Arsenal still need a centre-back but our strike force looks great (except for contract rebels…)

If we fix the defence, Arsenal have a lot to offer up front by Konstantin

Hello lovely Arsenal people! The first round of the premier league has gone by, and although making conclusions after one game is silly, there are some things to consider. We conceded 3 sloppy goals, two from our mistakes and one from a corner. But I think this isn’t entirely the players fault.

We played 2 LB as CB when they are both really good in the LWB position. We didn’t have enough good CB to start the season just like last year. Mertesacker is retiring next season, Koscielny is 32 and Holding is still young. Gabriel is a squad player, Chambers doesn’t look like he’s in Wenger’s plans, so I still believe a new CB would be great.

The good news is there are goals in the squad and we didn’t even have Sanchez. All of our 3 strikers scored and we had impact subs ready to come on and make a difference and they did. We had Walcott, Iwobi, Grioud and Ramsey on the bench! Our squad is huge and although we cannot keep everyone happy, it’s a massive bonus, because injuries and suspensions happen.

Chelsea would’ve easily dispatched Burnley had they gotten a few experienced players on the bench, but they didn’t and it cost them. And with the ever increasing gap between the top 6, maybe 7 with Everton, beating the lesser teams becomes ever more important.

It was so good the see the fans singing Giroud’s name and the love he gave back to them at the end of the game. I love to see players celebrating like mad and enjoying the fact they play for Arsenal. Something that worries me and I could be looking too much into it is the body language of the three contract rebels.

Alexis didn’t looked impressed from the stands against Leicester and It feels like the three players are still considering their future and with the season already started I’m not sure we will be spending too much time on their contract negotiations which have dragged on forever.

Lastly I wish people who curse me in the comments all the best. I believe that turning on other Arsenal fans doesn’t help anyone and being blindsighted means you’re bound to make the same mistakes again and again, and we often do exactly that. I will continue to point out things that can improve, until we’ve won the league title, because then and only then, after 38 games we will have proven that we are the best in the land.



  1. gotanidea says:

    If Chambers is not in Wenger’s plan, then a CD is necessary. I think most fans here want VVD.

    Regarding the transfer rumors, I expect many big transfers will happen on the last days of this transfer window. I think many Arsenal players will leave.

    1. Kostafi says:

      What is a “WD” ?

      1. Kostafi says:

        And I agree with you, we don’t need another CB. We have loads, they just weren’t available on Friday night. By my count we have 7 if you count Monreal as below
        Koscielny was suspended and Mustafi was not match fit. Both should start in 2 games. Mertesacker retires at the end of the season and has done well against Chelsea twice in as many meetings. He is not a starter but an option. Chambers and Holding are learning their trade and one of them will eventually replace the BFG. The other should be kept to replace Koscielny in a year or 2. Gabriel is not our best CB, but we need depth. I like Monreal as the left of the 3 CB’s and even The Tank Kolasinac can do a job there.

        Buying impacts the future of our young CB’s and should only be in a 1 in 1 out scenario.

      2. Al the Gooner says:

        V V D… Southampton

    2. kev says:

      No CB would solve our problems.People seem to think the signing of Van Dijk will solve our problems.I’ll be back here to remind us next season that we need another defender.The system,combinations and mentality is what is wrong with Arsenal.I can see it being overlooked this season too.All we needed this season was a striker,a midfielder who’s a defensive and attacking hybrid and possibly one luxury signing .Such an easy transfer window yet Wenger makes it look difficult.I can also see Wenger being rigid with this three back system which honestly I’m not so keen on.

  2. JB says:

    Alexis is never “Happy” to be watching rather than playing, but notwithstanding that, I believe the director was calling shots of Sanchez to fit the narrative you report.

  3. Uzi Ozil says:

    I can’t wait for the day some of our dead woods will be gone before the window shut down. Jekinson, DEBUCHY, Wilshere (great player but….), Perez (a fan but not in Wengers Book)……Oh, JOEL Campbell is still an arsenal player too. Gibbs..oh men so many deadwoods In the team.

