Versatile Song back in defence – another sign of an irreplaceable player

With Vermaelen, Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci out of the Olympiacos game through minor but unwelcome injury woes, Wenger has been forced to deploy the ever-dependable Alex Song at centre-back, a position in which he performed well during his early Arsenal days. Though this may not be an ideal situation for Wenger, the Frenchman cannot argue that Song will perform well, arguably better than Djourou or Koscielny have in recent matches.

His composure on the ball will make for a fortifying change to the backline. Although Frimpong will provide similarly robust energy in the place of Song, the former cannot compete with the latter in terms of vision and newfound attacking prowess.

Many will disagree, but I see Alex Song as a potential classic attacking midfielder, a number 10 in the centre of the park dictating the charge. His undeniable ability in creating chances and his occasional piece of flair would suit him and Arsenal just fine. In what has proved to be a strong last two seasons in terms of goal scoring, the Cameroonian grabbed five in 2010-11 and last weekend’s stunning strike makes it six. In such an attacking role, his shooting and capability of finding space would need to be looked at, but those factors aside, it could work.

Wherever Alex Song plays, though, he is a rare species among footballers. Similarly to Lionel Messi, he very rarely complains about poor decisions made or reckless challenges on him, bar perhaps the Manchester United game last season, in which he and Wayne Rooney exchanged shoves. Despite this, Song has clearly grown up remarkably fast regardless of his relatively young age of 24.

It is a fact that Song is the perfect example of a player that Arsenal simply cannot afford to let go for a long while yet.

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