Arteta urged to decide on his best back four and stick with them

Arsenal has looked shaky at the back for much of this season and that is one reason why they are struggling in mid-table at the moment.

Mikel Arteta has a wealth of defensive options at his disposal, yet he has struggled to find his perfect back-four combination.

He signed Gabriel Magalhaes in the summer, adding the Brazilian to the likes of Pablo Mari, David Luiz and Rob Holding as options at the Emirates.

Yet the Spaniard still doesn’t have an established partnership at the back and rotates his options.

Injuries and other factors have contributed to the reason why Arteta hasn’t been able to use and retain a defence partnership.

Looking at what the Gunners need to make their team better, Mirror Football journalist Ibrahim Mustapha reckons they need to find a settled back four.

Mustapha explained that some of the problems they are suffering would be sorted if they find a centre-back partnership and play them long enough to build an understanding.

He wrote: “Injuries and suspensions clearly haven’t helped but Arteta’s constant chopping and changing of his backline is at least partly to blame for his side’s ongoing defensive woes.

“Sure, passing the ball straight to the opposition is avoidable but these mistakes are always likely to occur when you pick a different, unfamiliar lineup every single game.

“It may be tough given the inconsistencies of the personnel but the manager needs to decide who his ‘best’ defence is and make sure they play together regularly enough to build an understanding.

“Until Arsenal and Arteta know their best back four then the problems will persist.”

Tags Arsenal defence


  1. Sound philosophy. Who can imagine great past managers constantly choosing to change the best available back four!

    A settled defence is a long lasting football wisdom and I disagree with MA changing, UNLESS FOR INJURIES, which has only sometimes been the reason.

  2. Two top class CB’s who never get injured and who never get tired is a rarity in a 55 match season plus Internationals.
    Ideally a team has two decent options in every position plus an academy player who can do a job if called upon.
    So I would say we need 4 CB’s who stay together 5 years or more to gain the necessary combinations.
    However 2 top keepers 4 top full backs + 2 DM are needed to aid the defence.
    Further forward 2/3 exit play makers, 2/3 wingers , 2/3 AM + 2/3 Strikers are necessary to score goals.
    So 22 top players and 11 U21 players as cover are required. 33 players.
    We actually have 30 senior players on the books and 30 Academy players as well so plemty to choose from.60 Arteta is definitely the man to build this squad the next 3 seasons.
    All good at Arsenal.

  3. I don’t think Arteta is anywhere near having what he would consider a finished product, and is using the rest of this season in the League to measure what really needs to be done in the next couple of transfer windows to get a team that can do what he’s asking of them. Therefore I think there will still be quite a lot of departures / signings / re-jigging until maybe it begins to settle down next season.

  4. New Keeper
    Saliba holding mavropanos
    Nelson Partey Smith Rowe
    Saks. Martinelli
    Apart from odergaard these are AFC players bring back guendouzi willock nketiah balogun and more in our youth
    So clear the decks and let’s buy a new keeper

  5. the back four a new

    he experimenting and find the best combination….

    this is normal for managers trying to rebuild

  6. 2 right footed centre backs can play together so why not 2 left sided. Mari and Gabriel are just about our best 2 cente backs available so give it a go.

    We play a right footed left back when Tierney is unavailable, I just don’t understand why he (Arteta) would not try it, everything else has failed. Also what does the keeper need to do to get dropped? Partey is clearly not up to the levels his transfer fee suggests, ditto Pepe and Auba is not earning his salary or captains armband.

    As for Arteta he is clearly out of his depth, he has lost the players confidence, by trying to make average players play a style that is beyond their skill set and upset too many with his management style.

    The club is being run by an owner that has no interest, a manager that don’t know what to do and a Captain that is more concerned about, money, cars and new bloody hair styles.

    What a mess! Change is needed before Thursday.

  7. What stupid talk. Totally ignoring injuries to Luiz and Mari currrntly. Chambers for 2/3 season. Gabriel for spells. Tierney repeated outs.
    Pointless article. Nothing could be done

  8. Arteta’s decision to part company with Saliba was, in my view, his worse decision as manager. This egregious error, sent a clear message to the squad that playing preferences will be given the older players, (Luiz included), at any cost to the club. Was there really any doubt we would struggle against Liverpool yesterday without ESR and Xhaka? From the moment I saw the starting line-up, I knew it was going to be a disaster…..and I’m not even a coach.
    Arteta doesn’t seem to realize that the future of this club has to be based on our young prospects simply because Kroenke will not be playing “sugar daddy”. We, therefore, need a new coach who will accept this as a reality and try to rebuild the squad around our young players – Balogun, Martinelli, Saliba, Xhaka, ESR and others.

  9. Next season I would like to see…

    Matt Ryan
    Cedric…. Mavropanos…. Saliba…. Tierney

    Mari and Holding as rotation options.

    The rest of the defenders i.e. Chambers, Bellerin, Gabriel plus the keeper (Leno) are simply not Arsenal standard!!!!

  10. Mustapha has hit the nail on the head with his article.Great sides are invariably based on a regular keeper behind a solid back four which changes only through injury or an element of rotation when games come thick and fast.Unfortunately, the 5 centre backs in our pool are not top quality and the same applies to our right backs.Initially I had high hopes for Gabriel, but as he demonstrated on Saturday, he is far from the finished article ,and sided by our keeper, he was culpable for two of the Liverpool goals.Individual mistakes are made, even by the top centre backs, but the prevalence of errors made by our lot and our GK, are simply not acceptable for a team with aspirations to challenge for trophies.Like many on JA ,I was disappointed when the decision was made to loan out Saliba, but on a brighter note, both he and Mavroponas are playing every week, and by all accounts are doing well.Like Darren Blakey highlighted earlier ,youth is the way ahead for our Club in these troubled times and hopefully Saliba and Mavroponas will become a mainstay of our back four next season.As I have said on numerous occasions, the most alarming aspect of this Arsenal squad is the lack of pace in defence and midfield.Had Saka and ESR player against Liverpool they would not have enjoyed their pace and energy which was so sadly missing.Certain of our youngsters are not up to top EPL, standard, the hard working Nketiah being one of them, but at the very least they can deliver effort and energy which can to an extent offset their lack of technical ability.Apart from the Europa Cup, the season is gone, and provides After a with an ideal opportunity to try out these youngsters in the remaining League matches.

  11. While I’m not a Xaka fan his absence on Saturday against Liverpool was obvious to see when one considers the players that stood in for him namely Cebbelos and Elneny then Xaka any day the other two are just not talented nor gifted to be playing for Arsenal

  12. We have been very bad the last number of games slow and messy from the kickoff ,have got out of jail a few times most players look like their on the beach already. We have no spine up the middle and look leaderless .Back to the drawing board again .Up THE GUNNERS

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