Are Arsenal’s defenders easy pickings?

Alan Shearer has claimed that Southampton pinpointed weaknesses in Arsenal’s defence this weekend, and Charlie Austin highlighted their failings with him goal in the opening minutes of the match,

The Gunners needed a very late equaliser from Olivier Giroud to walk away with a point from the encounter at St Marys Stadium this Sunday, and were lucky not to have been further behind in the match.

Shearer insists that the Saints saw weakness in their opponents, and went after them.

“They identified weaknesses in that Arsenal backline and they went after Arsenal.” Shearer said.

“You think the way Arsenal defended for the goals they conceded against Manchester United that starting today’s game they’d be up and aware of their mistakes.

“And if you’re wondering why they’ve conceded 32 goals in 2017 away from home and only Watford, Stoke and West Ham have a worse record, this is why when you look at the way they defended.

“It’s a throw in, they’d scored from. Charlie Austin, he’s the goalscorer. He first of all wins the flick on then look at how many Arsenal players he runs past – six. He’s won the throw in. He ends up behind the Arsenal line.

“It’s a hell of a finish, a hell of a move but it’s terrible from that back line. Yes it’s mentality.

“Xhaka and Ramsey. Meant to be one of them sitting midfielder, holding midfielder, in front of the back three or back five. Tadic is free. Take a touch, turn. You’ve conceded after two minutes. After five minutes, trying to play offside, not offside.

“Back line again all over the place. They should be 2-0 down after five minutes.

“James Ward-Prowse is on his bike, running in behind. Two or three seconds, long ball, back line again all over the place, and he’s in on goal.

“Second half, Arsene said they were a lot better? No they weren’t. There’s your sitting midfielder Xhaka, and Tadic. Look at Xhaka jogging where Tadic ends up. Bertrand is one-on-one and this is to go 2-0 up again. That goes in and it’s all over.”

Is our defence out of form or are they simply not good enough?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Austin Shearer Southampton


  1. gotanidea says:

    Shearer failed once as a manager, but his comments indicate that he knows better now. He should try a managerial job again, because his analysis often made a lot of sense.

    He is right about Xhaka’s role as a defensive midfielder. Wenger’s strategy definitely does not help him and the central defenders, that was why they keep producing blunders, no matter who the players are.

    Recently, it was Mertesacker, Mustafi, Koscielny, Xhaka. Previously we have Squillaci, Djourou, Senderos, Cygan, Silvestre, etc. Arsenal could get Virgil Van Dijk or other high profile defenders, but they would produce similar errors if they are coached by incompetent people.

    1. chris says:

      Steve Bould is not incompetent. He was part of the best back 4 Arsenal ever had. However he cannot do much if treated as a mere YES MAN – as was Pat Rice before him. Wenger has never had enough respect for defending – by the back line and by the whole team. Wenger has not believed in a genuine dmf since Alberto left and it has cost us dear. The article mentions Squillaci … Wenger told him he did not want the attackers working too hard to help the defence because it would tire them for their next attack. I will not be surprised if Kroenke offers Wenger another contract … after this one !!

      1. Break-on-through says:

        Adams said Bould was great player but a mouse at getting any thoughts across. Adams was our captain at 19 I think, he captained an older Bould. Dixon would’ve been better than SB but Adams is the one whom should rightly be setting us up defensively. He knew how to organize and marshal that defense without it interfering with Arsene’s forward play. Bould is a yes man, simple as that, most people are when talking to bosses but in football you need some grit about you. I can safely say that Bould does not covet a managers chair unless it was to fall on his lap with the 8m salary. He’s not the right man. Look at the ones Fergie picked and later went out on their own, Fergie didn’t want a yes man that’s the difference.

  2. Taf says:

    We can defend alot better than this. It basic school boy stuff. I think it’s lack of fear and discipline. On paper we should be able to stand up to both Manchester teams. Another question is…who is coaching the defenders? The way they play it doesn’t look like Bould type of defending…

  3. adi says:

    Our defence is a mess when Koscielny isnt on form. I thought Bellerin have been a different player post barca transfer rumours. Mustafi stil his usual self, Monreal is also out of position, Kolasinac is the only one still putting on medium to high gear.

    No doubt we need a change in defence, but it wont be cheap and instant

  4. arie82 says:

    Since gilberto left, we dont have any wc pure dm
    There song bilong, but he sold to barca
    There flamini, but he left to milan at his peak performance
    There coqelin, but he replace by xhaka, who is a cm, that force to be dlp
    Wenger switch to 343 for more protection in defend, but kick out the role of dm.
    Mu have matic
    Chelsea have kante
    City have fernandinho
    Madrid have casmiro
    Barca have biscuit dan macherano
    Bayer have vidal
    Juventus have khedira
    And we have XHAKA !
    we alredy have winning blue print in 442 invicible era, why wenger dont
    find players who have similiar attributs to invicible players team.
    Once wenger obsesion with tiki taka barca, and now with 343 conte…..

