Saturday, 11 September 2010

Arsenal v Bolton: It's a big match for - Sebastien Squillaci

With Thomas Vermaelen out of the squad through injury for the visit of Bolton to the Grove, Arsene Wenger will hand a debut to our new summer signing Sebastien Squillaci.

The 30-year-old defender was part of the France World Cup squad in South Africa and played in the opening match with the host nation.

Since then he has been limited to a 90-minute Reserve team outing against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday evening.

He infamously asked to be left out of the Sevilla side which played Braga in the Champions League qualifier on the day Arsenal made a bid for him so he wasn't cup tied in the Champions League.

So when he walks on to the pitch at the Grove at 3pm, it will be his first competitive game of the season.

What can we expect of him?
From reading and listening to everything he's said since he joined the club, his attitude is 100% spot on. He knows what is required from him and as an international defender who's played in the Champions League for his previous clubs, I don't think he'll let anyone down.

Arsene Wenger has brought someone to the club with pedigree. I'm sure the manager would have wanted to blood his new charge with a couple of substitute appearances with the first team prior to a full debut but as that is not the case, the manager will have no qualms in throwing him in against a physical side like Bolton.

In his pre-match press conference, the manager did not seem at all concerned with the selection of Squillaci and I'm sure he will stand up to the challenge of Kevin Davies et al.

The player himself said after his Reserve match on Tuesday:
"For sure I will need a bit of time to adapt. But I know about English football because I have played against some of the clubs in the Champions League. It is very physical in this league and I like that.
"It is true I don't speak very good English at the moment but I am picking up all the important words. And yes, I am taking lessons as well. I think the more I play the better my English will become.
"It is a very big club at every level. I am very happy to be at such a big club like Arsenal and it is up to me to make the most of being here."
It will be important for Squillaci to marshall the defence alongside Laurent Koscielny. Manuel Almunia will also play an important part in us keeping a clean sheet and his communication with the four Frenchmen in front of him will be key to us not conceding.

At 6'1" tall, Squillaci has the aerial ability and must not be bullied by Kevin Davies. I expect the Frenchman to slot into Vermaelen's left hand central defensive berth and come toe to toe with Davies very early on.

I'm sure we're in for an impressive debut from the Frenchman.

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