  4. GB says:

    I can’t believe that Carvalho is about to sign for West Ham! For fricks sake. Have wanted him at Arsenal for seems like 10 years. He is still only 25 and would solve our midfield problems, all of them, he is Vieira mk two.

    1. dennis10bergkamp says:

      He is huge and slow, similar to Xhaka.
      Would rather have Seri or Keita, both will have a 40M clause this year and next year.
      I would take Davinson Sanchez or Matthijs de Ligt and a DM like Seri or Keita.

      1. GB says:

        Paddy wasn’t exactly quick and it’s not all about speed (Theo?) but about reading the game, positioning, tackling, distribution and vision.

    2. ThirdManJW says:

      Yeah I would have loved him at Arsenal as well. I think Wenger must really dislike the DM position, because he badly neglects that area every season.

      1. Kostafi says:

        It is the position Wenger always neglects because he sees the DM position as a creative waste. AW expects CM’s to be able to do all CM duties- attack, defend, distribute, and create. But football has evolved with the best footballers specializing in their positions to become the best at that. In the past, a midfield partnership involved 2 CM’s sharing the load- 1 going forward while the other sits deep or ‘holds’ and then switching to give the other a breather. Today it is specialised and a midfield 2 requires a specialist. A midfield 3 in a 433 can perform with2 holding CMs with no DM but they lose something creatively.

        Wenger signing Kante imo would have been a waste for Kante and Arsenal because he would be regularly subbed off when Arsenal are chasing a game and only considered a starter in games we might have to defend more in. It is why Coq looked like a breath of fresh air after years of Song and other experiments. Even in a red card situation, AW sacrifices the DM. The reason Xhaka got a lot of bookings last season was A his rep and over anxious refs trying to stamp their authority on that rep and B he was constantly exposed by a constantly bombing forward Coq leaving him as the last man.

        We don’t need a CB, we need a defensive CM upgrade on Coq. But knowing AW, he would probably target a “ball-playing” attacking midfielder like Seri to play the role.
        Seri’s defensive stats for Nice last season were worse than Xhaka’s as per Squawka.

        1. TH14atl says:

          You make it sound as though coquelin wanted to bomb forward rather than being asked to get forward so that Xhaka could stay deeper and playmake from deeper – which seems to be Arsene’s preference from that position.
          What about coquelin’s game and what he did so well for us a DM and ballwinner next to Santi, would lead you to believe that it was his choice to suddenly play higher up the field in areas of the field that don’t suit his skill set?

    3. Krish says:

      is it like when a lot of the fans wanted M’Villa etc.? it should be a warning that he’s going to west ham.. i believe the scouting system of arsenal more than the average fans who watches one MOTM performance of a player in a single match and searches him on youtube to watch his best moments in the last years and thinks that is the next vieira, gilberto etc.

    4. ZA_Gunner says:

      Carvalho is not an improvement to what we have I’m sorry to say. If you watched his Euro’s performance then you can tell.

  5. Mathew says:

    Agree fully. It’s more vital to have a squad that evokes team spirit and positivity than a bunch of hugely efficient and talented rebels. In most of the recent games, Sanchez refused to celebrate goals by Giroud. He respects only Ozil and vice versa. In the meantime the rest of the players are getting along well and enjoying their game. Isn’t that more important /?

  6. Muff d says:

    West Ham in Advanced talks for calvalho
    We have better option in sight??

    See matic yesterday …we need that type of player and play he showed

    1. kev says:

      The deal is done.They’ve agreed a deal worth £32 for him.Who knows they might just pull out just like Monaco did when the £55 deal was agreed.
      Carvalho is set to fly for his medical on Wednesday.His release clause was £40 but they decided to sell.

      1. Joshua Bryant says:

        Kev you really need to stop putting the words “done” and “deal” together unless anything is actually signed. After all the Lemar talk i thought you would have learnt.

  7. Raoh says:

    For the CB position it depends how you look at it. But I believe we are short:
    1) Per is retiring at the end of the season
    2) Gabriel is not great on the ball and has had up and down career at the Emirates
    3) Kos is getting there age wise and his recurring achilles issue isn’t going to get better
    4) Mustafi has shown last season two different faces. One great which made his 35m fee look like a bargain and the other one made it look like the type of bad investment that you write off as soon as you can
    5) Holding his going to be an Arsenal great but with his age and lack of experience I don’t know if it wise to trust him for 36 games as a starter.
    6) Chamber for one reason or another doesn’t seem to have Wenger trust and seem like the odd man out.