  5. ozmn says:

    koscielny need to go now we need real defenders His dayz r over. about mustafi I think we should wait him til next year and this guy Berlin is out of his form he keeps lying to us am just fed up about him give debuchy a chance

  6. Roy says:

    Is the moon round?

  7. lcebox says:

    Its not only the defending some of the passes have been shocking i mean no defence could defend when giving the ball away where we have so many times this season.

    Xhaka is main culprit on this but seems lately the defenders are getting in on it along with some silly decisions its cost us big time in goals conceded.

    Is it gona get better with different players i dont think so, it needs no nonsense defending.

    Or just some cope on makes me laugh sometimes the mistakes ive seen us make this year and to think they play everyday and still cant pass 5 yds.

  8. AndersS says:

    Shearer is exactly right, and the evidence is there to back it up.
    But pointing to individual defenders is missing the point, because it has to do with bad organization. Wenger just can’t (or won’t?) organize the whole team to defend, when opponents have the ball, and that is why, we have no chance with him in charge.

  9. Dudu says:

    We will keep on complaining hoping to see something different next season we will see another slow player coming in eg n’zonzi……Wenger Out.

  10. Angad Desai says:

    According to mirror Arsenal have agreed 35 million deal for Sevilla midfielder Steven Nzonzi. Is he good? Is he a worldclass DM?

  11. Mobella says:

    No defense will survive the way our attackers keep giving away possessions. Sanchez in last two matches had given away possessions 66 times and most of it at a very dangerous position. One led to goal against Manchester united and he did the same against City which led to their third goal. The defenders has their fault no doubt but i believe they are capable at their jobs. Do they do this at their previous clubs or their national teams. All those errors were at result of the way Wenger wants them to play otherwise how can one explain how it constantly happening.

  12. Nothing changed says:

    For me, the problem is poor coaching. Our team and not only the defenders, look out of position and are awful when we lose the ball. That is pure and simple a matter of coaching. But you can tell by the repeated mistakes game after game, season after season that mistakes are not pointed out.

    Keown explained that when he was working at Arsenal and wanted to take a defender aside and show him film of his errors that Wenger would not allow it because he didn’t want to hurt confidence!!!

    Modern managers coach details and use film expensively. Say what you like but teams like Spurs, Chelsea, City and Man U look much better managed. Their players look like they know what to do both in possession and without the ball. We still barely look like a team that is in pre-season for the first time playing together.

    It all comes down to coaching because the majority of our players are technically adequate and talented enough.

    This is also why our youngsters don’t progress. They are not being coached properly.

  13. kman says:

    There are so many negatives about Wenger’s tactics that it is too blatant to see.Arsenal are only compact at the end of season and play with more urgency and awareness. Mertesacker will only get exposed further and Wenger won’t do anything about it.Look at Arsenal’s dealings by David Ornstein and look at how incompetent the system it really is.

  14. Vlad says:

    Offense wins you games, defense wins you championships. Look at the teams who are sitting at the top of the table – they have best defensive records. Until we sort it out, we won’t win squat. A lot of people blame Wenger for this, personally I’d like to know what exactly Steve Bould does for us. Isn’t he supposed to be this defensive guru? I get that Wenger likes to surround himself with “Yes Men” but if they can’t do a competent job they should be replaced. We also need to take a long and hard look at our players because they simply don’t cut it lately. Mert is done. Kosc is almost done. Mustafi is just way too inconsistent. How about giving Holding and Chambers another shot? How about getting another CB in January? How about putting Xhaka on the bench, and playing Coquelin or Elneny instead. Some of our players are just way too comfortable. Bench Alexis. Bench Bellerin. I guarantee you next time they get a chance to play we’ll see a totally different performance from them.

  15. jon fox says:

    We have not had a world class outfield defender since Sol Campbell left and not a high class CDM since Gilberto left, both nearly a decade ago . Koscielny has been for most of his career by far our best defender but not quite world class, merely very good. He is no Adams, Bould or Campbell who all were world class, We have not had a full back since Cole or Lauren who can defend at all properly. Wenger would not recognise a great defender if he bit him and has over a decade now shown himself incapable of fixing a defence with more holes in it than a colander. What he does have is a few talented players at full back who are decent , not WC though, at going forward BUT who can’t defend if their lives depend on it. He could have got Alderweirald but dithered. likewise Kante, but again , dithered. Coquelin , Elneny and Xhaka are simply nowhere near good enough, likewise MERTS, HOLDING, CHAMBERS AND THIS SEASON ALSO KOSCIELNY. As for Bellerin, who looked a peach two years again, he has gone off like rotten eggs left out in the sun. A manager who could actually coach would be a start. But one things for sure; that will NEVER be WENGER!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs