Arsenal fans will be tuned to their televisions on Thursday afternoon as Colombia take on the Ivory Coast in Brasilia. Many will be watching to catch their first glimpse of summer target and potential singing, Serge Aurier.
You can forgive any fans for not catching his superb performance against Japan in their opening group game, as it didn’t kick-off till 2 a.m. UK time, and the fourth game of an action packed Saturday was a little too much for most of the nation, especially after England had lost in Manaus.
With his side 1-0 down, Aurier picked up the attacking baton and charged down the right-flank at will. The equaliser from Wilfried Bony came from an Aurier cross, and then moments later it was another perfect ball in from the Toulouse man that found the head of Gervinho to make the score 2-1.
Defensively he was strong, and difficult to break down, but when his team needed it, he provided the perfect attacking threat. Something he has been doing for the last few years in Ligue 1. There is little doubt that Arsenal will have had someone monitoring Aurier’s performance, and they would have been impressed.
This season, under Alain Casanova, he has played in a variety of positions. He started as a normal right-back and he showed his desire and work rate week in, week out. Rarely caught out of position, he showed he could attack high up the pitch, but also recover back to help his fellow defenders.
Over the past 18 months his game has developed even further. Toulouse looked most comfortable playing 3-5-2 and Aurier has been active all over the park, at times it would seem like he was playing every position on the pitch. He would be picked either as one of the three central-defenders or the right-wing-back. Wherever he is asked to play, he has been superb.
For Sabri Lamouchi, Aurier is playing in his most comfortable role. He is given license to get forward in a back four, and this is the perfect audition to show Arsenal and their fans just how good he can be.
Colombia will provide a much stiffer test than Japan did. If the jury is still out, then a storming performance against the likes of James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado will put him to the top of Arsenal’s wish list.