BBC David Ornstein reveals the sorry state of the Arsenal defence

The BBC reporter David Ornstein, who is highly regarded by most Arsenal fans for his scoops has sent out a flurry of tweets today giving various updates on the current transfer situation at the club.

A couple of the tweets covered the Arsenal defence.

Breaking that down there are four conclusions that can be drawn from his tweets.

Arsenal is in discussions with Rennes over possible Laurent Koscienly departure.
Arsenal want to sell Shkodran Mustafi but he does not want to leave
Arsenal retain an interest in Kieran Tierney
Arsenal hope to bolster central defence pre-deadline

And that is it.

No massive revelations, nothing we did not already know and is basically confirmation that our defence is in a mess.

I suppose it is a case of perception.

A positive way of looking at it is to say that Koscienly and Mustafi are on their way out and Tierney and a central defender are set to sign.

A negative way to look at those tweets is Mustafi will refuse to leave, Koscienly will probably leave but no replacement on the cards and the Tierney saga just drags on.

But the truth is we are no further down the road of sorting out our defence today than we were yesterday or even a week or ago.

The club has had all summer to sort out the defence, they knew Mustafi was a liability, they knew how much Celtic wanted for Tierney, they knew Koscienly wanted to leave and they knew we needed a new central defender, possibly even two.

As I say, it all depends on perception but for me, Ornstein tweets just confirm to me the sorry state of our defence.


  1. Jeez! What is the matter with you? We are about to announce signing one of the hottest wingers around, and confirmation that the club is working to reshape the defence, and your take is this dose of negativity. I’m beginning to think some arsenal supporters just enjoy being in a perpetual state of negativity that you suck joy out of any bit of good news!

    1. Nothing negative about pointing out our main problem last season ,most fans will agree that should be our priority this window .
      As much as Pepe is a great signing he’s not going to help us not concede goals .

      1. Unless our approach is to try to outshoot the opposition! I also think we should have spent that money on bolstering the defense.

    2. I totally agree with you. If Arsenal my club can pop out to sign a 72 mill player in (Pepe) then I am confident we have already spotted a defender. These days it is better not to drag media attention for a player you haven’t agreed on. This admin is very negative in nature. Josh has already said be “BE HAPPY”

      For Arsenal that I know we are doing good on the transfer front and our conduct is much better than some others. Defenders are on their way.

  2. or why not just look at it objectively and see that the club are trying to offload 2 players (one that is not up to scratch and another who wants out) and are trying to bring two players in.

    Whether it happens or not is another matter but at least we are addressing and working on areas that are currently problematic. We will just have to wait and see how these 4 transfers work out.

    It seems recently most articles on this site have a very negative slant on them.

    Yes, there is work to be done at the club but this doom mongering is getting beyond a joke. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the work that is currently being done by our new management structure is so far looking very promising.

    1. Will, I totally agree with your post. If transfers in and out were so easy, why is it that there has not been a lot of activity by other clubs?
      One should applaud the business so far and see how the Tierney, CB and other transfers in and the transfers out go by the end of this transfer window.

  3. This is not negative at all. Both those players need to go, and the club recognizes this. The fact there is any interest in Mustafi is a complete miracle. But now we know there is more than one club that wants him. Happy days if we can get him out along with Kos, then wrap up Tierney. Sidenote, Pepe has been pictured at London Colney. Seems like we will get this announced today or tomorrow. 😀

    1. RSH, the problem with Mustafi is that, if he digs his heels in and wants to fight for his place and refuses to leave, there is not much Arsenal can do.

  4. I don’t know what the article is about, but what I know is …. Our defense last term wouldn’t have been that bad if only and if only Rob never got injured. But that’s a distant “if’s and but’s”. Now, we gonna have Chambers, Rob in due time and Salina next season, so what if the Boss went AWOL and we Monaco sweeps Mustafi off ( thank God in advance if) , after all a defense without Mustafi is an upgrade in itself. Anyway, I’m wasted, for now, see you. INVISIBLE

    1. @Invisible I have the same feeling. a defense without Mustafi is an upgrade itself indeed!!!!!!

  5. We must understand that a few good signings have happened or are happening so far in this window. Sure, there is a lot more to be done but we are on the right track. Don’t expect the club to come in with a magic wand and fix everything in an instant. Have some perspective guys.

  6. I am super excited about the signing of Pepe (assuming this will happen). But to be honest I think we would have been better off if we would have found a CD for that kind of money.

    The fact we have not strengthened our back four and in particular added one or two capable CD’s is hard to imagine.

