Song’s Cameroon crash out of African Cup of Nations but back-up is still needed

Despite beating Congo 3-2 last night, Alex Song’s Cameroon missed out on African Cup of Nations qualification, coming second in their group to Senegal.

This is undoubtedly excellent news for Wenger, who has seen Song perform brilliantly this season as one of the team’s most consistent players.

However, with Frimpong potentially in the frame to join the Ghana squad – who have qualified as long as they beat Sudan – the Gunners will surely need some sort of back-up for Song, especially if the defensive injury woes continue and he is forced to be deployed along the backline again. Lucas Bilgia is one name that has been mentioned this week, as is Esteban Granero.

Gervinho’s Ivory Coast have, as expected, finished top of their group and are sailing through to the tournament, but I do not see this as a huge problem with the emergence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and the potentially indispensable Park ready to replace him.

With difficult games against Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland – as well as an encounter with Manchester United at the Emirates – having just the one defensive midfielder will surely prove to be not enough. Despite Gazidis almost promising that no money will be spent over the winter transfer window, the risk of injuries could mean having to play Song in defence and the likes of Coquelin or Diaby in midfield for these massive games (although all games this season will be considered tricky). These have undoubtedly proved that they are excellent players, but are they prepared for that sort of pressure?

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