Djourou embraces the view from right-back


The giant claret-coloured sign on the banking at Stade Vélodrome on Wednesday night, proclaiming "Come on you Irons", was not the only surprising banner at Marseilles' stadium. Hoisted on the Arsenal end was the call, "We want Eboué back." This reference to Emmanuel Eboué, who moved to Turkish club Galatasaray in the summer after a mixed six years at Arsenal, could hardly have imbued Carl Jenkinson with confidence. It took on greater significance, however, when Bacary Sagna's understudy limped off with a knee injury leaving Arsenal without a recognised right-back.

In the short term this proved a blessing in disguise for Johan Djourou, the centre-half who filled in on the flank and provided the cross from which Aaron Ramsey clinched Arsenal's 1-0 win. In the medium term, however, with Jenkinson's knee injury expected to rule him out of the weekend at least, when Stoke's Matthew Etherington is in opposition, the absence of a specialist right-back could be problematic.

Djourou hopes he will ensure it is not. "I am a centre-back first but I'm a player who can play in different positions," he said after the Champions League victory. "If I have to play right-back to help the team then I will do it. It's a completely different game. When you play centre-back you can see the whole game in front of you, when you're on the wing you have to adjust a little. I played there before. In 2008 I played in games against Portsmouth and Bolton there. It worked out in Marseilles because I played the final ball for the goal."

If that does not sound overly confident perhaps the memory of his exposure at left-back at Ewood Park in Arsenal's 4-3 defeat last month is too fresh. However, it might be worth him trying to cement a place at full-back. With Per Mertesacker joining, and Laurent Koscielny, who had one of his best games for Arsenal in Marseilles, also ahead of Djourou in the pecking order, the Swiss will be Arsenal's fourth choice central defender when Thomas Vermaelen returns to full fitness.

Having experienced several injuries himself in recent years Djourou added, with feeling: "I just want to play. I love playing football and when I can play it's a relief."

Djourou added that Arsenal would draw confidence from their win in Provence, and a rare clean sheet. "We played a good game and looked solid," he said. "It was good to win in the last minute. It shows that we keep fighting until the end. We showed a lot of character."

The goalscorer highlighted the contribution of Arsenal's oft-criticised back four. Ramsey said: "I felt they were magnificent. It's been a bit harsh blaming the defence as we could have defended better as a team in recent games." He added: "We've not had the greatest of starts but hopefully now we've turned a bit of a corner and we're getting a few wins on the bounce. The confidence is returning."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk