Who should Arsenal try as makeshift centre-back against Newcastle clash

Arsenal have major worries over their defensive issues ahead of our clash with Newcastle, with doubts over both Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, and with Rob Holding suspended.

White has been out since picking up a hamstring injury prior to our recent win over West Ham, but was an unused substitute for the loss at Tottenham last night.

That match saw us lose Rob Holding to a suspension after he picked up two yellow cards, meaning he will now miss the clash with Newcastle on Monday, while Gabriel limped off and will need to be assessed to see if he will be available also.

Arteta confirmed after that he didn’t know the condition of the Brazilian defender, whilst adding that White hasn’t been able to train yet since returning to the squad.

He told Arsenal Media after the full-time whistle: “Gabi is normally not a player who wants to or asks to come off the pitch, he felt something and hopefully it’s not much, because having Rob out and Ben with no training sessions, obviously we are really short in that position.”

We could well see one of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Mo Elneny or Granit Xhaka having to fill in at centre-back on Monday depending on the conditions of White or Gabriel, but you would imagine that White would at least be back, which may allow us to continue with a back four.

Our numbers in central midfield are an issue also, which doesn’t make it any easier to consider using one of Elneny or Xhaka out of position, which could lead us to taking a risk on the condition on one of White or Gabriel even if they aren’t at 100%.

If one player had to play out of position at CB on Monday, who would you choose?


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Video – Mikel Arteta on Tottenham, the referee and bad news on Gabriel

Tags Ben White Gabriel Magalhaes Mikel Arteta Newcastle


  1. Cedric and Holding in defence was a disaster waiting to happen, Arteta played straight into Conte’s hands, still so much to learn, you sort of wonder what Conte could have done at Arsenal, 12 games lost is unacceptable, and yet this is supposed to progress, last night was a shambles, with Newcastle away on Monday suddenly our CL qualification looks so far away. We can not afford a draw unless Burnely do us a huge favour and hold Spurs even beating them, but we may have blown it

  2. White was on the bench last night so will start on Monday alongside Tomi, Cedric and Tavares at FB is the worry…

  3. Tavares, white tomiyasu, cedric

    Tomiyasu elnenay, white cedric

    Please do not pup xaka in the back.

  4. Tomi has to be the one to make the switch, and Tavares come on as LB. He’s not the solid defender we want, but playing Xhaka or Elneny out of position as a CB is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Hopefully White is fit enough to play, but can’t afford Xhaka as a CB or LB, and we need Elneny in the midfield, not sure if Lokanga is ready to deliver with us needing wins these last 2 matches.

  5. All too easy Gooner P. Simple solution is put Ramsdale in the centre of defence and Leno in-between the sticks. Newcastle won’t see that coming. Would be a great distraction

    1. That was a joke. Seriously, if White is fit, then Tomiyasu should partner White in the centre of defence. Tomiyasu does play a centre back role for his country of Japan. Cedric to play right back. Travares on the left. Only problem with Travares there, is that it’s a hindrance to the way Martinelli likes to play. Could play with a three. But then, we are not playing Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea. We could have played a back three against Tottenham Hotspur

  6. That is always Arsenal story.Injury knocks at wrong time when we need to win crucial games.
    Can we afford a makeshif defence against a vey solid offensive Newcastle?hmmmm…
    Should we be consoling ourselves that at least we will play in Europe even though is not they type we want?
    I am not being pessimistic but just preparing myself ahead.

    1. Why is arsenal always short in numbers whenever one or two players are injured. None of the players is made of steel.

  7. I see Ben white and Gabriel Manghalles pairing it out again on Monday , its the Everton game I’m more worked about.

    1. I think Gabriel and holding will be fine. Saka hasn’t been himself. We could prob afford to play him as a left back and play smith-Rowe in his spot. Taveres is a liability. If we’re missing either white or Gabriel, we should def move saka back and let tomi play CB

  8. Why not blood one of the U23’s. They surely would give 100% and give them some wonderful experience!

    1. I agree 100%. Give them a run, it couldn’t be worse than it already is.
      Let’s do a Wenger style attack , attack, attack , let the defence do the little they can but we attack all night.

  9. Sorry, but this is where I feel I can question Mikel’s decision making.
    We let Chambers, Bellerin, Mari, Saliba, Mavs and AMN – all defenders – go out on loan or sold and we didn’t sign anyone to replace them in the January transfer window, especially with Tierney’s and Partey’s injury record well documented.
    I hope I’m wrong of course, but the question has to be asked, WHY?

    1. All the players you mentioned are toxic and dross. At least that’s what we we’re told

    2. “Inexperience” is the answer to your question of why Ken. An experienced manager knows that injuries can happen at anytime, or suspensions, covid, any number of things making players unavailable.

      If you notice, how many other clubs decimated their roster down to the bare bones like Arsenal did in January?

      Chambers could play CB, RB, and DM; wouldn’t you rather have him as an option as opposed to Xhaka or Elneny as a CB?