    Kos was still our best CD last season once he got back into the swing of things, Sokartes lacks judgement and skill, Mustafi lacks everything, Emery doesn’t trust Mavropanos, wants to let go of Bieilk and is hoping for Holding to come back to his previous level which is not a certainty and won’t happen till year-end.

    It is unimaginable we don’t bring in a CD. I’m thinking we will I just worry about his level.

    Pepe alone will not fix our defensive problems.

    1. Sip, how can you state that Emery “does not rate Mavropanos” when the player has hardly played due to injury?
      Apparently Bielik has been sold to Derby County for £10 million, but there is no information about a buy back clause.

      1. I don’t substantiate my every post and I draw my conclusions based on what I read and observe. Obviously, I don’t have first-hand information.

        I read an article this summer which pointed out that apparently, Emery is worried about Mavro’s development which explained to me why he didn’t use him last season even when Mavro was available, which frustrated me since I rather see `Mavro than Mustafi.

      2. There was one article about this in the Metro on July 12 and one in April on and then David Ornstein was quoted as saying this 18 days ago on Gunner Live.

        After reading references three-times I believed it might well be true if you add his lack of game time when available.

  7. 2 seasons ago, the world knew liverpool had a bad defence and calamity goalie but with a scary attack liverpool reach ucl final, that is to tell you how a good attack could help a shitty defence, we may not sign a specialist CB this summer but with pepe forming one of the scary attack, am confident we can do a liverpool by winning europa and top 4, then next summer with saliba and a another marque defence signing we will be competing for league.
    I hope united isnt banking on signing Auba after loosing Lukaku, bcos its seem they will be in the market for a striker soon

  8. I don’t know what arsenal is planning but I would love one more new winger in this team. Yes, I’m talking about Everton Soares. It’s being long we have such a player on our book and he is going to be a revelation in epl. I’m so ecstatic that we get Pepe, I mean if we get him eventually and not Zaha. I have been having dreams of him on the right and Soares on the left. I will have to worries knowing those two are up there without Mustafi and Xhaka behind them. I do have one ultimate worry though and that is I’m not sure if Emery can utilize those crop of the players like Pep and Klopp will do.

    1. I have a feeling Arsenal will sell Auba and sign soares.. I would if I was in charge.. if Utd come with good money, Auba will be gone.. soares will be more suited to the LW role than Auba..

      1. You would sell a proven golden boot winner in PL for an unknown quantity? Why take such an unnecessary gamble?

        Sell Iwobi and use funds for Everton Soares, that’s what I would do if I was in charge. Soares more suited to LW than Iwobi, and I don’t think Iwobi will improve with Arsenal.

        Maybe Iwobi can improve with another club, but I’d rather see the opportunities given to Nelson, Martinelli, and Saka, than wasted on Iwobi.

        1. You mad.selling to that scum. You mgt be rgt but not to our rival ffs. As for Everton soares.a big fat yes..! I’m looking at pepe & soraes on both wings

      2. Thank god you are not in charge even as highly as i rate and wish soares would sign too.

        Remember josh said expensive player ……mmmm

      3. 0% chance Auba is going anywhere. And giving him to United just to sign Everton would be the worst decision we could make.

        1. With Nicholas Pepe more or less nailed on and Cabellous in midfield we’ve now got two weeks to sought out the defence. Tierney, I expect will be done, now for a central defender.

      1. Aubameyang will not be sold. Contract extensions with Aubameyang and Lacazette will probably be negotiated at the end of the transfer window.
        Don’t be surprised if Edu brings Everton Soares to the Emirates by the end of the window.

  9. Negative or merely realistic? Defense was clubs achilles heel, and all Summer nothing done to improve it. Kos situation drags on, and looking like he’s played his last for Arsenal.

    Very exciting with Pepe, don’t get me wrong, but FFS i can’t understand not improving the defense. Stop messing about and get Tierney done, with Bellerin we can be set at FB for 6-8 years.

    1. Durand, in all honesty other clubs seem to be having trouble negotiating transfers this window.

  10. I really don’t get fans and the media.
    Do you guys really think getting another player for the CB position will alleviate our defensive issues? Unless we’re looking to loan a CB which makes more sense.

    It might help with backups in case of injuries, but our defensive problems are mostly due to tactics and strategy. Personnel comes in later, and that later is Saliba next season.

    Think about it, a defense needs a long term solid CB pairing, and I suspect Arsenal are looking towards Holding and Saliba. If we buy another CB then what do we do with him and the Holding & Saliba pairing next season?

    Let’s be logical, getting a good CB and plugging them into a bad defensive organisation won’t solve anything.

