The Arsenal defence has been looking extremely suspect this season, and it is little surprise that the Gunners have conceded 16 goals in our first 11 League games, and there are only 6 teams in the whole Premier League that have conceded more. To put this is perspective, Burnley, Brighton and Newcastle have all conceded at least 5 LESS than us already! There is a reason for this, and that is because our defenders are all getting very old!
Peter Cech is 35, and even our captain Laurent Koscielny has now admitted that he is going to retire from international football after the summer. He told a media conference with the France team: “There is an end to everything.
“After the World Cup, I will be almost 33 years old, it will be the right time to make room for the youngsters pushing behind.
“I have six months left in the French team to blossom and take as many memories, as my wife would say.”
There is no doubt that he will not be able to play every week now, especially with his ongoing achilles problems. His partners for most of this season have been; Per Mertesacker (33 and in his last year of competitive football, could he get even slower?); Nacho Monreal (the youngster at 31, but although he seems to be our most consistent and effective defender he is also getting on in years. Can we really expect these three to continue for very long?
As for our backups, we have the youngster Rob Holding, who has looked very nervous at the start of this campaign after his heroics of last season. He could hardly be considered good enough to be in our starting XI every week. We have Shkrodan Mustafi out injured at the moment, but if the rumours were right he was very close to leaving the Emirates in the summer, and he has hardly lived up to his reputation of being a top German international.
Of course we also have Calum Chambers, who kept Holding out of the England U21 side in last summers Euro Under-21 Championships in Poland, but although he has been injured with a recurring hip problem since the beginning of the season, he seems to be totally untrusted by Wenger going by previous seasons.
You could also include Matthieu Debuchy in our list of possible backups, but he is also 32 and suffering from more injuries than the rest of our defence put together, and has indicated his desire to leave Arsenal on many occasions. He is unlikely to be with the club next year.
With Arsenal already set to lose Ozil and Alexis this summer, Wenger is going to have to spend fortunes just to replace those two, so there will not be much change left over to strengthen our defence, so could we be looking to promote from the Academy? Wenger will have to hope that youngsters like Bielik, Plezuguelo, Osei-Tutu and Tafari Moore prove to be up to Premier League standard, or we are going to have an even weaker back line than we have this season. Just for info, our reserve side have also conceded 16 goals in their first 9 games as well! So where will that leave us?