Are Arsenal one defensive injury away from disaster again?

Are The Gooners one injury away from disaster?          

With the transfer window coming to a close last night, it has Gooner fans wondering if we’ve been left short at the back for the upcoming season. With Timber picking up a grade 3 rupture and is rumoured to be out injured for seven to nine months, should Arsenal have brought in another defender to replace Timber?

Last season we saw Tomiyasu and Zinchenko both pick up injures which left our back line open and led to many defensive problems, and it is arguable that William Saliba’s injury could have cost us the League title. With Rob Holding going to Crystal Palace on a permanent transfer and Kieran Tierney going on a season long loan to La Liga side Real Sociedad, it’s got Arsenal fans wondering if we needed to bring in another defender to keep more depth in the squad.

With The Gooners competing in four competitions this season, including the Champions League, squad depth is going to be a key factor in how well we can do. With the injury record of both Tomiyasu and Zinchenko it feels very risky not bringing someone in to replace Timber.

Areta was asked about why he didn’t go into the market to find a Timber replacement inh is pre-match press conference for the Manchester United game on Sunday and said this “Well, we’ve done quite a lot and obviously we have a lot of uncertainty over a lot of players as well, so we have to be very cautious and find alternatives and ways. Sometimes you want to do everything that is needed, but sometimes it’s not possible and we have to adapt” via

With two international breaks and a lot of games in the cups and Europe as well as the League to come, anything could happen. Is Arteta expecting Saliba and White to play week in, week out?

Maybe we are waiting until the January window to bring someone else in, but will it come back to bite us?

What are your thoughts Gooners?

Daisy Snailham


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Tags Arteta defenders injuries


  1. I guess Arsenal didn’t sign a new defender because Rice, Elneny and Partey can play the role if required:

    CBs: Saliba, Magalhaes, White, Kiwior, Tomiyasu, Rice, Elneny, Walters

    RBs: White, Tomiyasu, Partey, Walters

    LBs: Zinchenko, Kiwior, Tomiyasu, Magalhaes

    1. Can’t see Gabriel playing LB. Saliba has played RB before – could see him being a very good option there except we’d always prefer him at CB.

    2. I agree that Arteta is probably thinking that, Saliba’s best replacement in the squad is arguably Rice. But what a loss to our midfield that would be, same with Partey going into defence.
      I really think loaning Tierney was a big risk (great attitude, fan favourite, loyal, a leader), and then letting fringe players Holding and Tavares go without replacement, plus Timber’s injury… Our title bid fell apart last year due to inadequate cover at the back, why haven’t we learned from that? I have faith in Arteta and Edu but a lot of their decisions have struck many of us as very risky. We should fully establish ourselves as silverware winners before trying to rewrite the game. We had a winning formula until Saliba got injured last season, I hope we can return to it soon.

      Also, given our shallow options in defence and that the transfer window is now shut, how would people feel about a move for Sergio Ramos on a 1yr contract? Immense player, admittedly on the decline and with a bit of an ego but maybe worth a go? Silva worked out well for them scabby blue neighbours of ours.

    3. All it takes is an injury to White – Gabriel – Saliba and a suspension and we are in trouble.
      Taking Timber out of the equation I would say Arsenal are actually weaker than last season defensively.
      Our great hope is that Timber will make a fast recovery due to his age and physical fitness but even then he might not come back the same player he was before.

      1. I’m also worried about Timber, because it happened to Kolasinac and Bellerin who couldn’t return to their best forms after recovering from long-term injuries

        Saliba could be replaced by Magalhaes, Kiwior, Tomiyasu or Rice, whereas White has Tomiyasu, Rice and Walters to back him up

        1. Gabriel is a great player and Kiwior is unproven. Tomiyasu is made of straw and I would not want a £105 million midfielder playing in centre defence.
          Hopefully we can last out until the January transfer market.
          I am surprised he didn’t make a move in the transfer market. especially as we wiped £100 million off of the net spend this summer..

