Do Arsenal need to find a ‘balance’ between attack and defence?

Arsenal’s new arrival’s Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan seemed to slot seamlessly into the team against Everton, and as Arsene Wenger said “they looked like they’ve played for us for years”. The setup with those two and Ozil (and Ramsey!) made us into an irresistible attacking force which was shown by us racing into a four-goal lead over the Toffees before half-time.

Arsene was duly impressed after the game, and thought that Mkhitaryan linked up as well with Ozil as the German did with Alexis. “They look like they can play together,” Wenger said. “We had before this, Mesut and Sanchez, they had a privileged understanding but we can be creative, we can be mobile. Our game is based on that.

“In the first half we were quick, mobile, technically very sharp and we finished very well as well. Overall, the two new players integrated well into our game and they looked as if they had played for us forever.

“Our challenge, I think, is to find the balance. We are a very offensive team, we want to play that kind of football, but we have to find the balance between attacking and defending and that will certainly be our challenge between now and the end of the season.”

It is a bit of a misnomer to say we want to be an attacking team but need to sort out our defence. If our strike force can pin back our opponents in their half and score hundreds of goals, then why should we try to persuade them to go back and help the defence at all times. We should just accept we are going to let in a few goals with such an ageing (or inexperienced) defensive line-up, buut just make sure we score more than them.

As they say, attack is the best form of defence, no?

Sam P


  1. gotanidea says:

    Yes, attack is the best form of defence, but only if the players can work together like Barcelona or Guardiola’s Manchester City. As long as they still make a lot of errors and miscommunications, forget about that philosophy and better to be more pragmatic like Mourinho’s team.

  2. Break-on-through says:

    I think eventually that pundits will be saying about us, Arsenal, easy on the eye, great going forward, beautiful football, but cannot put games to bed or scrape an ugly away win. They’ll say, you have a go we have a go, that’s what Arsenal do, they try to outscore the opponent. Then they’ll mention, we’ve been sitting here saying this for how many years now, look, if I was Arsene I’d want etc etc etc.

  3. jon fox says:

    Sam P. YES OF COURSE WE DO. ALL CLUBS DO! But under Wenger we will NEVER have a proper defence and his disgraceful neglect of it has been a sacking offence for many years past, just by itself without even taking into account all his other faults. Look at the succession of imcompetant clowns he has played and tried calling them DM’s when they have not the least idea how to defend. All the awful CBs since Sol Campbell with Kos , now fast regressing , but being the only quality one since then. HE EVEN KEPT THE JOKE “SPANISH WAITER”, ALMUNIA, AS OUR REGULAR KEEPER FOR THREE SEASONS

  4. the reason for our bad defending is ozil because he doesn’t make runs inside the box to support the attack so when Ramsey make those runs ozil doesn’t take up Ramsey defensive duty just look at mkhitaryan he supports the attack but also is defensive duty that is way arsene Wenger allways players Ramsey be ozil doesn’t support the attack

    1. TH14atl says:

      Let me make sure I have this correct, it’s Ozil’s fault that Ramsey is not disciplined enough in his movements and his positioning? I see.

      Arsenal will only land on a proper DM as a result of injury. The year we got 2nd with a midfield triangle of Mesut, Santi and Coquelin, was because Arteta, Flamini, Jack, and Ramsey were all hurt. This forced Arsene to recall Francis and move Santi from the wing to the CM alongside him. Best season we’ve had in years, finishing 2nd. Unfortunately, Santi got hurt, and we brought in Xhaka, and Arsene changed shape and asked Coquelin to play higher up the pitch, would clearly didn’t suit him, so that Xhaka could sit deeper.

      Xhaka clearly can’t do the job, and El Neny is clearly not the DM that’s going to lead us to glory. Injuries to both of them seem to be the only way Arsene will try someone new in that position.

    2. Phil says:

      Oh that’s it sorted then-all these years of KEYSTONE COP defending and there was the answer after all.The blame lies with Mesut Ozil.
      What an idiot you are

    3. Will says:

      what a ridiculous comment. So what you are saying is you expect Ozil to be running onto his own throughballs and the fact that he isn’t means our other midfielders are having to vacate their positions?

    4. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Istjamaicanarsenal, you’re lucky the thumbs are not available otherwise you could of achieved a record number of thumbs down for the most idiotic statement I’ve ever seen on these pages.

      1. mogunna says:

        thumbs up, thumbs, thumbs, thumbs up…Reply to this fool that way, but down of course…Ramsey is supposed to make run on that bench…

        This is the team, Song is training with us for a week and ready, fresh out of syberia, put him as DM and call it a day…

        Then this is how we look like, get Mutafi outa there, bring a youngster to gain experience.

        Ospina – Bellerin – Yougster – Kos – Monreal – Song -Wilshere – Miki – Ozil – Auba – Laca

        Subs : Klas, Ramsey, Xhaka…

        That’s all she wrote but other teams 5 points ahead will keep fighting til last game. We are 26 points behind Man City; that’s reality check and gives a real vision of where we stand, so far.

        Spurs are 4 points ahead but in 5th position not 4th wich is Chelsea who are 5 points ahead before a possible win to leave us 8 poin behind. Then we have Liverpool 6 points ahead on 3rd spot and to 5 points ahead, Mourhino and Man U with Sanchez joining and pogba back, wont lose that spot but distance the Reds and the rest: we 11 points behind Man U.