      Tomi and Chambers could be the CB’s, AMN could have been an option as a backup FB or in midfield. Would another 6 months of Chambers salary killed the club? Would it have hurt our transfer kitty this Summer?

      Point being Arteta showed his inexperience in thinking we could get by the 2nd half of the season by wholesale cuts to the roster, all while fighting it out for a top 4 spot.

      Sure we can blame players for a dreadful performance, but manager deserves the blame also for a squad struggling for having enough players in proper positions.

      1. Gentlemen, it seems we are all in agreement – but be careful, as we might be accused of having an agenda against the boss!!!

    3. all right decisions to let those players tho. maybe couldve kept AMN around, but elneny has luckily stepped up in his absence.

  10. Chickens now coming home to roost, with our small squad, AT LEAST OF ANY QUALITY Reliably fit and quality defenders at our club are still in very short supply BASICALLY only Ramsdale and Gabriel. Even Gabriel is not always fit.

    Tierney is quality but hardly ever fit. Is he worth keeping therefore? Marginal at best, as he is seldom fit! Remember DIABY!!!

    No January signings are now costing us, as many of us thought was inevitable, at that time.

    1. Fair play to you Jon, you mentioned your concerns in January with the wholesale roster cuts, and you don’t make any excuses for the consequences we are now suffering.

      A situation of the club’s own creation, and it could possibly cost us CL football next year.

  11. Something seriously wrong at Arsenal have to be the most injury prone team in the league even with one game a week they struggle to field the same 11.. these guys would injure themselves walking up a flight of stairs. I’ll fill in at CB on Monday night no worries 😄

        1. Exactly. The moment they changed it to WWE and went full stage acting mode, it lost all appeal to me. Thought I was the only one

          1. Definitely not the only one mate, I used to love it when I was younger when they had the Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair and legion of doom etc it can’t be taken seriously now even Tyson Fury is making appearances these days lol

    1. Because they boss the midfield and open up defences … we have no choice at least in arteta’s mind unfortunately which is why the last 10 games have delivered only half the points on offer!!! Shades of Emery

  12. Yes Holding was naive to commit those fouls but to blame him for the defeat is also naive. The team is defensively poor and the manager could have tweaked the team to play better after the red card. Only last week Leeds had a red card against us but from there corrected their errors and played better. How Arteta and Edu let versatile players like AMN and Chambers leave whilst trusting Cedric and Tavares is worrying. The team has been playing very poorly of late with only wins against out of form teams (Man Utd, Chelsea, and Leeds).

    Mari had one poor game against Lukaku but how many poor games have the White and Gabriel had and still play. Mari is very composed and better than White, Holding and Gabriel.

    Looking at the difference between the second best team in the league and us on fourth shows that we are still very far. We wasted the transfer funds as all the five players we bought are not better than what we had. The defence is still leaking a high amount of goals whilst the goals are getting fewer and fewer.

    We face the danger of failing to win the last two games as apart from the U23 team we have no one who can play CB left from our first team.

    On another note we are giving into the off season with no striker on our books except Balogun. That’s what we are getting from Edu and Arteta.

    1. Simba I agree but a lot of people will say the defence is fixed, it’s best not to argue though because apparently Arteta edu and Vinai are doing an absolute amazing job and they won’t hear any criticism.. we’re toxic, negative, reactionary, and not real supporters if we dare to criticize.

    2. They let players go in the name of reducing the wage bill and gave us the excuse that the players are toxic, average and not needed. But by doing so, they’ve put our hopes of qualifying for the CL in serious jeopardy as the squad is too thin. Saka has been played to the ground and has been sh*t for some weeks now, while Pepe cannot even be used to give Saka some rest. Anyway, I rather pay players their wages and qualify for the CL than not pay them and qualify for the Europa League. Edu has a case to answer

  13. It’s great that we have something to fight for in the last matches of the season. Spurs have a tough game against Burnley, who will be fighting for survival. And Norwich last game in the prem before going down in front of their fans, will not be easy. I think we will beat Newcastle on Monday, just got a gut feeling about it, which I did not have against spurs…

    I put my neck on the line way earlier in the season and said “we would get 5th with a chance of 4th with a few games to go” which has happened. (Could still be 3rd place)

    It’s 50,50 now to get fourth. But this feels like Emery season where we blew it to get fourth. And in both cases this is down to us, not the teams we play against, those flipping 3 games where we should of picked up points may come back to haunt us…

    Still I love the nervous energy I’m feeling and hopefully our team especially the forward players will take their chances on Monday, keep believing people 💪🤞💪

  14. Ramsdale
    Cedric Tomi Tavares
    Saka Elneny Xhaka Martineli
    Nkethia Laca ESR

    Sacrifice creativity and setup for counter attack as Newcastle also prefers attacking nowadays.