    Fans and media are throwing logic out the window and basing everything on their feelings.

    When last did Arsenal have a proper defence? But we change the CB personell and we’re still sh*te in defending. Hell we make Smalling and Jones look decent, surely it must be our tactics and not just down to buying CB after CB

    1. CannonSpike I think our defensive problems are also a result of personal errors not just of tactics. Mustafi has made many such errors as has Sokrates.

      1. Lack of a solid defensive game plan will lead to individual errors.

        Explain to me how some teams who are generally lower in the table than us have better defensive records but you never hear of big European teams gunning for those defenders?

        The defensive game is 80% strategy and tactics and the other 20% individual, why else don’t defenders win the Ballon’ Dor so much?

        We need a strategy not another CB, Liverpool had to change their defensive tactics and Van Dijk turned into a world class player from a very good mid table team CB.

        Another example, Yanga-Mbiwa was considered a world beater before he came and flopped in the EPL with New Castle and many arsenal fans wanted him to join us.

        It don’t matter who we get, hell we even got a world cup winning CB a few seasons ago and now you’re booing him in preseason matches.


        1. I agree that defending is a team effort but even the best strategies will fail with inadequate players.

          No strategy will overcome poor decision making or lack of talent.

          If it was only down to strategy we would be in big trouble. Because after one year, with a capable manager, we should have seen improvement in defensive results evidenced by the number of goals we concede going down. We did not see any improvement in our defending. If it is down to the manager don’t expect improvement this year.

          Wenger never had a strategy or focus on defending but when we had players like Adams, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Clichy, Sagna, Lauren, etc we were quite solid at the back but when they left and with the same manager and same strategy we started leaking goals.

          Players play a big role in executing a strategy.

        2. CannonSpike, I went to the Emirates cup on sunday, via a different entrance to my normal s/t gate and passed a mural of Steve Bould, our ex defensive coach.

          On it he was quoted as saying (as near as I can remember)… it’s simple really, don’t let them score and you won’t lose the game… if it was that simple, why the hell didn’t he drill that into the players?

          I’m with you, players need tactics and guidance, something that Steve failed to do on a consistent basis.

          Maybe things will now change? I like the look of:
          Bellerin-Holding-Chambers-Kierney for this season and if we don’t sign Kierney, then Monreal still looked the man on Sunday.

          1. Ken, the other issue many seem to forget is that defense depends on team work, combinations and understanding and confidence between players and Arsenal were disrupted by injuries to first choice and backup defenders. Koscielny and Mavropanos were injured at the start of the season, Bellerin and Holding suffered season ending injuries and Kolasinac, Monreal and AMN were injured at times. Emery at one stage had to play Xhaka at CB!

          2. Ken for me it is not one or the other (tactics/system vs quality player) you need both talented players and a solid system/tactics/strategy. You can have the best system in the world but without the talent to execute it, you will leak goals.

            You can get the 2 best CD in the world but with a midfield that leaves them exposed, they will also fail.

            I fear at the moment we have neither a team that understands the system (that’s on the manager) nor the talent to execute a system effectively.

    2. I agree. Our defence was only crap in away games, we had a good defence at home, fourth best in the league. That suggests it was either tactics or the psychological mindset of our players. Inherently good quality players do not suddenly become bad players just because they are playing in a different stadium. Lousy refereeing didn’t help on occasion either.

    3. Pape Abou Cisse! Will add 6’6 don’t take no sh#t muscle to a defence that is too easily bullied. He’s 23 and you need 2 good pairs of centre backs. Holding will take time to get back to where he was and when he is back to his best if Cisse hasn’t played as well as I think he will be will be back up with Mavropanos. Buy him and Tierney and Mustafi will know his time is up and will leave.

  11. Don’t forget that we’ve got Holding back plus Socratis and Monreal who can all put in a decent shift alongside a decent partner. If we get Tierney and Rugani for a couple of years that’s a reasonable line up for this season which will be strengthened for 20-21.
    Don’t forget also that Emery has always said he prefers to win 5-4 than 1-0. He certainly seems to building up a squad to do exactly that. Who wouldn’t like to see that on a regular basis. Stay positive and support the team no matter who is on the pitch.

