An analysis of Ben White – Arsenal’s unsung hero?

Benjamin White, is he Arsenal’s unsung hero this season and should he get more praise?

After 23 Premier League games as a Gooner, Ben White has solidified his place in our backline and is one of the first names on the team sheet, alongside centre back partner Gabriel.

Of those 23 games, our £50 million English International has racked up 11 clean sheets which has resulted in 15 wins and only five losses for Arsenal. A record that makes a pleasant change for fans of our club over recent years.

He has now played the most Arsenal minutes in the squad with a total of 2,378 minutes, which is a whole 184 more minutes that second placed Bukayo Saka.

In fact, he has not missed a single football match in his professional career due to injury, that is a player with 190 senior matches but no mark on his record apart from two games when he was unwell with COVID.

An incredible statistic.

The defensive stability of this team is one of the biggest improvements we have seen in the post-Wenger era and marks some of the best recruitment by Arteta and Edu, especially because of the massive doubts about our defence after losing our first three games of the season.

He has not made a single error leading to a goal this campaign, so long gone are the days of Mustafi in our starting 11, with a constant dread of a leaky defence.

I know that it is an ironic time to say it, having conceded two goals against Watford but I would say that conceding against the lower teams in the league is quite an anomaly this year for Arsenal.

Paired with Gabriel, the two seem to ‘click’ at the back despite the language difference between the two, this might be because Gabriel is naturally left-sided while White is right-sided, so they seem to complement each other very well.

I think that he is integral in the heart of our defence and at 24 years old, he will only keep on improving, I don’t think he has nearly got enough praise for his performances this season.

However, it is not only White’s defensive abilities that impressed me so much.

White is superior with ball control and pass ability across the back line, he averages 52.9 passes per match and is very comfortable with playing out from the back under pressure, fitting perfectly in Arteta’s ‘pass out the back’ philosophy.

I also think that now Saliba is confirmed to be an Arsenal player next season, we will have some competition with both Gabriel and White finally, something that White never really had at previous clubs (Brighton and Leeds) and can only elevate his game.

Adding to this, White has a fantastic disciplinary record across his whole career, with only one red card (double booking against Chelsea when at Brighton) and only receiving one yellow card in Arsenal colours.

His disciplined attitude has transferred to the rest of the back line which racks up very few cards, Tierny has none, Tomiyasu has two yellows and Gabriel has four yellows which includes a red against Manchester City.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 10: Ben White of Arsenal celebrates following their side’s victory in the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 10, 2022 (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

He seems calm and leads by example in the team, a player that I can see becoming an Arsenal team captain one day, however I think both Kieran Tierny and Martin Odegaard will probably be ahead in the pecking order.

Some may say that we overpaid for White because of the ‘English tax’ that comes with English premier league players, but I believe he is starting to really look like a £50 million centre back.

Notable performances would be bodying West Ham’s Antonio in our win at the Emirates and laughing in Minamino’s face as we held out a 0-0 draw while a man down against Liverpool.

He is 100% committed to the team and will be vital in upkeeping his fine form if we want to get top four.

What do you think of White’s performances this season?

Until next time Gooners.


Tags Ben White


  1. Ben White and Gabrial Magalhaes are our two dependable and undisputed Central back pair that gives the
    AFC fans normal blood flow during matches and assurance double
    Sure to Goalkeeper
    Ramsdale between the sticks. The absence of complaints about them is more assuring than praises, I would think so

  2. Great info. I think he’s pretty quick for a CB, but he isn’t dominant aerially

    He also rarely shows his “Rolls-Royce” ball carrying skills. Instead, Partey has been doing it lately

    He looks like a faster version of Chambers. If Holding or Saliba starts ahead of him next season, maybe we can re-assign him to be Partey’s main competitor in the CDM position

    1. Everyone seems to think he can be a DM, but he’s played there before and not done very well (accounts suggest) – I think it’s just assumed that being comfortable on the ball means you can play midfield, but there’s more to it than that.
      He might just be a body if played in midfield, but we want top quality in each position, surely?

      1. I agree that a CDM needs to be a jack of many trades. His dribbling skills just remind me of Partey’s, so I’d like Arsenal to try him out as a CDM in some small cup games next season

        1. True – it’s one of those where you’d think he has the right skillset for it. Would be interested to see how he does.

    2. Gai,
      I think white at the Centre back is Arteta’s technical onus. I think he is placed there as an extra D midfielder. And in that case we need Tomiyasu who is aerialy good to shift sometimes to C back to assist if needed. I hope Tomiyasu would be ready for Liverpool game.

