Arsenal defence making “basic errors” says Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn’s damning verdict on our defence by NS

Tonight, I had the pleasure of Nigel Winterburn answering my email on TV. I am most proud. Basically, it was about our defence. I asked him to make a comeback for the Bayern game. Earlier in the show, Nigel made some brilliant points.

He said that the big problem with our defence is that BOTH full backs go forward at the same time. He said that you leave yourself wide open when you lose possession and he is correct. He also said that both our centre halves drop off, and most teams play against Arsenal with one striker.

What happens is they give space to the attacker (Sturridge in the game I’ve just watched again) to turn around and run at them. Our full backs leave space by being too far forward and it quickly becomes a 2 vs 2 or worse. He said that YOU MUST have one CB dropping off and one pressing and that the CB’s should be doing this. I got the feeling that Nige was annoyed with these basic errors.

Regarding the full backs, he said that if the play develops down the left, the right back must drop back and vice-versa. When the play transfers to the other side, the full back on the other side of play should drop back. He said leaving two defenders exposed AT ANY TIME during open play is asking for trouble.

I watched the game again, with this in mind.

He is so right!

How can Wenger/Bould (he may have no say to be fair) not see this?

LET”S GET THE BASICS RIGHT!

Neil

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49 thoughts on “Arsenal defence making “basic errors” says Winterburn

  1. dave

    wenger is trying to play barca football, but we don’t have the midfield to press and win the ball back immediately. we need a def strategy that works for us, not trying to mimic another team

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  2. israel-gunner

    Let’s hope the new fullback will be great. And for this(defence mistake) one problem is WE DON’T HAVE REAL DM.this left the defenders open easy to attack.

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  3. Sharkseven

    Let Enjoy Our New Singing Party With Nacho!!!!!
    top Player,Good Pace,Good Crosser, Better Left Back Than The Fatty Santos.Good Competiton For Gibbo.

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  4. A Goonersville Citizen

    Thus far, if you pay attention to Arsenal at its attacking finest, our midfield and attackers move around all the time and make it hard for opposing defenders to track them down. This forces teams to commit more men in defending, and play a counter-attacking game. Because they get used to having the ball more than the opposition, Arsenal players often lose focus & quickly become positionally disoriented when met with a sudden counter-attack. Our players are seen merely scampering back, but not scampering to plug holes.

    Defensively, we also just need more determination and conviction to our tackling in general. Even if we’re not running back to squash a counter, our defense seems to be too flat-footed in general. The opposition easily creates shots off our not-so-tight defending.

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  5. Acon

    I am among the many disappointed fans. I was expecting a lot more than that in this transfer window. If it werent for santos appearances, i believe we wouldnt get simply anyone ! The board and manager fail to realise that arsenal is not the model team it was 4 or 5 years ago. We CANNOT compete to top4 with the current squad, we need reinforcement from other players, and improvement in the current players. And i fear that the club will become what liverpool has become in the last 3-4 years… Shame… And i really love the club

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  6. jon

    Wenger is not somebody who puts premium on defending, that’s why we concede cheap goals all the time. We are constantly unorganized. Even former players have stated that Wenger just doesn’t work on defense in training all that much and it shows.
    He had great individual defenders in the past with Vieira as a DM. That’s not the case anymore, we have been a poor defensive team ever since Vieira left in 2005.
    So in 8 years Wenger has not been able to solve our defense. Crazy!!

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  7. kamal

    I always said that defence is vital to win titles. I’ll start with sagna, he’s been off his game this season, he slipped for the fist goal against liverpool and the mata goal he also was at fault
    Mertesacker does stupid mistakes and he is not that good on the ball, i feel he shud be second choice behind koshielny who i rate highly
    Vermaelen was also at fault for suarez goal he miskicked his clearance,,god knows what has happened to him, he was one of the best CD in the league for the past years
    Gibbs is great, the only problem is his injury record, NOW with nacho we shud be fine
    I WILL NOT TALK ABOUT SANTOS,ABSOLUTE DISGRACE TO ARSENAL

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  8. VM

    Between, I think Nacho was a good buy. He’s edging 27 and he is exactly the right person to mould Gibbs to the future. Being a spaniard, his attacking prowess going upfront will be valuable and his tracking back also for Malaga was good. Can’t wait to see him and podolski run riot with Stoke. A must win game!

