Meet the new tougher Arsenal

Arsenal have long been regarded as purveyors of fluent and creative football, but have also been criticised for having a soft centre and not being able to cope with physical sides like Sam Allardyce’s West Ham and more recently Tony Pulis’ Stoke City. The Gunners beat Stoke this weekend in a tough and hard fought game, and Arsene Wenger was as pleased with the way that his players competed, as he was with the result.

Wenger believes it was a game which showed how Arsenal are toughening up and maturing. His words also suggest that we will be seeing more of this in the future as he builds a team capable of competing for the Premier league title again. Arsenal need more resilience and battling qualities to add to the creative side, and the Frenchman can see it starting to work.

“In England you have to cope with all types of football without losing the quality you want to play and that is not always easy, because if you have 10 Cazorlas you would have a very good technical team, but against Stoke you would struggle.

“I think it is more mental preparation. You tell your central defenders you have to be ready and they are good on the second ball too, so your midfielders have to be good on the second ball, to fight for it and let you play your game.

“We played Diaby at home and away against Stoke because in front of the defence he can win some headers. We are a bit more mature now but we dealt with it well. In the past we were a bit younger as well, more inexperienced.

“But defensively, Bacary Sagna, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have some experience, some stature, they are not small at the back.”

Wenger did not complain about Stoke’s tactics, even the two late incidents with Michael Owen and Ryan Shawcross, which is a great attitude for the team as well. In his first game, Monreal seemed to have asteadying influence on the Arsenal team defensively. It is too soon to judge, but the Spaniard could really help us to have a great end to the season.

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47 thoughts on “Meet the new tougher Arsenal

  1. chunners

    Per, kos, diaby and giroud helped against the physical side of the game. Hope we continue this fighting form!

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  2. jackie

    First game for Monreal, he doesn’t miss a beat and he busts open Walters. . . I like this guy already.

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  3. londongunner

    we were tough but we wernt creative, we need both!

    monreal seems suprisingly tough, his head must be solid as a rock and tho his not tall he was winning most of the aerial balls against stoke!

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  4. Ray

    ωε hav 2 great players on the bench (carzola and podolski) an ωε r still strong dats encouragin

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  5. Gunners

    It’s all good saying this but our defending is still amateurish at times. I think the whole league is like this so we can’t notice but if you look at teams like juventus and real madrid then you will see what a great defense involves. Only man city have a proper well functioning defence.

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  6. nir

    sam allardyce BOLTON SIDE??? i stopped reading the article after that. very poor error from a very good website.

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  7. Greg

    Hope this fighting spirit against stoke continues! Monreal made a huge difference at left back he is revalation for us! I do pray that he remains fit and healthy for the rest of the season!

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  8. Lol123

    If Diaby gets injuried which certainly gonna happen soon our midfield will be some tiny mess again

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  9. manorhouse

    @graham,
    Tell your wife its over between her & me will you chump? Cheers.

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  10. Graham

    Im only 16 ha Idiot.

    (ADMIN COMMENT – You are the idiot and you are now banned – TROLL!

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  11. ozzie

    i’am an arsenal fan from la california,,I said it before! arsenal wins one tough one, and is very fisical, all of a sudden we’re here again, why don’t you fans wait a few games, like 7 or 8, to seside if we;re relly back? you forgotten about ticket prices? about arsene not buying any one until the last moment? he could of bought moreal at the beguining of the window,, and maybe we could of won two or threematches. you forgotten how we don’nt want to pay our quality players? no wonder arsene does’nt change his ways, he knows fans will forget quick, with one win!!

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  12. Goonergrez

    @ Graham
    Did you type number one club in London into google and end up here??

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  13. Charlie

    @Ozzie. No offence but what do you care about ticket prices if you’re in California ? As for buying someone last minute don’t talk about what you don’t really understand. The reality of the transfer window is that agents wait until the latest possible moment to agree a deal for their players if there is more than one team interested. They want to attract more interest and push the price up. It is not simply a case of agreeing a price and signing the deal, not in every case anyway. The only time that happens is when the player tells his agent that its’ the move he wants immediately, like Sturridge to Liverpool for example.

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  14. johnverdal

    wenger needs to add a quality centre back and defensive md player. we are still very weak in defence. monreal is a very good defender but we need two more. i hope we can keep on winning games on a row and finsih in top 4.

