Patient Miquel answers Wenger’s call of need

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Ignasi Miquel is quite used by now to being asked to fill in during the most trying of circumstances. At the start of last season, for instance, the Spaniard, who is now in his fifth full campaign at the club, was thrust into the limelight against Liverpool in the Premier League following an untimely injury to Laurent Koscielny.

With Koscielny having again succumbed to injury in the warm-up against Sunderland yesterday, Andre Santos heading back to Brazil and Carl Jenkinson underlining his inexperience with two rash challenges that resulted in his dismissal, Miquel was again called upon in the top flight, with the 20 year old making two important clearances in the dying stages as a valiant Arsenal defence held on for victory at the Stadium of Light.

Miquel has played 14 times for the Arsenal first-team
Miquel has played 14 times for the Arsenal first-team

It was a welcome return to the Premier League for Miquel, who himself has suffered greatly with injury problems this season. Having seemingly been on the cusp of the first-team squad during last season, featuring four times in the Premier League, he was expected to push on this time around, particularly following Kyle Bartley’s departure to Swansea at the start of the campaign.

It has not exactly been plain sailing for the tall youngster, however, as despite featuring regularly for the U21s (he has now played over 50 times for the club at second-string level) and scoring his first senior goal in the Capital One Cup trouncing of Coventry City, he has struggled to command a place in the matchday squad, owing largely to Arsene Wenger’s decision to field strong sides in both domestic cup competitions this season.

Now, however, with Arsenal’s defensive resources severely stretched and with the club still in three competitions, Miquel could have a part to play, even if it is a peripheral one. Bacary Sagna was selected ahead of him at centre-back yesterday and the Frenchman excelled in that role, but Miquel is likely to start next weekend’s FA Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers and, should the injury problems with Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen persist, he could feature in further fixtures, too.

Things are, finally, starting to fall into place for Miquel to make his mark after Johan Djourou was shipped off on loan to Hannover for the rest of the campaign and with Wenger seemingly reluctant to use Sebastien Squillaci, who is out of contract at the end of June, other than in an emergency. Miquel will be hopeful, then, of receiving some game-time, but it is somewhat strange that he is yet to experience a loan spell of any kind since moving to England. Brighton were persistently linked with his signature, but eventually pursued other options instead and, at present, it seems as if he will remain at Emirates Stadium to provide first-team cover rather than developing his game elsewhere.

A temporary transfer may well be on the cards for the former Cornella player next season, and he will hope that such a move could be the final platform to propel him into the first-team picture at Arsenal. For now, though, it is very much a case of taking every chance as it comes for Ignasi Miquel.

 

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13 thoughts on “Patient Miquel answers Wenger’s call of need

    zorr0 has had enough! said:
    February 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Always makes me think of Pique at Man Utd. I like the boy, lack of pace is an issue, but that can be made up for with positional sense and reading of the game. Hopefully he can bulk up a bit too as he enters his early twenties. A loan next season and then see what he can do in 14/15.

    tariq said:
    February 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Always rated him, at CB as well as LB. A pity he just hasn’t found enough opportunities at the first team level. Let’s hope he grabs this chance and performs well, giving the squad some much-needed depth.

    Jimmy said:
    February 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I love his attitude when he plays but i just have a big nagging doubt as to whether he’s really good enough. As previously mentioned he’s fairly slow and totally one footed. In many ways a bit like Metersaker (who has done alright for himself). I suppose it’s always tempting to want a 6’3″ two footed defender who can do 100m in under 11 secs but those kind of players are few and far between. I hope he does make it personally.

      markhealy1111 said:
      February 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Agree with you he may not be good enough. On top of the speed and one footed issues, he is built like a toothpick. Couldn’t see him handling players like Anichebe, Adebayor, Felliani or other tanks that play in the prem.

      Wrenny said:
      February 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      The ‘complete’ defender is as rare as hen’s teeth, we should be looking at what Miquel is good at rather than try to pick holes in his game because every defender has weaknesses. He reads the game well, he’s good on the ball, he’s tall. He’s still 20 and will only get stronger. A lack of pace is only exposed if a defender is positionally poor, and technique can be developed throughout a career. Compare Theo’s first touch and close control at 20 to how it is now, at almost 24.

    bob said:
    February 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Jeorge talking of youth defenders, is there a posibility either Martin Angha or Jernade Meade will play a part against Blackburn because of the defensive injury problems at the moment?

      Edzy said:
      February 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      Jernade Meade is still out injured with ligament damage i believe.

    robl said:
    February 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Rodders was a one footed lanky streak when he broke through, as was Keown, and neither would have troubled Usain Bolt even on a bad day….

    Edzy said:
    February 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Miquel isn’t quick correct. Build like a toothpick correct. He needs to go to the gym asap and fill out his frame. He is the type of build of centre-back which forwards relish playing against.

    Wrenny said:
    February 11, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Lanky toothpick Miquel apparently weighs in at 85kg (193cm tall).

    Shawcross – 76kg (183cm)
    Huth – 80kg (191cm)
    Kompany – 85kg (190cm)
    Samba – 84kg (196cm)
    (taken from whoscored.com, whose stats come from Opta)

    Not that I understand the correlation between bulk and being a quality defender, or how Miquel packing on more muscle to lug around is going to be helpful to his already average pace.

    d$ said:
    February 11, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I haven’t seen him play a bad game for the first team. He is only 20 and he will fill out that wiry frame. I’ve said this a few times but CBs are very difficult to bring through the youth ranks because it is a position that requires a lot of judgement and this develops from experience – making mistakes and learning from them. Top clubs can afford to put young defenders who are prone to making those mistakes. I can only think of a few exceptions (John Terry, Puyol there are probably a few more) but most of the top team’s CBs cut their teeth at lesser teams and were brought in later on (when they were like 23 or 24).

    LSOE said:
    February 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I take it today’s u21 game is still on?

    bob said:
    February 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Toral’s had injury problems while at Arsenal so they’ve hindered his development,

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