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  9. silva

    i agree with that content,but also there is bad positioning and poor marking.sometime you will see the wide gap between the 4 backs.also mildfielders are too slow to come back and help defenders.

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  10. Denis my true name

    Do wenger knows about that basic fullback defending. I think wenger know. But he takes a risk (a gamble), by believing his team ball retention is good. So we will have more passing option to stretch the opponent defense. That’s why he opts for arteta instead of buying a ball getter but don’t have good ball retention ability. The same as Barca that sometimes left busquets with pique and puyol at the back. With Alex and alba out in the frontline.

    And I think that is the foremost reason he doesn’t buy another midfield. Again he is gambling that his midfield will gell. So he doesn’t change the composition of midfield that much. If it works the trio of jack, santi and areta were almost unplayable. But when the connection is bad like in some games. We were exposed pretty badly. And tthe results were the shambolic defense we saw at home with Liverpool.

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  11. T!to

    I completely agree with Winterburn’s view about our defence. Another pundit’s view I agree strongly with is that of former skipper Tony Adams. During his pre-game analysis against Liverpool he had a view that our team didn’t have the correct balance of attack and defence.
    We have too many attack minded players, especially in midfield. Our full backs are wingers, our CB’s are WAY too adventurous and we don’t have a player protecting our back line.
    Arteta and Ramsey aren’t CDM’s period, they don’t protect the defence. Furthermore, they both lack pace and size, thus we are always caught by the transission to our detriment as was the case against livepool.

    What’s truly astonishing to me is that the whole PL and the whole of europe can read our game plan from miles away and we (Wenger) don’t seem bothered by that, we just continue doing the same damn thing…game after game, season after season and there’s no end in sight!!
    Einstein described madness as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
    By that definition of madness I think its safe to say we all know who seems to have lost the plot.

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  12. JW simply awesome

    Per mertasacker is too slow. henderson just sidestepped him easily and was through on goal.

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  13. Braaf

    Wenger invented barca football and is trying to get it going in the current squad.

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  14. Sank

    The most productive signings of wenger in many years
    SANTI CAZORLA
    LUKAS PODOLSKI
    OLIVER GIROUD
    NACHO MONREAL

    all gunners have gone mad. how many players do we need to buy.

    all above are quality signings and are in prime age.

    those calling for a DM, we never play with a dm and just look at our options for 3 spots

    wilshere – will play
    cazorla – will play

    if we get a DM, what about
    arteta
    diaby
    rosicky
    ox
    ramsey
    coquilan
    frimpong
    we have got a lot of quality midfielders in academy like
    eisfeld
    aneke
    olsson
    toral
    jebb
    and many more.

    NO ONE LIKES TO SIT ON BENCH.

    May be we need a back up striker like david villa and well also a defender, it can be sorted in summer.

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  15. nikhil

    The Nacho Man” is indeed a quality signing. You have to give it to Wenger here for signing a top player. But is anyone noticing a trend here. When France were dominating world football, we only bought in French internationals, who were winning silverware for us left, right and centre. Now that Spain is the world leader, we are looking to bring in Spanish internationals, who hopefully will have the same effect as the French did last time around. Don’t write Wenger off just yet. He may have something up his sleeve come this summer.

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  16. Charlie

    Wenger has long been a believer in the philosophy that the best form of defense is attack. When you see the team steamrolling Liverpool, Chelsea and West Ham you think it works but unfortunately for more than half of each of those games the attacking game wasn’t working. When you are set up to control the game giving all players freedom to roam around and yet you don’t dominate posession it ends up simply being disorganised. I can see what Arsene wants, as a perfectionist, he wants a team that plays as we have seen they can for a full 90 minutes which is why he refuses to formulate a defensive back-up plan for when things aren’t going so well. It’s probably also the reason why he isn’t playing with a dedicated defensive midfielder. It reminds me of what a friend said who is 6th Dan Black belt in Karate. He said the worst thing you can do when going for a Dan is to back away from your opponent, the judges always give credit to the more aggressive fighter. This seems to be the philosophy that Arsene takes onto the football pitch, rather than sit back absorbing pressure you should push forward to take back the initiative. The result is a team that when they’re good they’re very very good but when they’re bad they’re rubbish. Obviously none of this really excuses the basic errors that Winterburn highlighted except that one way to take the initiative is to push both full backs up and use the extra man.

