Arsenal are finally looking at a decent defensive prospect in Carl Jenkinson at their right back after a long time. With Hector Bellerin owning that position for the past two seasons, Wenger had been scratching his head for quite some time now to find a backup for the young Spaniard.
Bellerin brings quite a lot to the table that makes him a quintessential asset of the team, but his burst of speed also makes him quite susceptible to injury. Carl Jenkinson, who returned to this match after a long injury, showed brilliant signs of his prowess that had prompted Wenger to sign him. He hadn’t played for Arsenal since May 2014 and his loan spell was unconvincing, to say the least.
Arsenal have always been criticised due to their lack of physicality at the back that exposes them way too much against teams like West Brom, who dominate the game physically. Keeping that in mind, Jenkinson’s performance was a clear pointer. The 24-year-old, who is famed for his fitness and engine might have just given Wenger what Arsenal were missing so long. Although his role in the attacking third needs to be sharper, it is expected to come with playing minutes.
It brings us to the next question. What now for Mathieu Debuchy?
Honestly, Mathieu Debuchy hasn’t been the best of replacements for Bellerin. The French full-back, whom Arsenal had brought in from Newcastle United in the 2014-15 season primarily to replace Bacary Sagna, had made little impact in the season he had arrived but has faded since then.
Was it because he was given the No. 2 jersey, the one worn earlier by Abou Diaby?
He made his competitive debut for Arsenal in their 3−0 victory over defending league champions Manchester City in the 2014 Community Shield. He then damaged his ankle ligaments near the end of a 2–2 draw against Manchester City in September 2014 and was ruled out for 3 months. He was then again ruled out for a similarly long spell after he went off injured against Stoke City with a dislocated shoulder. The run of injuries were never kind to him as it allowed Bellerin to grab the right back position by the scruff of its neck.
After he returned, he never really got the manager’s confidence since then. He pushed for a transfer and was sent on loan to Bordeaux last season. He has returned and has been more of a bench warmer. It’s unlikely that Debuchy will get consistent game time at Arsenal and with Jenkinson offering more, it’s likely that Debuchy will be sold in the near future.