As Arsenal fans continue to worry about the quality of our defence, the news that Dinos Mavropanos competed 71 minutes of the U23s 5-1 win over Man City this evening will be welcome.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Robbie Burton and Xavier Amaechi gave Freddie Ljungberg’s side a convincing win, and the return of the centre-half was a little bit of icing on the cake.
The Greek defender has been out action since the summer, picking up a groin injury in pre-season which was initially supposed to see him return in October. That date kept getting pushed back and having come back to first team training in the last few weeks, the next step was some competitive action.
Mavropanos, who did well overall, is replaced by Ballard in a pre-planned change.
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) January 14, 2019
A return to first team action is probably still a bit down the road, not least because of the calibre of opposition we face in the next few weeks, with crucial games against Chelsea and Man City, as well as Cardiff City whose dinosaur manager hates the rest of the world.
There’s also the fact that Mavropanos has only ever played three games of top flight football, two of which were meaningless end of season fixtures, and the other saw him sent off – so expecting him to come in and be the answer to our defensive issues is a bit much.
Still, if he can make a step up and push some of the others for a place, then that’s something we can all get behind.