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  17. Braaf

    @ Nikhil I think France were dominating football because they were already arsenal players at the time. The news papers read “Arsenal win the World Cup”.

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  18. Hafiz Rahman

    @ Sank

    agreed with Sank….no one likes to sit on the bench….just ask Giroud and Pod to sit on the bench regularly….

    they will pack their bags and leave…..tell that to Carzola tooo esp with competition in Spain squad so tight….

    he will pack up and leave….

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  19. i love arsenal

    Why did wenger wait until transfer deadline only buy monreal. If gibbs did not get injury, then wenger would still buy monreal ? The low quality santos will continue to appeared on the bench. So , it was consider lucky that gibbs got injury .

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  20. nikhil

    @braaf: Only Emmanuel Petit was a regular in that squad. Vieira was used as a sub. Euro 2000 was when the Arsenal dominated and the likes of Vieira, Henry, Pires and Wiltord ruled the roost. And we all know what sn impact this quartet had on the EPL. :-)

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  21. Hafiz Rahman

    @ i love arsenal

    one possible reason is to avoid tapping and of coz to give others a chance to step up…..

    if Arsenal were to deal with Monreal in early Jan, City or Roman will move in with 30million and 500k per week offer….or Malaga may have extra time to consider other offers as well…

    dont forget other clubs like to intercept Arsenal players….

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  22. fortune adam

    i pity arsenal.as a fan,i pray we finish amongst the top four as usual,but as a football follower,it is going to be difficult or not possible in short

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  23. Pierrot

    We also don’t press well as a team. Whenever the opposing team gets the ball in their own half, our midfield and forward players should already start pressuring to get the ball back. Instead we just backtrack and let them run at us. Ironically teams will press us tightly to deny the space for our fluid passing, that’s why we found it very hard especially against the smaller teams like Norwich and Swansea.

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  24. Reddb10

    Everybody on here and Nigel winterburn have noted very basic errors to the way we defend.
    How come wenger hasn’t?

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  25. John Legend

    Even Barca rarely attack with both their fullback together. How are we going to make Wenger and or Bould change this silly mentality by force???

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  26. John

    Basic mistakes because Wenger does not let Bould work with the Defense. It’s an ongoing rift between the two. Trust me if Bouldie was give his Lions Share of the defensive work; this wouldn’t happen.

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  27. Charlie

    You have to laugh at how wrong the press were. Some won’t see it as funny because they wanted the rumours to be true but after the club were linked with about 20 players the one that signs, as usual is someone that nobody in the media predicted. You would think, when they donate so many column inches to rumours, that they would get it right once in a while.

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  28. Jeff

    Pressure, cover and balance are what he is talking about. We lack balance or what is also known as the third defender. He is absolutely correct.

    Having said that… Our goals conceded are not caused by this in my opinion. We are making basic coordination errors. Like Sagna simply falling over, followed by verms missing a simple clearance, followed by a mis kick by Ramsey and then a lack of courage as mertesaker turns his back on the ball inside the box as if he is afraid to take one in the face.

    We need to see our players with the courage shown by carragher when he took that shot for poldi that knocked the wind out of him and could have broken a rib. If I was wenger, I would make our defenders line up in a wall while poldi and santi practice free kicks for a few hours. Have them hit it straight at the wall any time someone flinches. Solve that problem real quick

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  29. Jeff

    Sank and hafiz

    Well said. The most logical, clear thinking and intelligent posts on here.

    Some people just don’t understand. It’s the exact reason wenger isn’t signing a world class 4th choice CB. because no world class CB is going to sit on the bench. Per, verms are obviously very good CBs or they wouldn’t have the caps they do. Kos is also very good for a 3rd choice. And dj is actually a decent 4th choice. He was happy to be a 4th choice and was actually a good defender when he played the majority of the season a couple years back. But in the end, even he wanted to leave due to lack of playing time.

