Are we about to see Arsenal’s dream defensive line up make its debut?

So far, looking at Arsenal’s defense, which has conceded the fewest goals in the league (28) and kept the most clean sheets (16), you can’t help but be impressed with their record.

Some Gooners, however, have issues with the left back.

Ben White at right back, William Saliba, and Gabriel Magalhaes at central defense have been great; no one wants to change that, but the challenges at left back are serious. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior, and Oleksander Zinchenko have all had their ups and downs as left backs, but few Gooners would agree that one of them is the long-term answer on the left. Many would welcome a summer left-back swoop.

But does Arsenal really need a left-back swoop? This may not be necessary with Jurrien Timber’s injury return.

“I can’t wait,” Timber said in the Standard of his anticipation of returning to Arsenal’s matchday squad. “The boys have been texting me already, so it’s going to be fun.

“I think we’re doing really well. The last couple of weeks have been tough, obviously out of the Champions League, but we’re still in the mix [in the title race]. We’re still there.

“I’m glad that I can be a part of it, and let’s see what the last couple of weeks can bring. I hope something beautiful.”

Touted as an ideal left back, the Dutchman sustained an ACL injury in Arsenal’s season opener against Nottingham Forest. Since his injury comeback, the Arsenal U-21 coach has played him as a left-back, helping him gain match fitness; this shouldn’t be a coincidence.

Perhaps Arteta sees Jurrien Timber as his long-term left-back option, so the Arsenal U-21 manager may have gotten specific instructions on where to play the ex-Ajax player.

So, once Timber rejoins the Arsenal senior team, as he has hinted, he hopes to play in the remaining games, and we may finally witness Arteta’s perfect defensive line of White, Saliba, Gabriel, and Timber.

Sam P

Tags Arsenal defence Jurrien Timber


  1. SamP, I’m sure that Jurrien never was “touted as an ideal left back” as he’s mostly known for his Central and Right back roles, but having said that he did look pretty good there in pre-season and it would be great to see him get some real-time in before the season’s end, so fingers crossed for him…and Arsenal.

    1. My problem with him in his debut was his passing.. He caused a couple dangerous counters.. Wish him a good recovery

  2. Timber played in some U-21 games, but he might be too rusty to play in EPL. Partey wasn’t as press-resistant as before his long injury due to his lack of match-fitness, so it’d be very risky to play Timber in a such crucial stage in EPL

    Based on Timber’s inverted-LB role in those U-21 matches, he’d likely get tasked to prevent the opposing inverted-RW from cutting inside and he could also shoot with his stronger foot as Cancelo often does

    I believe Arteta wanted Tomiyasu to do those jobs on our left side of the pitch, but Tomiyasu’s ball control and shooting skills might not be as good as Timber’s

    1. @Gai you are right. Besides, it won’t be nice for him to have another injury. The pressure will be high next 3 matches let him come in next season like a new signing.

  3. Yeah, let Timber wait untill the next season. There is no need to force him out on the pitch with only three games to go. If not sudden injuries comes and threat to ruin a beautiful voyage.
    It’s the last three games that will tell us if this season in a retrospective will be looked upon as something better than the last.
    Last year’s ending was devastating: 0-3 home vs Brighton, 0-1 on the road vs Nottingham. And, when everything was over, a consolation win vs Wolves. 84 pts. Five after City.
    80 points now – nine to go.

  4. a more progressive LB like Timber may also play a role in unlocking Martinelli back to his best

    that may be in Arteta’s mind for the last 3 games too, should we fall behind or need to force a late winner, e.g. Man U at OT, I can see a double sub bringing Timber and Martinelli on as a pair in the second half

    i hope gets some time on the pitch vs Bournemouth, however like GAI I am concerned about rustiness in a full 90, but some minutes for sure before season end

  5. Play Tomiyasu as starting LB, and ease Timber in as a sub the last 20 minutes or so each match.

    Hopefully with Timber returning we are done seeing Zinchenko at LB.

    Anyone notice how erratic Gabriel becomes when Zinchenko plays? Gone is the composure and balance, and that left side is weaker for it.

    1. Yes I do notice it Durand .

      Rather like noticing that when it rains,things get wet.

      In other words, it is as you say, blindingly OBVIOUS!

      I have not yet seen a single serious minded Gooner who thinks Zinny is defensively sound at LB

    2. Because Zickenko easily forgets his responsibility as LB and play more as a midfielder. The result, Gabriel will be under pressure to cover him and he is slow but strong

  6. No am afraid he’s a huge risk, with only 3 games left I’d rather count on Zinchenko’s experience and Tomiyaso for the left back role. Then next season Timber will be like a new signing. That’s I think it’s better we sign a centre back rather than left back to rotate with Saliba and Magahales

  7. I am confident that Timber was not recruited by Arsenal to fill the “vacancy” at left back, because, prior to his transfer, he had never played in that position for Ajax nor the Dutch National side.In essence our scouting team recommended him to Arteta, because of his prowess at RB, RCB and perhaps at DM a role he played occasionally for his Club.The fact that he, and for that matter Tomi, can be effective defensively at LB does not preclude the need for us to recruit a qualty, left footed LB who can drive forward and link up with Martinelli or whoever is playing on the left wing.Sure, Timber could do a job at LB but we need to create more balance to our set up where virtually all our effective attacks evolve from the right where White and Zaka have built up a very good understanding.Timber looks a very fine player but he ought to be used as a DM or as a driving force from the right bearing in mind that Saliba and White cannot play in every match during a long, demanding season.

  8. I expect next years LB s to be mostly Timber, withTomi also used, with Kiwior still around to fill in defensive positions andhope that Zinny is let go. I can see Timber also being used as another DM to cover Rice, when needed.

    We dont IMO any longer need Zinny or Jesus at all. I am convinced both will be let go, at latest and hopefully sooner, than summer 2025.

    To my perceptive mind it is very clear that season after season MA is steadily and remorselessly UPGRADING our squad and several lesser players will be let leave this summer.
    And more still next January and esp in summer 2025.

    Unlike SOME more naive fans, whose posts appear to show they think that players can be bought and sold, “just like that”, as second hand motors are, team building and reshaping is a long and painfully slow business.

    Unless you are a club owned by a corrupt state with endless money, including for top lawyers to defend their obvious corruption in a court of law. As doubtless will be happening quite soon now.

  9. If he can play, let him play 45 minutes in what is all that is left in the league.

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