By Emma Sanders
Mathieu Debuchy was named in the Arsenal starting line-up for the first time in a year – and Gunners fans reacted with surprise on Twitter.
The 31-year-old has not featured for the club since November 2015 in a 3-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb and replaces Carl Jenkinson in the starting XI against Bournemouth on Sunday.
Debuchy’s last Premier League appearance was against Tottenham in the north London derby last November after he was sent out on loan to French club Bordeaux.
He made just nine Ligue 1 appearances for the club during his four-month loan stint before returning to Arsenal in the summer, where he featured in the pre-season campaign.
Debuchy has been out-of-favour this season due to Hector Bellerin’s excellent form but, following his injury, Debuchy has struggled to get in the starting XI ahead of Jenkinson.
The Frenchman has made just 22 first team appearances since joining for £12 million from Newcastle in 2014 and it will be only his 13th league start for the club on Sunday afternoon.
Welcome back, @MatDebuchy 👊
It's the defender's first start for us in 370 days – and we're hoping he can build on this strike pic.twitter.com/MvNtOMGyDy
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 27, 2016
He scored for the Gunners in their under-23s clash against Tottenham last week and it seems Arsene Wenger is prepared to give him another chance to fight for his position.
He’s been hit with a few injury problems in recent seasons so many Arsenal fans were pleased to see him return, though some were nervous about his lack of first team action.
Here is a selection of the messages on Twitter:
We are in a place where Debuchy starting is a positive thing.
— MJ (@mj_afc) November 27, 2016
If today goes anything like last time a Héctor injury gave Debuchy games he'll be absolute shite then crow about playing time when dropped.
— Michael Keshani (@MichaelKeshani) November 27, 2016
Jenkinson was so bad that he had to be dropped eventually. Debuchy is better than him if he gets his head right
— Sach (@SarriesKid10) November 27, 2016
@Arsenal Debuchy is really technical and also very fast
— Olivier (@OlivierKGooner) November 27, 2016
— Mr Jerà (@JeraZW) November 27, 2016
@Arsenal Debuchy Ballon D'Or needed
— Marvin (@MarvinFunkyMan) November 27, 2016
@Arsenal Debunchy????? Oh lord that's gonna to be funny
— rita 💣 (@ritasnunes10) November 27, 2016
@Arsenal Good to see Ox and Xhaka starting . Carl not even in the squad . I hope he is alright . Debuchy returns . Warm welcome to him .
— Swarit Sohaard (@SSohaard) November 27, 2016
In other Arsenal news, this is why Olivier Giroud should have been handed a start against Bournemouth.