    We need a big, solid mid who is defensive minded and can also play at cb when needed. Something like song really but I think we were correct in selling him. He was average when we signed him. Wenger can produce another one in frimpong

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  30. Aussie Dave

    Nacho Nacho Man
    I wanna be a Nacho Man
    Nacho Nacho Man
    I wanna be a Nacho.

    You gotta love the Village People!

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  31. Charlie

    If Winterburn, Adams and most fans can see what is wrong you can be sure Steve Bould can see it. Even if he couldn’t his old mate Nigel would call him up and ask him about it. I’m sure Arsene Wenger sees it too. If you asked Arsene Wenger about it directly I think I know what he’d say. “The goal came because we gave the ball away in a dangerous area. Then we were struggling.”. That’s how he sees it, in order to attack with complete freedom you must sacrifice defensive discipline and you must not give the ball away. This is what makes the flowing attacking play possible but in my opinion, and the opinion of almost everyone, this approach doesn’t work. It might work if you had a complete squad of world class technical players but Arsenal don’t, no team does, not even Barcelona have 22 world class players. I am sure that Arsene and Steve Bould have had some serious arguments about this because I am sure Steve Bould doesn’t share Arsenes’ philosophy for free attacking football.

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  32. apc

    why is winterburn not involved at arsenal?? even as a coach of the young lads. when he speaks i always listen im sure the youth teams would to. great player he was

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  33. nast

    Mr winterburn i dont think its the defence,coz the ball to get to the defenders it goes through the dm,we need a dm,arteta cant do the job look at the game we had diaby aginst liverpool at anfiled.we need DM full stop

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  34. Uche Edochie

    Lessons in defending for an arsenal manager who does not like to defend. Well, i look at all this differently. Our game has always been based on keeping the ball and outscoring the opponent. That is what we do well and it works brilliantly when you have very sharp strikers like rvp and henri. That is why the collapse of this villa deal will come back to rape us big time. At the beginning of the season, we were very defensive. It worked. We kept clean sheets but struggled to go forward. So we dropped a lot of points while not conceding goals. Wenger did not like that so he put an end to the bould influence we were all talking about. So steve bould does nothing now but to keep wenger company.

    I think that if nacho is any good, things will get better. The recovery of arteta also helps because he is our most defensive minded non defender. The odd good game from an inform diaby can help too because while ramsey has done better in a deeper holding role, he still cannot defend and that was part of what cost us the first goal. Also, had sagna not slipped and fallen, liverpool would not have scored that goal. Well, it is always one thing or another, isnt it?

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  35. oh.to.be.a.gunner.

    bouldy as much as wenger are to blame for this rubbish defence tactics. if we dont have the man power to execute…then get some in and do it fast. the blame goes all the way from the players through to the board !!! God help us for top four finish….COYG !!!

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  36. 2gunsUp

    I’m tired of people saying we need to buy a dmf and buy a cb. What we need to do is learn how to defend. The defending is pants. All they have to do is stick there foot out, its not hard. The way they try to defend is pathetic. They don’t even know how to press ane close down.they just follow the man on the ball. Alen hansen showed it against liverpool. The only 1 who seems to know what his doing is jack.

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  37. Trueascanbe

    Don’t matter who is second in charge…Wenger is a dictator. I’m sure Bould disagrees about zonal marking and the way in which our defense has been the last few years. Wenger needs to learn to take advice ffs. Everyone can see the problem EXCEPT HIM.

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  38. kron

    this the thing.. Ever scice 2004 we’ve had defenders who always maake basic mistakes and it always costs us! These people need to buck up

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  39. Gundam

    Wenger should just keep on his new path… in the summer just buy out all the hot shot spain and german players… load up the team… ship a few… and build towards invincibles 2.0 (spain and germany edition)

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  40. Richard

    too many “yes” men and nobody telling the old fool he’s wrong, also no captain on the pitch reminding players of their responsibilities (what would Vierra or Adams have said!!!!! and to Wenger in private)

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  41. Always Arsenal

    Please Nigel pop round and explain this to Wenger and Bouldie!

    What I dont understand is that Bouldie knows this so why is it such a disaster at the back

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