Is Song the future?

With Cesc Fabregas returning to the side, either one of the three of Song, Denilson and Diaby will have to battle to partner the Arsenal skipper but is Song the best fit?

Arsenal are a fantastically gifted team with one of the best attacking midfields in the world. We have however missed the protection in midfield that lets our creative attacking midfielders go and play whilst being safe in the knowledge that the backline is protected.

All the best teams in the world have a midfielder of this type, Milan have Gattuso , Barcelona have Yaya and Inter have Cambiasso. Flamini used to play this position to an extent but he wasn’t always as imposing as he should have been.

We have known for quite a while that we are missing a strong defensive midfielder which has lead to a huge amount of speculation linking us with various players, the most persistent probably being Yaya Toure. This realisation has led many, including myself, to ask why we haven’t signed a defensive midfielder?

Could we already have seen the solution to our problems in an Arsenal shirt already? Could Alex Song be the man to step up and play this role? It could be a bit premature to claim that Alex Song is the solution to Arsenals problem defensive midfield role and that he is the missing piece in the Arsenal midfield, but his recent performances in that role have been fantastic and he seems to give the midfield more solidity than they had previously.

Denilson and Diaby have both tried to fill this role with Denilson appearing too lightweight but positionally sound and Diaby being too keen to get forward and too frivolous in possession but a great winner of the ball. Song appears to fit the bill and the 21 year old looks to grow in stature and confidence every game he plays.

The attacking options we have now are simply fantastic especially with Theo being back in the team and Arshavin looking like he has played with us for years, but we still need that stability in midfield that only  good defensive midfielder brings. Many will see the idea of a sitting defensive midfielder in the Arsernal team as hindering Arsenals creativity but I feel it would actually help it by giving the attacking midfielders freedom to play while someone else looks after things at the back.

Guest Written by Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.

If you want to write for Arsenal Column, please email: arsenalcolumn[at]


17 thoughts on “Is Song the future?

  1. denilson is the answer, he has developed into a solid defensive shield, even when cesc has been out song has been more attacking that denilson.

    1. I would agree would you 100%. Diaby has all the attributes to be a strong defensive midfielder, central midfielder and attacking midfielder. Denilson is the most ready to partner Cesc at the moment however and in the future also. Just needs to be a tad more expansive and demanding of the ball. Song is slightly behind the two but is building aling nicely but needs to make his presence felt a bit more rather than seem like a reverse water-carrier.

  2. Song has been playing very well recently. He did not play so well earlier in the season. I think the reason for his improvement is that the shackles have been removed and he has been told to go forward as well as defend. It would be a shame to see him return to his old form if he is again asked to defend only.

    I also think the idea of midfielders who are specialist attack or defence is a bad idea. Midfielders should be able to do both depending on the situation. Song can do both, as can Fabregas. I agree with your assessment of Diaby and Denilson – I like them both, but both have weaknesses.

  3. none of them are yet the answers to our problem. If we look to our rivals in the premier and cl we have the weakest DM.
    mu – hargreevs and carrick
    pool – mascherano and alonso
    chel$$$$ – essien
    barça – yaya and busquet
    bayern – bommel and altintop
    villareal – senna

    So we need a better one to partner cesc or nasri if cesc leaves in the summer.
    Song, Denilson and Diaby will improve in the future but for now you can´t compare them to the names above.
    And for slugboy A team must have a miedfielder that defends much more than the one that is distribuing the ball. all the sucessfull teams have one so i don´t believe is such a bad idea since we have a very strong attacking players.

  4. Song is the answer without question to fill the defensive role. However the skill and potential of Diaby is fantastic and we need to continue to develop him with regualar time in the first team. The issue with Denilson is that he manages to get lost in game way too often. Also, I believe Song is the better defensive midfielder and Diaby is without question better going forward, than Denilson is. Don’t get me wrong, I love the heart of Denilson and he has filled a role for us this year with all the injuries, but I don’t see him impact games the way I wish he would. I think we could get good money for him right now and I believe we should sell him this summer.

  5. I think you’re off the mark, Cesar….Song (21), Ramsey (18) have the potential to be two of the best ever DM’s in the game. They’re probably 2 years away from peak, but Song is already one of the best in EPL. I think too that Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby has the potential to be one of the best ever Arsenal mid-field trios….but time will tell. One thing, I don’t miss Flamini (peaked last year and does not have the breadth of talent of ANY of the above). Nor do I miss Hleb, both Nasri and Arshavin have much more expansive talents and game winning potential. I wouldn’t trade our youngsters for any of the old lags you mention. Particularly not the manure duo. I don’t rate either.

