Can Mathieu Debuchy Break Back into Arsenal’s Starting Eleven?

November 3, 2017 by   Filed under: Arsenal FC, Premier League

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy hasn’t had much luck since arriving at the Emirates with a number of setbacks preventing the Frenchman from establishing himself in the Gunners’ line-up. The 32-year-old appears to nearing match fitness once again, but is there a place for the club’s ‘forgotten man’ in the starting 11?

The former Newcastle player has endured a rotten run of luck with injuries since signing from the Magpies and his latest hamstring issue has kept him out of action for a number of months. He played just 16 minutes of Premier League football last season but has recently featured during the club’s extra-time victory over Norwich in the Carabao Cup.

Debuchy was also a surprise addition to a much-changed Arsenal side in the Europa League on October 18, with Wenger appearing to offer the French international another chance at the club. Earlier in 2017, he was told that he was free to join another side and was linked with a return to his native France but a move to high-flying Nice never materialised.

Following his recent comeback performance, Wenger praised the versatile defender, saying: “We are all very pleased for him here as he has gone through some difficult moments,” before later adding: “He’ll be a candidate to fight for the team places again.”

He faces stiff competition for his favoured right-back spot with Hector Bellerin holding down the position on a regular basis whilst Callum Chambers is on the verge of a return to first-team action. Praising his ability in the air, Wenger has hinted that Debuchy could be utilised as a centre-back in the future. Arsenal aren’t short of options in this area, however, with Shkodran Mustafi the latest player to pick up an injury and Rob Holding failing to impress this campaign, there may be an opening in the centre of the defence.

Arsenal fans will be hoping that Debuchy’s return to fitness can add some much-needed stability and experience to their back-line. Wenger’s side have been inconsistent throughout the opening two months of the season and they have shipped 13 goals in their opening ten matches, the third highest in the top half of the Premier League. Supporters were left feeling underwhelmed last season as their club missed out on a top four position for the first time in twenty years and they have been priced up at 6/4 in the football betting markets to bounce back this time around and cement their position in the Champions League spots.

Debuchy is into the final year of his contract in north London and unless he can prove his fitness throughout the remainder of the campaign, he is unlikely to be maintained by the club. However, the Frenchman will be hoping to get a run of games under his belt and prove an extremely useful utility player across the back-line for the side who desperately need some consistency in that department. Whilst he looked relatively assured in the Carabao Cup against Norwich, the 32-year-old undoubtedly still has the ability to perform in the Premier League and Wenger may give him the chance to prove his credentials over the busy festive period.


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