By Richard Clarke
The solution to Arsenal's problem position is close at hand.
Arsène Wenger used eight different players at left back last season due to long-term injuries to Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy. The former left the Club in August leaving the way open for the latter to take over the role permanently once he recovers his fitness. In his absence William Gallas, a centre half, and Justin Hoyte, a right back, have been sharing role this term.
Clichy has been named in the squad for the match against Watford on Saturday. He will not start the game but, for his manager, the 21-year-old's involvement after a nagging foot injury represents some sort of resolution to his problems on the portside of the defence.
"I am very keen to get an established player in that position," said Wenger at Friday's press conference. "I can play Gallas or Justin Hoyte at left back but it's not their favourite job. Hoyte is better on the right and Gallas is better in the centre. Gael is a real left back.
"But I have to be careful with him. He will not start against Watford because he's had three surgeries. I have to make sure he doesn't get injured again and I have to be patient with him."
Meanwhile another left back has signed professional forms. Armand Traore, 16, came to Arsenal from Monaco last season and has looked a real prospect.
"I hope he will be very quickly competitive for the first team because he has extremely strong and has real physical power," said Wenger. "He must improve tactically but he has all the rest. He is ready to play."13 Oct 2006