            1. Maybe.
              He must have confidence in the squad if he was happy to allow Holding and Tierney to leave.
              Perhaps he believes that Partey settling well into the RB role he had adequate cover there.
              That just leaves a defensive hole in midfield.
              I am sure MA knows what he is doing far better than I do.

  2. DAISY, fine to ask the question but surely the TRUE answer ought to be obvious Of course we , lust like most other teams, possibly City excepted, would LOVE to have many better players in our squad. Top talent costs huge funds though.
    But practicality of funds available to us, FFP rules and having a too large squad internally, thus casusing jealousy and disharmony within , are ALL reasons WHY what we would want in theory are not going to come about.
    In fotball, as in life we do not get all we want Buying players is the art of the possible, allied to top player in judgement((Havertz?!!)and fans always demand far too much and do not truly consider what is affordable and what is practical.

  3. It seems there is no chance Arteta will revert to a back four any time soon. He’s obviously “all in” on his quest for a back three with inverted wing backs to cover those positions as and when required. I’m not alone in wondering if a back four suits us best but if Arteta fails this season because of a lack of defensive options , he only has himself to blame. It’s a massive gamble that I can only hope pulls off successfully. Time will tell…

  4. Most discussions about signings on sites such as this start with the assumption the club has an unlimited amount of money and can buy as many players as they want. That really is only true for City. In reality a club will identify its priorities and try and sign those players first, eventually it will run out of money. You could argue Arsenal should have made signing another defender a higher priority but the question then becomes who would they then miss out on ? The obvious answer I suppose would be Havertz, not because of his position but his performances.

  5. I have heard good reports concerning Reuell Walters and perhaps this has influenced Arteta to rest content with what he has.

  6. It was an impossible task to replace a guy who had come in fitted in instantly and was able to play anywhere in our defence.

    Luckily we have two other very flexible players in Tomi and Kiwior, so I do not think we are as badly off as last season.

    At the very least it is two injuries from a crisis!

    1. I like Kiwior composure and passing range. Given minutes, he can reach Saliva level. Although he doesn’t score goals, I prefer him over Gabriel

      1. Kiwor that fails to deal with corners costing us points in the league and in against Sporting CP in Europa? After Saliba, Gabriel remains our next solid defender and is a threat to the opposition in set pieces.

  7. Pep realised his mistake in underestimated the value of ensuring quality coverage in regard to the defence. Arteta is too egocentric to respond to the loss of Timber and the miscalculation of the Kai Havertz purchase. Not to mention the poor decision to let Tierney go. The robustness of th EPL will expose his complacency and he current overconfidence in Partey at right back. He will overplay Saliba and White and express surprise when our challenge for the title peters out.

  8. Bad decision making by Arteta. Clearly we are on a knifes edge defensively. Always a player short of what we need. If Arteta carries his EXPERIMENTS on, we will be in trouble. The supporters are not blind. If we get defensive injuries we are screwed..

  9. Last season Partey was excellent in midfield, what the hell is he doing at RB? Making room for a certain new signing?

    Looks like we have another contender for top4: Burnley 2 – Spuds 5.

  10. It’s a big risk and completely unnecessary in my opinion. Has the club not learned the lesson from January a couple years ago and squad decimation?

    So 6 defenders will cover 8 positions? 4 in the back + cover = 8 positions. Zinchenko and Tomiyasu are highly injury prone & Kiwor unproven.

    After we lost Timber, we had this in defense
    RB White & Tomiyasu
    LB Zinchenko & Tierney
    CB Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwor, & Holding.

    Every position had a backup/cover for rotation and injury, minimal coverage.

    Now Tierney and Holding are gone, even Tavares, so we are short overall in defensive coverage.

    Add to that Kiwor is unproven, and Zinchenko and Tomiyasu have a history of getting significant injury spells every year.

    Walters? Arteta has never promoted a youngster to first team, unrealistic option.

    Partey as RB? Team is weaker overall than White as RB. Team is much weaker with Partey at RB, White at CB and Gabriel on the bench.