    In light of that if before the end of the window Gab is sold, Chambers too and with Per retiring we will find ourselves with “only” 3 out and out CBs. Van Djik would be my pick. I also feel we are light in midfield with Ramsey injury prone as well as Elneny and Coquelin not versatile midfielders who have limited skills.

    1. ZA_Gunner says:

      Yes I agree, the centre back is not clear certainty and with players leaving and ageing we will have to look at replacements at some stage. Right now what we need a skilled midfielder that can help with transition, possession and penetration because nothing is coming from the middle while everything is coming from the wing or the by line. Getting a midfielder and a centre back are astute signings but all this is nothing if we don’t keep our players and offload some unneeded players.

  8. Billy says:

    We were promised change at the end of last season. Early signs were good, new backrom staff, and 2 early signings. One being a free transfer, reports of 100 million plus offers for Mbappe, ironically around the time for season ticket renewals. Since then nothing. No one sold, several bids for Lemar all reportedly under his value, something smell familiar.
    I wanted Wenger out for several years, however after the disruption of last season and the promise of change I was optimistic. We have just over 2 weeks to go in this window, I am hoping their will be the ins and out we need, otherwise we have been lied to again.

    1. Jibs says:

      @Billy What positions would you buy for and who?

  9. Adam Criniti says:


    Although a bit negative at times I find myself agreeing with the majority of assessments you
    make pertaining to the glaring weaknesses of this team. Although only one game, and admittedly against a squad collection of Hammers, Manure looked exceptional and demonstrated how a midfield dynamic should function with Matic and Pogba. Both were physical bullies and bossed the middle of the pitch. Frankly Arsenal doesn’t possess a duo that can physically, even technically replicate that axis. I agree that Arsenal could always use a VVD, Manolas, Tah, or Koulibaly to bolster the back line but a Carvalho/Xhaka would be my preferred choice to anchor the midfield and provide the bite and physicality that is so desperately needed.

    And while on the subject of potential transfers I think its time Arsenal removed the “Appeasement” approach on spoiled, self absorbed players and for once acted like a supposed BIG club. If the three contract rebels have unequivocally decided to concentrate on greener pastures elsewhere, sell the lot and reinvest in the squad. Popular, he’ll NO, but as many fans have stated Arsenal is bigger than any player, especially those that have chronically underachieved, spent an eternity on treatment table or demand ridiculous wages the club won’t pay.
    Personally I would…
    Sell Sanchez to PSG for $60M, buy Lemar
    Sell Ozil to Barca for $45M, buy Mahrez
    Sell Ox to Chelsea for $40M, buy Carvalho.
    Clear out what deadwoods you can and buy either Mahrez or L. Mora.



    Go ahead, crucify me if you must. Lol

    1. Adam Criniti says:

      Whoops, don’t need to buy Mahrez twice. Lol

  10. DarkGunner says:

    Why the hell are we gonna sell OX ?

    Do you guys think he wants to leave or is it because of his agent ?

    1. ZA_Gunner says:

      I can only speculate the possible reasons as no one can know for certain unless we are given information. I think the reason Ox would choose to leave is to get more assurances of playing time and perhaps assurance of playing in the position he wants to play in. If we looked at the pre-season and opening game, the Ox was constantly moved between either wings or the wing back position and this does not do well with players in general who’d prefer a defined role and position in which they can play in. I’ve mentioned before in comments that the chopping, changing and playing players out of position does not bode well for players as they don’t instil confidence in them and neither do they become accustomed to their position well. I just don’t get the notion of playing a player for the sake of playing ie: Monreal when there is Kolasinac and Bellerin when there is the Ox. Big teams make the tough decision and drop the player who does not play and play the player that is most deserving, who is most effective and in the best condition, as well as being influential to the team dynamics. Lastly perhaps he has also seen what Sanchez and Ozil have been seeing and being the reason for stalling their contract, which is a lack of ambition from the people upstairs and a lack of belief that this team and club in it’s shot-term has a chance at achieving anything better than that being offered at Chelsea.