  15. Tomiyasu White Gabriel Tavares. We need Tomi at right back to deal with Saint Maximum, which going back to yesterday’s game was a mistake not to have him on the same side as Son. However If Gabi isn’t fit then move him to centre back and bring Cedric in at right back. Promote Rekik to the bench, he at least has experience playing for Tunisia at senior level.

    1. Just please don’t put Xhaka in the back. If arteta want fans to come around to xhaka, last thing he needs is a red and being the reason top 4 ends. The meltdown and abuse would be insane

  16. But how will all these lamentations which are being lamented by some of us Gooners going to help Arsenal in their next match away to Newcastle next Monday night, if one or both White and Gabriel is or aren’t available for the match? And Arsenal MUSt still have to win the match to keep their top4 place finish hopes this season alive.

    Nevertheless, I think and believeThat Mikel Arteta the Arsenal manager will resolve the issue successfully before or on matchday if it at all the issue dose arise. Which at the end will see the Gunners who he will field for the match win it. To thereby keep the pessimists quiet.

  17. Typical Arsenal Fans,…
    Ever NEGATIVE…..this time last week…it was all celebration all along…
    A loss….Back to the DEFAULT mode…
    Why not let the games play out first?
    Everybody wants to the the ALPHA analyst here….saying I TOLD YOU.
    This is what I know of a lot of fans here..
    Even if we make the champions league..some still won’t be happy.
    We don’t even know the Boards plans yet.

    You think if we make the champions league…you think there won’t be reinforcement so we don’t drop at least?

    Common enough of this negativities…Enough…

    I know we’ll say the bollocks cliche ” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…blah blah blah”

    If a neutral person comes here to this page, he/she will think we are in the relegation battle..
    And don’t get started on “oh how our standard have come low”

    Cut the b*lls*it…This is a new every club in the premier league aren’t having it their way….The only consistent teams are Liverpool and Mancity.
    Even Chelsea this year haven’t racked as much point as us in this second half of the season.

    For me…I pray we make the champions league so Arteta can get funds to buy more players…
    My judgement starts in the first 6 months of next season.

    It’s at that point I can judge him.

  18. Do you know why other fans make mockery of us? Because we always berate our players. We have never given them chance when odds are against them. This players with Arteta is over achieving and give credit when due. Arsenal have won more game than any other team bar city and Liverpool yet they get criticized. Look at united team and where they are, yet their fans still stuck with them. That is a true fan base. We are all loving them this week, alm it takes is a one bad result everyone of us is bashing them. Tell me? How do you expect other fans,pundit to respect our players if we don’t respect them? English media and English people is biased against Arsenal and that is not even a debate. But these players have stuck together through good and bad times. I believe in our players. And I see people batching Arteta and saying he can’t me mentioned in the same bracket as kloop,conte blah blah blah. Fyi this is Arteta’s first managerial work. Fyi what success did kloop, conte archived in their first job? And at Arteta’s age? Please be fair in your judgement and how ever you look at it, spurs is not lifting any title soon. The English media can shove their bias up their assess. I believe in this team, through good and bad times. My fav all time great is wrighty he’s a true model of a fan. Never ever have I seen him discredit this team. He criticizes them when necessary but never has he discredit the work they have put in this season. I AM ARSENAL THROUGH AND THROUGH. IN GOOD AND IN BAD TIMES.

  19. I hope Gabi and White will be ready for the CB, Tomi and Tava on sides.

    If that’s not happening then we have to play with Tomi and White as CB, Tava and Cedric on sides.

    If our offense was ready then we don’t need to worry much about the defence and we can play as: 3 6 1 or 3 5 2 with the side players helping the defenders when we are in defence. But I think MA prefers to play with 4 defenders and I should agree with this because it’s not time to change the whole formation and roles of the players.

    CL is waiting .. it’s in our hands to qualify .. GO ARSENAL!

  20. Tomiyasu and White centrally. That leaves Cedric and Tavarez at WB. Unless playing Saka as R wingback and bringing in ESR.
    Holding is a one paced carthorse who was suckered…..what a dumb plonker. Cedric is Mr Average, runs hot and cold. Two cup finals coming against teams with a lot to play for. Give every bit if juice guys and forget the ‘Shmuck’, Holding, who was a puppet on Conte’s string.

  21. As well as concentrating on who we have available to make up a back four. In such a vital game, we should also concern ourselves with those playing in front of them. Whatever the makeshift defence, they’ll only be as effective as those doing their defensive roles in ahead of them.

    The midfield and attack have to provide enough of a threat offensively and, where necessary the defensive qualities to protect the back four from any assault. The game shouldn’t rest on the backs of our defence and I am definitely not advocating sitting behind the ball en mass. But if needed everyone should share the burden of protecting our goal as though it was life or death.

    I suspect the whole team will be a bag of nerves Monday and it will become quite a ragged and disjointed game. Goals could come against us, at the expense of mistakes rather than craft.

    Regardless, I’m looking forward to these final two games and what they might yield in terms of any European football next term!

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