Jenkinson paves the way for a Sagna exit

Carl Jenkinson has made it very easy for Bacary Sagna to leave Arsenal if he wants to, following his performance against Bayern Munich.

Carl Jenkinson was one of Arsenal’s best players in the second leg against Bayern Munich last night, which means Arsenal now shouldn’t be afraid to axe Bacary Sagna this summer.

The 21-year-old right back played with a maturity way beyond his years as he was faced with Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben switching flanks at will as they each tried to get the better of him.

What was most impressive about Jenkinson’s performance was his work ethic and the responsibility he showed in high pressure situations.

He worked his socks off up and down the right of the Arsenal side, showing great fitness and attitude as he got forward to create some extra width in attack, before getting back to form the solid back four.

He did this throughout the match and he did it consistently, which is one of the main worries relating to his game. He’s always been capable of a solid 90 minutes but he’s now doing it regularly when he’s selected.

He also seems to be reading situations a lot better than ever before. This was perfectly demonstrated when Robben went through and goal and he flew over from right back to try and put some pressure on the winger, because he’s aware of the lack of pace in the centre of Arsenal’s defence.

He’s better than Sagna when it comes to reading how the back four is developing, which is another reason to let Sagna walk away. He tucked in superbly when Arsenal were under pressure through the middle and he did his very best to show Bayern’s wide man down towards the corner flag.

It would have been a very big worry for Arsene Wenger because while Jenkinson has always been a good player, he would have worried about his ability to perform in big matches at a similar level to Sagna.

He doesn’t have the naïve timing that you would expect from a 21-year-old defender either. He knows precisely when to dive in to try and win the ball and when to back off and let an opponent have some extra space, to give himself a better chance of coping in a positional sense.

It was one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt and as far as the club is concerned, it’s more of the same please.

Arsenal fans, will he be first choice right back next season?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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