    Now way 6 defenders can sustain all season, not happening. Doubtful Zinchenko & Tomiyasu make it to December without getting injured again.

    Get the excuses ready to divert attention from this mistake by Edu and Arteta.

    1. I guess we could have done a Chelsea and just bought loads of players, with the versatility he’s introducing I really think we will be ok, by buying loads of extras this could have turned us into the joke club Chelsea have become. (Another loss today) They appear to be getting away with ffp I’m sure we wouldn’t.

      1. What do you mean Arteta never promoted a youngster? Do you think he is against it? Was there a youngster he should have promoted? He gave Narawi his first game at 15, and will probably give a chance to players if they convince him.

        1. Merely saying he has not promoted a youth player, I don’t claim to know his reason. He prefers to address matters with endless checkbook spending, can’t deny that.

          Why spend time developing when you can’t just use owner’s checkbook? It’s a question for Arteta, not me; I just mention the spending over promotion.

  11. Balancing books is not as easy as we look at it.Arteta must fit in a certain budget acceptable to the club and sometimes he is forced to make some decisions that are not so popular to fit in this bill.
    Personally I would have no problem with Tierney and Holding leaving if Timber was available coz he could cover for both of them effectively. Now that the 3 aren’t available it surely leaves us light at the back.
    It now lies squrely on Kiwior.This season offers him an unbelievable opportunity to showcase his capabilities. He is a Polish international since the under sixteens with so many caps under his belt.So far he has impressed both internationally and at Arsenal.To me he can cover both C.B and L.B very well.
    It’s up to Arteta to give him a run of matches so that he can gel with the team.I have always hoped for a time when Zinchenko can be played more offensively as an A.M or even as a Saka alternative in some matches. I think this suites him more and he may be more beneficial to the team than as a L.B.

  12. I wish I could say, no it won’t be an issue – but I’d be lying. Over the last decade our physio dept has not exactly covered itself in glory, as our injury problems are mind blowing compared to days of yore, and getting players back into action takes forever. This is because it’s a mess – according to physios who’ve resigned rather than accept bad practise. So, was it a wise idea to release defenders while no one else came in? No, obviously not. Tinkering about playing players out of position simply wastes potential and achieves nothing. It’s no use blaming ffp or lack of money either. Indeed it just makes you laugh to hear such arguments. Covid exposed just how ruthless and greedy football clubs are. One minute laying people off ‘due to lockdown’ next minute spending mega millions on players again. Without even the decency to wait until those ex staffers had cashed their cheques… There are three people deciding what arsenal will spend and on who on – Kronke, Edu and Arteta. One supplies the cash, and after the late Wenger, Emery, fiasco, let’s Edu and the manager work out who they want. So, the buck stops with the Arteta when it comes to bringing people in. He knows who he wants to get rid of, and should know what cover he has. Unfortunately, as last season showed, it’s not clear that he fully grasps that concept. Until January then, we had better pray that our fragile defenders don’t end up crocked or suspended, or Saka may find himself playing a tad further back than usual….

  13. Although Arteta has not promoted a player from the academy as of yet I do think there is a real possibility we could see Reuell Walters given his chance this season as I believe he has been regularly involved with the first team squad in training for well over a year now and went on the preseason tour last year and also played against Nuremberg this year plus was on the bench toward the end of last season too. Seems to be ahead of the highly rated Norton Cuffy in the thoughts of the Manager.

    I would much prefer this over Cedric coming back into the fold as he is still here and unless he has interest from a Saudi club then we might
    just see him donning the Arsenal shirt again. 🤦🏾‍♂️

  14. This could have been another reason why Partey has played fullback in the first three games. He also had him there towards the end of last season. Having knowledge of the position beforehand is important. White will come inside if Saliba gets injured this time around and if Tomi is not available or is needed elsewhere Partey will go to RB. If you couldn’t try it in these three games then when can you? I also think he got the shot due to Zinchenko’s injury and he [Zinny] is another one who’s often a casualty of war

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