  6. Interesting debate, incidentally in my latest post I have put Song in the team to face City.

    I think Song has definitely improved and it is starting to show. We don’t really know what to make of the trinity that is Song, Denilson and Diaby. Diaby clearly seems to be a box to box player, he seems to be more passive in personality compared to Vieira but yes he is definitely more better suited in an attacking role. Denilson likes to do his job on the quiet.

    Now Song was really lightweight when he arrived at Arsenal. He had a really good loan spell at Charlton where he nearly kept them up. Since then he has been trained to be more defensive minded and it shows at times when he tries to find sideways pass after pass. I just think sometimes he is a bit lacking in the anticipation area.

  7. Guys the biggest q here is in the title what do we regard as the future?
    Given a lengthy run in the first team I would have no doubt Song would become that player.
    But lengthy learning curves aren’t accepted by most arsenal fans esp those around me in the north upper!
    Diaby – I believe could be the best of the lot
    Denilson – gilberto in the making.

    The future is bright but as this season has shown it could be a painful journey.

    I only go to see Eboue

  8. Song SHOULD be the future but he isn’t, he’s the present. He’s a good player but he’s not the world class player we need if we expect to mimic the Vieira/gilberto dominance. The sheer fact is that no one fears him so to speak. Cesc lets his football do his talking. I think defenses know what he can do and that plays into their minds, but Song doesn’t psychologically impose himself. One of Vieira’s great attributes was letting you know he was there physically and vocally. Gilberto didn’t let spectators know he was there but he let players know. He was a master at the late-in-the-game foul. He knew how to foul players in the last 20-30 minutes of the game to throw the opposing rhythm off. A harmless free kick here, a harmless free kick there just interrupted their passing and frustrated players mentally. Song doesn’t have either of these. He’s a good substitute and someone you can rely on if your starter is injured but he himself is no starter if the team expects to achieve that lost greatness. Song though does something that Denilson didn’t, stay back. His sort of laid back style allows him to just play deep so that Cesc doesn’t have too much worries about tracking back. My gripe with song though is that he is inconsitent and his touch is still underdeveloped.

  9. Is this article a late April fool’s day joke?

    Alexandre Song is without doubt or reservation the worst “footballer” at Arsenal FC. He can’t tackle, can’t make a forward pass, can’t make a decent run, can’t beat a man, can’t shoot for sh*t…need I go on.

    Denílson hasn’t shown enough and Diaby has legs made out of plastercine. The only options are Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Johannes Djourou or for Wenger to go out and spend good money on Lorik Cana or another mental, combative midfielder.

  10. Song is decent but he’s too slow, that will only get worse with time. Also, a very average passer.

    Denilson is decent, but too slow and not tough enough.

    Diaby hates to play defense, no tackling sense whatsoever, can never be an enforcer(his idol is zola, enough said, anyone caught mentioning diaby as the next vieira should be laughed at esp. wenger).

    Ramsey, Bischoff, Cocquelin, etc, etc, are either attacking midfielders not enforcers and Cocquelin is as usual too young by about five years for any serious consideraton.

    In summation, we don’t have a dm worthy of the shirt.

  11. we talk about not having a decent dm, but think hard. Vieira to me was a box to box player, Gilberto the same. And then we had players like Grimaldi, Parlour and Edu. I think for Grimaldi, read Song. You can have utility players. They aren’t outstanding but they do a job. Every top team has that player. Utd have Fletcher, Pool have Lucas, and Chelsea have Mikel who I don’t really rate at all.

  12. The answer is Song, Denilson and Diaby. Can they dominate the midfield? I think so. Fabregas’ days at Arsenal are numbered.



  13. Song is very much the future. But Denilson, Diaby and Song all of are more or less the same age. This means that someone will have to move on. Right now, Denilson seems to be doing fantastically well. I think he is the man who should be partnering Cesc right now. I dont think that a commanding midfielder is what is needed. Denilson has done well to break down many attacks without having to make a massive challenge. Which is great to see. Personally, I feel Denilson has more to offer in that Defensive midfield option.

    All this said, Song is improving fast. His football sense for one has improved massively this season. In the start of the season , all he did was chase the ball around. His passing has also improved.But he needs some more time on the pitch.With all the players coming back to fitness it will be interesting to see how Wenger fits all of them into his plans. He will be top top class. But for now, Denilson is the man for the job.

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