      1. COYG_CA says:

        Bottom-line, we should not be in a position having players in the last year of a contract at this point. It tells me (a) Arsenal haven’t done enough to keep a player or (b) a player hasn’t done enough to be kept.

        Meaning, if Arsenal really wanted a player long-term, they would/should tie it up earlier. If a player is actually holding out, sell him while you can and move on. Rate the player, offer a contract, and ask to sign. No signature, sell, replace. I know a lot of people would say, it’s not that easy, but it is. Playing chicken with players’ last year is poor management.

        Regarding the Ox, I honestly don’t believe he would be able to walk on to a top 6 team and take a starting position. Not sure of his thinking, but I imagine being English definitely strengthens his value, but I do not believe he is that starter top teams are hoping to add . . .

      2. neil says:

        Sorry the last but about Ox seeing lack of ambition is bogus… he has been oretty average for a number of hears although still young.. he was given a new role within this back 3 formation and now Arse al doesnt match his ambition.. we could and perhaos should have sold him before when he was not very good.. however now he has been shown some faith he should reward it by staying… certainly dont help Chelsea out like they have helped Man Utd with Matic !

    2. GB says:

      Paddy wasn’t exactly quick and it’s not all about speed (Theo?) but about reading the game, positioning, tackling, distribution and vision.

    3. GB says:

      I agree with you as apparently close to a deal with Chelsea for £35 mil just as he is showing good form for us all over the pitch. Wenger must be a nob to let him go but having said that, in last year of contract and he wants out.

    4. Al the Gooner says:

      Money, we are still facing losing over 150m in players next summer for nothing. It makes some sense to lose 50m and keep Sanchez, but would Arsenal FC really agree to lose around 150m? With 2 weeks to go the players/agents hold ALL the cards.
      It’s a similar situation with the deadwood who we are only getting low-ball offers for. The club will have to suck it up and lose a lot of money on Lucas, Wilshire, Gibbs, Jenks and Debuchy or face paying them many millions (I’d estimate a total of 10m at least) in wages for nothing. Other teams know we have to sell and can just wait us out.
      The club has really screwed up big time.

      1. COYG_CA says:

        I would give you 2 thumbs-up if able, couldn’t agree with you more. This entire mess is self-inflicted.

  11. Waal2waal says:

    our contract rebels send out the wrong message to the spuds (among others) a message saying we are not a settled outfit, something which by the looks of of it they’re already appear settled.

    it could be the test for this season ahead is one of attrition, who’ll be blighted most by injuries or worn out with fatigued and depleted team.

    (and by analogy) its gonna be like a formula#1 race marked by which of our strikers remains fit and who returns from injury table (pit stop) the fastest.

  12. S. Pradhan says:

    Surely a defensive midfielder who can cover a lot of ground & a good tackler is what we need . That would make our defense better and let our attackers play with more freedom.
    Look at what Kante did for Leicester & Chelsea.

  13. GB says:

    Reports we are going to hijack Sanchez from Ajax before spuds get him.

    1. Waal2waal says:

      i read it and thought to myself we do need to put the spanner in on this deal so as spuds make no more ground up on us than they have already. im sure bergkamp is at ajax – to scupper this deal.

  14. Thierryzil says:

    Why aren’t we looking at bringing Nzonzi in?! Dude is huge, understands the league and is the destroyer we need.

    Saw Matic run the show in midfield for Utd y’day.

    Maybe all we need is more cover for the defense. And I think Nzonzi is an upgrade on both No Elneny and Coquelin.

    People will argue that him and Xhaka will be a too static midfield. But I beg to differ. Xhaka if freed of defensive duties does look good. A case in point was his contribution on Friday night.

  15. Al the Gooner says:

    I took the display on Friday as positive as we are not likely to call upon those 3 as CB’s again in a hurry. There are obvious concerns over the fitness of players like Kos but we should be able to cover the situation with the current options of Kos, Per, Monreal, Holding and Gabs. It would be nice to see us buy VVD but I don’t see Wenger spending that much on a defender. I would like to see another option in the center though, a better defensive option.