  12. I hope Raul, Edu and Vinai can make those two CB deals happen

    If those transfers can be done, we would have enough money to steal Dunk from Leicester

  13. This transfer window reminds me of the summer transfer window of Liverpool in 2016…The previous season they too had shipped in 50 goals..They brought in Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan which improved their defence slightly…but what proved decisive was their purchase of Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane that greatly improved their attack and helped them achieve champions League football…This led to the serious interest in Coutinho, the sale of Coutinho for big money and reinvestment of that money in VVD ( purchase of Robertson and stepping up of Alexander Arnold also helped)..All these helped Liverpool to reach where they are right now….So what I am trying to say is we need smart investment not Big Blind investment like Mustafi

  14. For me James tarkwoski from Burnley should be our target. As much potential as maguire of Leicester and a lot less money. I’d image Burnley might be keen to do business as they need the cash

    1. That’s a good call mate ??
      You’ve got the right idea, buying from PL lesser teams or even the Championship. I’ve seen many comments saying this.

      1. Dan, I concur. There are good defenders in the lower leagues, which good scouting should identify. The interesting thing is that many rubbished Dunk because his team Brighton were relegated; now he’s going for £45 million.

  15. The holding+saliba partnership won’t be bad next season but right now we need that kind of pairing to help us qualify, actually squad depth”without mustafi” should be a priority

  16. Sorry but excited about Pepe, medical is done and apparently no problem, now awaiting announcement today or tomorrow of his signing.
    Seen the photos of him at Colney with his Arsenal goody bag. I’d love to know what’s in it, could be a shirt and a gunnersaurus or perhaps a few wads of £ notes, who knows??

  17. My guess is if Koscielny leaves then Monreal will slot in at CD till the season ends and Saliba joins. Or maybe we will sign a new defender. Am not too worried though, the €80M Pepe signing proves the board is committed and ready to spend if necessary.

    1. All the talk of skint arsenal, Satan Kroenke and stuffs like that die down immediately. Have not seen anyone apologize though. And those that keeps saying we will never sign any player after Martineli gone quiet. I love love to know what they think now

  18. Given “sorry state” of defence, why do you say “a central defender? ”

    Don’t we need TWO MINIMUM in the centre??

  19. Emery does not have to play Mustafi. Other players have been told they are not in the managers plans at many clubs. If he refuses to cooperate he can play for the U23s, if he refuses he has broken his contract. There are many ways to skin a Mustafi. The best is not to play him. From my side do the same with Xhaka. He is a liability.

    1. Sean – Good suggestion. If it is true Emery has lost patience with Mustafi and wants him gone and Mustafi refuses, Emery should just make him train with the reserves and not play him.

    2. Considering Mustafi is well liked by the rest of the players this would be a bad move to make him play in U-23. That is usually reserved as a punishment like Koscielny’s actions. Considering you just want to banish players you don’t like to U-23, I am very glad you are not in charge of Arsenal. You’d be sacked very quickly.

  20. Our attack isn’t as bad as our defence, so if any urgent action needed to be done, our defence should have been strengthened on a priority basis so they’d have time to gel during the preseason. Unfortunately, time & was spent bolstering the attack, and penny pinching in Tierney’s case.
    As things stand, Chambers & Sokratis (accident waiting to happen) will have to man the CD, while we wait for Holding to get match fit.
    The defence will have less work to do if we hold up the ball in front and not give away possession easily.

  21. Tierney will sign.And for the life of me i cant understand why we havent gone for Cahill. He is better than any of our CB’s and he is free. He could do a great job until Saliba comes back next season

    1. Cahill does not play out from the back well; that is why he was sidelined by Sarri at Chelsea.

  22. I’m thinking there are a few on here who possibly will owe the Kroenkes an apology after the window closes, me included, but it’s looking positive so far.

  23. Why on Earth does Emery appear to be reluctant to give Bielik a chance at CB?After a very successful season with Charlton and an impressive showing at the recent under 21 finals surely he deserves an opportunity.After all he could not be worse than the hapless Mustafi and Socratis.

    1. Because he wants to leave ,he’s been here for about 6years and not been given a chance so you can’t blame him .

  24. The only offer I can see coming in for Mustafi would be ………Billy Smarts Circus !

  25. I think there is a bit of misunderstanding regarding our defence last season.

    YES we were poor, Why? Bellerin, Holding out for the season. Leno was new in goal, Koscieny was back after a major injury, monreal was in and out with injuries, Mustafi was our only available player along with Sokratis (even though he has some injuries and suspensions)

    WE lacked more then we gained. Liverpool only had Gomez out, City had Mendy out.

    Medley is being promoted this year, but of the 6 (excluding Mustafi and Kos) we have 5 centre backs (and 1 on loan) and 4 of them are talented but inexperienced.

    Not sure what the solution is, because Holding, Saliba, Mavro, Chambers, Bielk and Medley are all top potential but not ready to take on the role of commanding our defence.

    1. Thank you Tom, as I have tried to make this point numerous times with no apparent success.

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