WE have all seen how Arsenal’s defence has been getting steadily worse over the last four years, and despite the arrivals of Sokratis (30), Lichtsteiner (34) and Mavropanos (21), it has not improved at all, in fact we have conceded 30 goals in our first 20 matches this season, this compares to 51 in the whole of last season and only 44 the year before. Of course Koscielny (33) and Monreal (32) are also getting on a bit, and Mustafi (26) and Holding (23) have yet to prove they are top class players either.
Against Liverpool we had a back line of Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac and Mustafi (replaced by Koscielny at half time) and all Arsenal fans were well aware that that line-up would not be able to withstand Liverpool’s attacking force. Even the Gunners legend Ray Parlour thought we had no chance, and he thinks that Emery must consider bringing in a whole new defensive line-up. “I couldn’t see Arsenal winning, I really couldn’t,” Parlour was quoted as saying on Talksport. “I couldn’t see them getting a point. We all know the problems, defensively they’re just not good enough.
“All over the place at the back, they’ll always give you a chance.
“It was a real shock for me when they went 1-0 up. I was like ‘wow, maybe we’ve got a chance of nicking a point here’.
“But all of a sudden, bang, bang, bang – you’ve lost the game.
“I played with so many good defenders that were playing for Arsenal. They had two teams really.
“When we had the famous back four of [Nigel] Winterburn, [Lee] Dixon, [Tony] Adams, [Steve] Bould, [Martin] Keown and then you had Sol Campbell come in, Lauren, Ashley Cole.
“All four positions they’ve got to look at.
“Defensively, if you’re going to concede goals like that, you’re never going to have any chance of trying to win the league.
“And that’s where Liverpool have won it, if they do win it, is defensively.”
I would imagine that Emery is now also aware of our deficiencies, and his philosophy this season seems to be to try and score more than our opponents, but that is simply not going to work in every game, especially against the top sides. And to be honest I wouldn’t even blame our injury problems as we were just as bad with everyone fit! My only hope for the future is that Rob Holding carries on improving when he comes back next season, and perhaps Mavropanos (also injured!) could develop into a star one day….
So do you agree with Parlour that we have chance of challenging for the title unless we get a completely revamped defence?