture and remain mentally committed to contributing when and where needed.


More cynically, he of course could be trying to play himself out of the club. But if that means putting in similary strong shifts until he leaves that’s OK too.

Scott P

We’re going to need them focused to cope with those 2 men that get sent off every game 😉


Debuchy can be a genuine alternative to Monreal as the ‘attacking’ centre back of the three. The way Monreal pushes forward and joins the the midfield particularly against weaker teams is essential for that formation to work.

jack jack jack

I totally agree. The skills of a full back are so important for that role given how exposed the channels often are when the wing backs bomb forward. He’ll be used to covering that position and dealing with one-on-one situations, and his relative speed makes him a good option in our system where the central defender comes forward and the other two use their pace to provide cover and sweep up.


Debuchy can challenge the centre backs, Elneny however, can not.

Caped Gooner

At first my perception of this was ‘why are we not doing everything we can to re-establish him as a RWB for cover for Bellerin’ but after taking his injury record into account I think Wenger is right not to expose him to the vigorous fitness requirements to fill a RWB position especially with the attacking responsibilities we require from our wingbacks constantly needing to bomb up and down the flanks. As a CB I think it would allow him to be less mobile saving his legs for decisive moments in the game when he needs to take on an… Read more »


This would make sense if the squad had other better options for RWB. It doesnt right now though. Honestly, do we really want Reiss Nelson becoming a wing-back? I understand the argument that it might help in the development of the player but he was supposed to be a wing forward with attributes that are suited to playing in and around the box. How much is this really going to help him? Its a good short term solution when other CBs are injured. In the longer term though the squad has 6 CBs already (if you count Monreal) and only… Read more »

Isaiah Rankin

Regardless of what’s been and gone, not wishing the best for a player whose wages are paid by the club you support is kind of like hoping that the broken toaster you bought stays broken.

I hope this is a fresh start for Debuchy and he salvages something from his career. Otherwise, we need to find a new deputy right back to whip in delicious crosses slathered in Lurpak and marmite and occasionally marmalade for a bit of a weekend treat.

Mr. G

While his constant throwing his toys out the pram in the media a couple of years back seriously irked me, I genuinely feel sorry for him at this point. It suits both parties for him to get his career back on track. Hope he continues to play well when called upon, game time will be aplenty.


The same Debuchy who would rather bitch and moan then challenge for his place at Arsenal? Nah you’re alright thanks. Back up RB in Jan, please.


Wengerish: Debuchy can challenge centre-backs

Translation: Were running out of centre backs, again.


Haha exactly how I translated it. The Wengerish is strong in this one.




Debuchy played centre-back against Newcastle in December 2014 as well, alongside Mertesacker. As I recall, he did quite well.


“Maybe his future is as a centre-back”!!!

Are you kidding me, another future for Debuchy at 32, this must be a clone of the real Debuchy.


Desperate times call for desperate measures ?


Wouldn’t mind seeing Debuchy push for more game time. Seems he’s learned his lesson with bad mouthing the club and has been quiet for some time on that front. He was an absolute beast for us until he got murdered by that orc from Stoke.


Hopefully he can also cover at Right wingback.

OTOH, Chambers may also play there as he is a natural Rback as he was with Soton.

Debuchy can also cover right Cback like Monreal does on the left side.

More options the better.

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