  3. He’s very comfortable on the ball, which has elevated our ability to play out from the back – everyone has looked more confident this year, but none more so than him – but I would say, I don’t think he’s a great defensive defender. Good, yes (better than I thought he might be tbh), but not great. He’s made a decent number of errors that I’ve seen, and I think it’s sheer luck if none have led to a goal conceded. It’s well known he’s not brilliant in 1v1s, and not fantastic in the air (again, better than I thought, though), but overall, he’s pretty good and quite consistent.

    There’s something to be said for being able to play every game. That consistency can be really valuable, especially at CB.

    It’s a strange one to assess.. Is he a “50m defender”? Not for me – you can surely get a more rounded, better quality defender for that money. However, if he can play consistently well as he has done so far for a number of years, that will represent value imo.

  4. Yes underated.
    Very good thus far.
    50mill is what a top club pays including HG “tax”.
    Van Dijk cost 75mill
    MacGuire cost 80 mill
    Probably our next permanent Captain.

  5. A think Ben White has been really good for us and a keep saying once we add a dominant midfielder the whole of that defensive third is going to look even better, Odeigaard is the perfect captain for me he seems to have a better understanding of how the games need to play and change when the going gets rough

  6. We realists on JA who can easily see the vastly better defence we have since White, at a cool £50mill and wisely spent too, and Gabriel, were paired together, have enough wisdom to credit our fine manager MA for this achievement.

    Who can forget the many doubters on JA who warned against – meaning in some cases, rants- the supposed “stupidity ” of “wasting” such a fee on a mere “nothing special defender”.

    One who has been a giant in our defence , as this fine and sensible article tells us AND who has banished the former nightmare clown partnership of Mustafi and the Wrestler(Sokratis) from our club , even if not, regrettably, from our memories.

    Those who are old enough to know without any doubt that all highly successful teams are built from the back, with a tight defence and and excellent keeper( Ramsdale, yet another who the ranters did not want) can see and easily praise our fine manager for this achievement.

    I recall that the excellent defence which AW first inherited from George Graham and which he sensibly kept and helped prolong, was a prime example of this sound principle.

    1. My issue has always been that the defence was already quite sound – Holding was doing well and we had bigger issues, particularly up front. Just thought the money could have been used more wisely – still believe that, but it’s turned out well nonetheless.
      Been white has improved us, mainly because he and ramsdale are adept at passing the ball out from the back (which is helpful in defence as well as attack to be fair)

  7. I’d honestly say Tomi is the unsung hero, by being more defensive minded he’s really helped the backline along with Ramsdale.

    Play Bellerin and you’d likely see White struggle a lot more than what we’ve seen. Ben actually makes quite a few errors, fortunately most of those haven’t cost us goals yet. His pace really helps him recover from errors.

    1. Completely agree. Also, some of tomi’s interceptions and defensive actions have been world class imo

      1. 100% Davi….to be clear I’m not saying White is a bad player because he’s definitely not but he’s still young and can still improve a bucket load.

      1. Total nonsense, I’ve seen Tomi make loads of mistakes, like all of our players, and every professional footballer.

        If you could phone every manager in the prem league and ask who they would rather have (if they played in the same position) Tomi or Tierney, I bet they would say the Scot.

        It obviously your opinion, but I would say you are being overboard with your view on Tomi. I’m happy with our defence and if Sailba comes back next season let’s not get to excited, because he might not adopt to our league straight away. But he will be coming into a very settled back 5 so hopefully he will fit in….

        1. Learn to respect the opinion of others so please do not come at me like that. Football is not rocket science that someone would have to look so smart to talk about. Also I never said or implied Tomiyasu doesn’t make mistakes. I said he is better than Tierney in every single aspect of going forward and defending. Tomiyasu is the better crosser and passer, plus he’s a bit more dynamic in attack and way better defensively. I’d like to see yo udebate o nwhat basis you don’t thin kTomiyasu is the betetr crosser, passer, attacker and defender. Also as for managers picking Tierney over Tomiyasu that isn’t my matter. Perhaps Tierney has been in he league for longer but from the eye test there is not one category where Tierney beats Tomiyaus. Even in his strongest traits of crossing and passing Tomi has proved more accurate in that category and I dare anyone to prove me different. He is even smarter on the pitch too.

            1. Okay I do respect your opinion, I don’t agree with it, especially
              In the attacking sense and being smarter on the pitch?🤔 and leadership. I like Tomi as a player, I have no issues with him.
              The next time they both play, we can go through the match and
              See if Tomi is “superior” ……

              1. Cool, disagreements are part of the game. Yeah Tomi’s got a better football IQ evident in the role he’s asked to play. Obviously Tierney’s longer period of stay at Arsenal would play a part in how he’s viewed by people. It’s just that when you even consider Tierney’s strength to be passing and crossing even Tomiyasu has proven to be excellent in that department. I’m actually shocked he’s a CB. In our system he plays more defensive but it works because he’s good in attack that it doesn’t unbalance our team.