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  15. mohawk35

    @graham:

    even blog sites have their own version of the “village idiot” I think we found ours

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  16. Machiavelli

    In the summer window i hope wenger buys 2 central defenders, one right back and a striker. If they are all good quality we can actually win something. We might win the fa cup this year but i want to see Arsenal win the champions leage or the premier leuage. We don’t need any more midfielders, we already have many great ones. A world class keeper would be great too. I would love for Gianluigi Buffon to come here. Cavani or Falcao as our striker. But it will cost alot. I would be happy with only a great central defender and a right back because that is the weak link in our team now.

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  17. ripple

    more physcial is good – one of many encouraging signs – but lack of depth on the defensive side is still the major weak spot – and longer term one more quality striker is needed from somewhere, either from in house development if possible or elsewhere if necessary

    in other news: i would still like to see Eisfeld on 1st team occasionally – i think he would do great – but with the many midfielders returning from injury and Wenger’s love of Ramsey, it does not look good

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  18. mohawk35

    off topic: Does anyone know how denilson is doing on loan? I sense he is not popular, but he may actually be turning into a good player out of sight and out of mind. It is worth a look. He is still a gunner afterall.

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  19. jamaican gunner

    as i always said once we dont give up easy goals we will beat teams ,defending has been our Achilles heel for quite some time once we get it sorted we will be unstoppable

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  20. Eminmo

    Great to see Arteta back in the mix so rapidly after recovering from injury!

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  21. Hafiz Rahman

    would love to see Gnabry and Eisfeld playing regularly for the first team…

    Gnabry was injured and back now..scoring a goal for the u18…

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  22. NickTheYank

    Monreal will prove a very good signing and the type of LB we need. A LB who focuses on Defense and not bombing forward at every chance like Gibbs.

    We all love the flowing Arsenal play on offense but there are games were gonna have to win “Ugly” and that means 1- 0 to the Arsenal. 3 points is 3 points whether we scored 5 (suck it spurs!) or 1 as long as there’s a 0 next to our opponents crest on the scoreboard.

    COYG!!!!!

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  23. Arsenal1Again

    Exact same stuff said about the defence at the start of the season, much mention of Per being our best defender too, then he was benched when Koscielny who had a bad game and Mertesacker has not been that good for us since being benched that game. Last season there was talk of Kos being our best defender but he has not had the same form this season, Vermaelen is often nentioned as our best defender but he is just as error prone as Kos and Per, we have the usually solud Sagna slipping now like Gibbs used to do and Gibbs has imoroved a lit recently. Our best crosser of the ball is Jenkinson and our second best already looks to be Nacho. For this reason I can’t wait to see Nacho and Jenkinson doing their crossing ting on opposite sides of the pitch in the same game. Theoretically with Ollie being the header meister, there should be goals with these two steaming down their respective wings. We just need our very good central defenders to pick up their game and stop being the cause of lost points while the rest of the team work hard to put the points in the bag. Scecgeznynzynychny needs to get more vocal. He’s really frustrating me.

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  24. Hafiz Rahman

    sometimes dropping players can cause losing of rythem and confidence

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  25. Gunner

    Sometimes dropping players can wake them up a little too!!

    I agree with the comment earlier says we need a CB as well! I cant believe that Chris Samba is at QPR and not at Arsenal,
    Arsenal should have bought him instead of PM he is a real tough customer and he is excellent defending the middle.

    What is going on with Arsenal players slipping and falling at the emirates????? I noticed it several times in the Stoke game, and of course BS against Liverpool.

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  26. mohawk35

    I think Monreal will turn out to be a classis Arsenal back who is a little better going forward than defending. No problem there. Gunners and Gooners love the attack.

    It seems he and Gibbs will be fighting it out for 1st choice LB. They both will be good going forward. Whoever is the better defender may determine who wins out. But most likely both will still play often.

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  27. A Goonersville Citizen

    In the first few games of this season, we raved about an Arsenal that was tough defensively. Bould rose to the pedestal quite quickly. We felt that we just needed to wait for Giroud and the gang to hit top form. After showing flashes of good things to come in the Liverpool and Man City games, Chelsea pried open the old Arsenal, then it was Norwich’s and, disappointingly, Man United’s turn to do the same. We were hot one game, cold the next… Hot a few games, cold the next few! Now we’ve had a few hot game and are on a non-losing streak. Let’s be patient with our judgements before deeming this ‘a tough new Arsenal.’

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  28. ripple

    @Gunner

    Samba’s salary demands are a deal-killer even before any other factors are considered.

