Arsenal do not have the best defence in the Premier League, in terms of goals conceded at least, with 10 going into our net so far in 10 EPL games. But that is only one more than two of our main title rivals Man City and Chelsea and three fewer than another one Liverpool.
So I was a bit surprised to say the least when I saw in a Metro report that our former centre back and member of the invincibles of 2004 suggested that Chelsea have the edge over us in the race for the title because of the strength of their defence.
Sol Campbell spoke about how the defensive solidity of Leicester City helped them to beat us to the title last season and suggested that the same thing is likely to help Chelsea this time.
He said, ‘It’s very professional. Tight at the back, that’s key.
‘Look at Leicester how they won the Premier League last year, very tight at the back, nicking goals.
‘Okay, they are not just nicking goals, Chelsea, they are dispatching teams as well. But being tight at the back.
‘And that’s the right balance, really. The right cocktail, balance, if you need that solid [defence], in those tight games, back end of the season, last day, six, seven, eight games, that will kick in and make the difference.’
Okay they have only conceded one goal in the last five games but the one before that saw them ship three and that just happened to be against the Gunners. Was Sol not watching that? And has he not been taking much notice of the Arsenal defence recently?
With the new Kostafi pairing of Koscielny and Mustafi at the heart of our back four Arsenal have let in just 4 goals in the last 10 matches and they seem to be getting better all the time. In fact if you take away the four goals conceded to Liverpool on the opening day, when neither of the first choice center backs were available, our defence looks as strong if not stronger than Chelsea’s.
So was Campbell wrong to suggest Chelsea have the edge in the title race because of their defence? If that was really the case then what about his other former club Tottenham? Because the spuds actually have the meanest defence statistically with just five league goals conceded?
Surely we should look at a whole team rather than just one aspect of it when talking about the potential title winners?