    2. Agree PJ, the improvement in defence has come from Tomyasu and Gabriel’solidity. I have yet to witness Ben White give a stand out defensive master class. He seems to hold back and rely on others to do the gritty work. I still believe Holding has been done by and made the scapegoat too often.

      1. ” hard done by”. And yes BW is over rated. It’s very premature to compare him with the likes of Van Dyke or possibly William Saliba.

  8. Highly overrated and overpaid. Have you really been watching Arsenal games? White playing out from the back is not exceptional for the modern defenders. And, too many times in doing so, he is caught out of position .Defensively, (which his primary job ) he leaves a lot to be desired ,as he’s not good enough closing down attackers, allowing them to get in the box, instead of tackling and stopping them from outside. Most times, if not for Gabriel to clean up for him, Arsenal would concede a lot more goals. 70 percent of the goals scored against Arsenal has been from his side of the defense. For example people blame Gabriel for the goal against Wolves when trying to back pass to Ramsdale. My question is where was Ben White? That’s his side of the defense, but, he was out of position, Gabriel came over to help, yet, White fell asleep and failed to assist Gabriel by positioning himself to receive the pass or closing down the attack. Ben White defensive weakness is the reason that’s keeping out of England’s starting eleven. While White is an upgrade on Mustafi, he needs to improve defensively. Sometimes in playing out, he is too slow and keep the ball so long that the opponents have time to regroup and organize themselves or even start press. He also plays out too many unsuccessful long balls. Why’s Ben White salary four times more than Bukayo Saka?

    1. Who pay you to post this comment.. I watch every arsenal game.. Because i’m the member of arsenal official. Com, i rewatch the game. Nah.. I from borneo malaysia, borneo is island and a barely can’t speak in english

      1. The moment you attack someone personally instead of addressing his points.. You lose the argument!

  9. From the eye test alone Tomiyasu is Arsenal’s best defender. He need not to have played as many games as them to prove his quality. It is intrinsic. As good as our centre backs have been they are very replaceable based on this season but I’m going to give them the next and see how they cope in Europe and in the league. I reserve judgment on White for now because the player I saw at Brighton was very good even defensively. I am happy we have the arrival of Saliba to look forward to because I believe he is better than both centre backs.

  10. Oh my, the scales have tipped so far that BW is now being considered an unsung hero…can’t wait to see what emerges next from the secret footballing files of Stevie Wonder

  11. Unsung hero? No, hero is a stupid description but White has had consistently high ratings in 9 out of 10 games he’s played in and is far from unsung, in fact quite the contrary.

  12. Ben White, an unsung hero? Nah…
    Give it time bro, give it time.
    None of the back four are proven yet. They have not even played a CL match yet. We don’t even know how they’ll perform with an overload of fixtures next season.
    Give it time.
    At least, if they are able to continue in this form till the end of the season, then they would have proved themselves a little.
    Consistency is key in Soccer: over two seasons of play, then we can start talking of a successful player.
    Trust the Process

  13. Has Saliba’s case with the Arsenal gaffer Mikel Arteta now settled? Which could see the Arsenal fans favourite loan-out player William becomes included in the Arsenal first team squad of next season? But which is yet to be formed as it is still in the future that hasn’t come till next summer. When the squad will again undergo another resufflement that could see Saliba included to stay in the resuffle squad. We’ll see.

    Complimentary and commendation statement makings are good. More so, if they are made appropriately. And going by his good performances in the Arsenal defence this season as a right-sided centreback. I think Ben White deserved to be applauded, commended, acknowledged and complemented for his outstanding defensive job that he has done in the heart of the Arsenal defence so far so good this season. Our hopes as Arsenal supporters are, he will keep on doing his good defensive job for Arsenal to the very end of this season. But let us take care to not indulged in idolatry. For, the praising of a celebrite can be a kind of idol worshiping of a humanbeing. As only God and Him alone should be praised.

    Arteta is yet to play Omari Hutchinson and Zak Swanson in the EPL this season. So that us Gooners will see the game they have in them to play for Arsenal when he plays them. The two Gunners whom he has been including in his team sheets for quite some weeks now this season. But will Arteta take a gamble to introduce the duo Gunners into our Leicester home match tomorrow with 15 minutes left to play in the 2nd half? But if by then Arsenal are leading Leicester 2-0.

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