    Samba is reportedly making 160,000 a week with QPR and he also reportedly took a pay cut to make it happen.

    His salary is at least double what Arsenal would pay.

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  29. mohawk35

    I think you speak wisely about witholding judgement. But I will say the change in defensive form was a likely a calculated tactics change from Wenger.

    Wenger gave Bould some control early and he got the defense working for the first few games but Arsenal ended up with too many 0-0 or low scoring games.

    Wenger of course did not like that. Wenger wants everything full bore attack and so do the fans. So I believe Wenger took back some control over tactics to spark the offense.

    I can’t prove any of that, but I fully believe that is what happened.

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  30. Jego

    @mohawk35 Denilson is a pure cr*p, he was the worst player in the team at the time, succeeded by his compatriot Santos who even made Squid look good in front of himself. Coquelin and Dench are million times better already, not talking about the time they reach age of 25.

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  31. Thala

    Ivory coast Lost to Nigeria. Gervinho will be back today and with Few days rest ,he will be Available Against Blackburn and Bayern. Hope he Continues his AFCON Form. He can be used as Impact Sub.

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  32. idris mugalu

    Monreal, a classic left back but even Santo should be given a run i n the team i remember last season he was my best left back in the league going forward and his interceptions in the closes but i think he lacks games. wake up boss use the brazilian. per a class apart, kos, was classic, arteta as always, de Ox always caused a threat to stock, Olivier liked his physic, walcot played well ,Diaby needs to be more physical and Jac a good controller of the middle park,and i finally liked the two supper subs who made a difference but all in all for creativity purposes, Rosisky needs a run in the side.

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  33. Hafiz Rahman

    Spurs vs Newcastle

    Chelsea vs Wigan

    Man utd v Everton

    Sunderland vs Arsenal

    Chance to close the gap and move to 5th spot …..a win is a must
    COYG!!!!

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  34. chisha

    i just feel we the arsenal fans for years now have been used to Wenger bein like can anyone mention a season where we finished even 2nd arsenal jus seem to play bad at some point in the season then they find form but close to the end they loose it. wenger must jus leave point blank. 8years says it all. We fans come to such sites hopin for new players is a waste Wenger will do wat he does each year sell quality bring in crap then each year same story

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  35. Johnno

    I don’t think Gibbs will get a game at left back when he returns! Unless Monreal gets injured. Left back has been a problem since Ca$hley Cole. Clichy was poor, before defensively and offensively – no idea how he was our first choice for so long and not sure how he gets at game at a club that can buy just about any player known to man. Gibbs is improving, his offensive skills are far better than Clichy’s, but defensively he’s fairly poor. Slightly built, quite short, bombs forward all the time – spends more time focused on attack then defence. And then there’s Santos………………. :-/

    Monreal’s main focus seems to be the reason he was employed at the club, to defend. Attacking left/right backs are fantastic and a bonus, like Baines, but their main focus needs to be on defending! I don’t think this is Gibbs’ priority. The only reason that Clichly was serviceable for a few years is because of his pace. That really helped him when he was regularly caught out of position. When he eventually loses his pace he’ll be exposed as a player who hits a target with one in ten crosses, gets caught out of position constantly and is poor in the tackle. Gibbs did start out life as a left winger/central midfielder so maybe that’s his immediate future? Back up left back and back up left winger and another option in central midfield should we hit an injury crisis or players like Wilshere need a rest. Monreal, barring injury, should be first choice left back for the next five or six years. Now we need to focus on a replacement for Sagna and further develop Jenkinson because he’s not ready for first choice football regularly for a club like Arsenal.

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  36. A Goonersville Citizen

    It’s less than a week ago too when our “tough” defensive conceded silly goals against Liverpool…

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  37. Gunnerineverylife

    @idris mugalu “Santo should be given a run i n the team i remember last season he was my best left back in the league going forward and his interceptions in the closes but i think he lacks games. wake up boss use the brazilian.” hahaha

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  38. Shah95

    Glad that we won with a clean sheet. But let’s not get too carried away

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  39. jyotika

    WELL DONE BOYS

    WELCOME BACK ARTETA GOOD TO SEE YOU ON THE PITCH.

    I know some of the fans don’t think of Gervinho but we can use him for the FA Cup we have a big game champions League.

    COME ON GUNNERS.

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  40. adon

    arsene wenger is a bad tactical…he only know to attack from middle…n dont use both flank to cross..so bad tactical…in arsene i dont trust anymore…f**k arsene wenger…

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