    1. Al the Gooner says:

      Missed Mustafi, obviously

  16. Al the Gooner says:

    Is no one else remotely concerned that Arsenal FC appear to have so monumentally screwed up with contracts that we could lose close to the amount Monaco want for Mbappe, possibly as much as a Neymar?
    Jenks, Wilshire and Gibbs all have their contracts up and could leave for free next summer. Their combined wages must be around 7m a year and we could potentially sell them for a minimum of 22-23m. Lucas is worth a minimum of 13m, Debuchy is only a couple of million, but both have large wages totaling somewhere around 6-7m. The total there is probably over 50m so far. Then there is Ox 35m, Ozil 45m and Alexis at 55m in potential sales, and those are possibly serious underestimates.
    We are looking at an outright loss of at the very least 185m if nothing more happens before the window closes. I am not convinced the shareholders will agree to that

  17. Milton John says:

    We need to sign Rugani ASAP because he’s young, experienced from Juventus, and more over an Italian basically the best factory for defenders globally. Koscielny is 32 so can’t expect many more than one year without injuries. Mustafi is not a leader who can marshall the defense. Per will retire next year. Need many more signings because we need to offload Gibbs, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Campell this year itself otherwise they all will be free to leave. Same applicable for Alexis, Ozil, Wilshere, Ospina, Chamberlain. So it’s going to be all new team which will take a lot more time may be a season or two to gel together. To avoid this situation bring Seri, Lemar, Goretzka and Rugani this year. So at least half of the team will be ok by the end of this season.

  18. amb98 says:

    I feel we need a centre back but don’t think we’ll get one. Yes Monreal and Kolasinac can play as CB but I would rather they fight for the LWB role. Would like Manolas/VVD/Koulibaly/De Vrij. Alongside a new signing, a lot of work needs to be done on the training ground, as a team our defensive organisation is not good enough. However, I have a gut feeling that Gibbs will end up staying and Wenger will move Monreal to CB permanently with Gibbs being Kolasinac’s back up.

  19. Midkemma says:

    Not a bad article indeed K, a good read.
    I feel like hell has frozen over, K is praising our players while I am about to slate Wenger XD

    Wenger was the reason we conceded those 3 goals.
    Bellerin hasn’t been in form yet he was preferred to play RWB instead of The Ox who has been in form, Bellerin lost the ball numerous times and it put pressure on Holding.
    Then there was playing Monreal at Central CB, he is not experienced enough to lead CBs, he makes a great LCB due to his understanding of LB role and that is where he should have played.
    Holding should have been trusted in the central CB role while giving Chambers a chance to fight for the rCB spot, a place he should be seeing as his own in the near future as he can play well at CB and RB, knowing that right hand side.

    Holding suffered from Wengers bad team selection, having a frustrated Monreal lead the backline must have been difficult for someone who hasn’t got the experience to rely upon yet.

    Kos and Per will be available for the next game right?
    Let us see what the def will be like with an experienced player in the middle again before passing judgment on if we need defenders, I still think we have enough if Wenger plays them correctly.

  20. Vlad says:

    Jeezus… what is it with people and CB’s? “Mertesacker is retiring next season, Koscielny is 32 and Holding is still young” – keywords here “next season”, “32”, “young”. You also forgot Mustafi. So why would we get another CB? When Mert retires, sure. When Kosc is no longer able to play, sure. But why now?! Mert, Kosc, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal, Chambers, Gabriel – that’s 7 people fighting for 3 spots! Unreal. I guess some people are never pleased. We need a replacement for Santi – that should have been our first and foremost priority. We still haven’t addressed it, and if anything is going to cost us the title, it’s that. I’m also not entirely convinced by Cech lately, and I don’t rate Ospina. Hopefully Lehmann can teach those guys a thing or two. And last, but not least I want to talk about your “I believe that turning on other Arsenal fans doesn’t help anyone” crappola. Take a look at yourself, Konstantin, in the mirror first. You’re the biggest hypocrite of all. You are the one turning on the manager, players, and fans. Stop with all the negativity, stop with the hate, and start supporting the club the way it’s supposed to be done.

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