There were few positives to draw from Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool over the weekend, but one player’s performance provided a ray of light for Arsenal amidst the gloom.
Despite his sending off, Emmanuel Frimpong looked like the real deal and provided the physical approach that Arsenal have been sorely lacking. Could he provide the edge that Arsenal have been unable to regain since the departure of Patrick Viera?
There was a gaping void left in the Arsenal midfield after the departure of Viera, Gilberto filled the gap in centre midfield perfectly, but since then Arsenal have looked lacking in that department. Of course it is never going to be easy to replace a top player, but their lack of any suitable replacement in terms of the physical side of the game has hurt them over the years. Arsenal have lacked bite and the physical force necessary in the centre of the park to take them to the next level.
This is why Emanuel Frimpong’s performance over the weekend was such a breath of fresh air. Yes he was overexbuerant, and naive to get himself sent off, but he is still young and he will no doubt learn from his mistakes. Before his shocking tackle on Lucas he showed that he is just the sort of player Arsenal need. For his age, he is incredibly strong and he combines this with his technical skills, to dominate the centre of the park. He was Arsenal’s best player before his sending off, dominating the midfield, with his passing, distribution and tackling, and keeping Liverpool at bay.
This will be a learning curve from him, as he needs to work on his discipline and calm down slightly. However, his fiery nature could be a real asset if Arsenal and the player can learn to control it, he is exactly the hard man in the middle of the park that Arsenal need. He is ready to get stuck in, chase everything down and hassle everybody. He is not afraid of being vocal, which is something Arsenal don’t have anywhere else on the pitch.
It was encouraging that on his Premier League debut he was not daunted or overawed by the occasion or the opposition, and he will only learn from the experience. Many suggest that he is Arsenal’s defensive midfielder of the future, but should be thrust straight in ahead of Alex Song? Yes he is young, and inexperienced, but he will learn and Arsenal don’t really have a player like him in the side. He has more fight than Song and he is the type of player you need marshalling the centre of the park, breaking up play and making the transition between defence and attack.
Frimpong’s challenge on Lucas was reckless, and he did cross the line, but before that his aggressive and powerful play was highly encouraging, and he looked at home in the Arsenal midfield. He possesses vast potential, but it is important now for Arsenal to get the transition right. He would benefit from someone experienced to guide him through, but unfortunately Arsenal don’t really have that option with the departure of Cesc Fabregas. Frimpong will provide stiff competition with Song for the defensive midfield role, but going on Saturday’s performance, he should be starting. His combative and energetic play, passion, work rate, and hardened edge are just what Arsenal have been lacking.
Written by Lauren Rutter for FootballFancast.com.