        So, all we can hope is to not lose or draw anymore but Spurs, Man U, Man city and many more ahead, we more likely to do so.

        Therefore unless these 3 teams ahead in 5, 4, 3 place slip at least 4 times and us never, we can’t and most likely won’t make 4th place, most likely be where we at…

        Our only way and realistic and existing option to CL is win Europa league as we can not depend or expect these guys to slip…We been out of it for months already…12 games left, from what’s there and concrete, we have 45 points in 26 games. At this pace, we will add what? 21 points? finish at 66. Man city at 69 today! With their pace, they will add 30 points. Then finish over 30 points ahead of us…That is what we need to look at…

        Let’s be real and focus on winning Europa, carzola won’t make it, so take him off the list and add Song; Auba can’t play but Miki can, with Laca and Ozil, that should do it but Song must be in or forget it.

        Don’t know what Sam did to Everton but to have his defense with 3 players only did damage first half with such an attack, that was a crazy move and we should not be so hyped by result, 2 goals from Ramsey were lucky, Ospina would have stop both.

        No top 4 as Top 5 is not even guarratied, today, CL is by Europa win.

        Next year, we will need to put money on a real number 9 and Top class. Put the money as a a beast CM that can also do box like gotseka, 2 top class CD and a freakin Top goal keeper…

        Cech can step down to goalkeeper coach.

  5. John0711 says:

    you have to ask the question? rolls eyes and facepalms the author

  6. Phil says:

    No team ever won anything without a good defence.Yes of course the odd cup win contradicts this but it’s no coincidence that all League winners were built on solid defensive performance first.Take Leicester City.Very good goalkeeper behind a solid back four.In front of them was Drinkwater as a holding defensive midfielder.Even up front the forwards worked hard to close down and harrie defenders.It sounds simple because it is.I think a bit of coaching might well have gone into it which is something that obviously is missing with us.
    We need a dependable back line (and goalkeeper)that are coached and drilled to defend.Even the simple and obvious seen foreign to us at times.Ever noticed how awful we are at defending corners?The number of times when we are caught out not picking up when teams take a short one against us-it’s schoolboy defending that makes a mockery of what we actually do all week on the training ground.
    I believe Wenger is totally incapable of understanding how to build a defence and this will continue until he is replaced.

    1. Ken 1945 says:

      Just a couple of points in reply to Phil:
      1. What on earth is Stevie Bould doing at Arsenall? I thought he was the defensive coach. Everyone was saying that Wenger should bring in ex players to help him. He did that with Bould detailed to do a specific job. Please explain to me why no one is not crucifying Bould? I suspect that the blinkers that some supporters wear only see Wenger as the culprit.
      2. Remember 49 games unbeaten? That defense was put together by one man…Arsene Wenger and he did that before the oil money and russian money changed the game completely.
      Strange how easy it is to forget things if it doesn’t support an argument.
      For every bad signing that can be blamed on Wenger, I can name at least two that were/are successful.
      For example: Almunia…Ospina, Cech, Lehman (all international goalkeepers).
      I’ve also been wating for those who claimed we would never sign Ab to apologise, but I guess they just can’t bring themselves to admit they were wrong.

      1. Phil says:

        Ken – no problem accepting Wenger put the invincibles defence together but inexcusable that he has not been able to do it since.
        Also Wenger promoted Bould from the youth team set up when Pat Rice retired.You would need to ask the question as to what Bould actually does and is he given defensive coaching duties.If he is then SACK HIM NOW as he clearly isn’t doing a particularly good job.

        1. Ken 1945 says:

          Thats my point, why is Bould never questioned?
          His “expertise” was as a defender and I would have thought that is what wenger is looking to as his right hand man.
          With regards to wenger and his defences, I agree that he has not been able to find the replacements that we needed to emulate that team of invincibles.
          I believe that he has been very unlucky with players such as Vermallon, Kos and Debuchy, He has also made Bellerin (a target for Barca) and Monreal top players.
          We also should remember the sad demise of tne man who wenger identified as the new Vieria…Abou Diaby .
          I think we can all agree that abou would have been the man to fill Patricks boots.
          He has bought some players who were not up to standard (senderos as example) but it seems he just cannot be given any credit for past and present successes.

      2. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Ken, my seat is about fifty yards from the Arsenal bench and every week I scream at the pair of them to get off their asses and give the team some input. Under Arsene Wenger it’s quite obvious Bould is not allowed to open he’s mouth which begs the question, whats he doing there in the first place? Ken, we can all understand your support for Arsene Wenger because we al felt the same eight or nine years ago but football has changed and unfortunately Arsene hasn’t changed with it. As I said before in one of my posts, if he’d have retired seven or eight years ago he’d have been an absolute hero at Arsenal, the greatest legend since Herbert Chapman but in my opinion sadly and I really mean sadly he’s spoilt the great legacy that he built up over he’s first ten years as our manager

  7. Grandad says:

    Spot on Phil.

    1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

      Ken 1945, myself and others have continuously asked the question of what Steve Bould does to earn his money and raised the issue of Arsene Wenger’s apparent reluctance to give him free reign to coach Arsenal to defend as a team.

  8. Simon Williams says:

    Elneny over Xhaka – he’s better than most fans think

  9. Sandeep says:

    This season it’s obvious the defensive errors caused us points.Look at chech he made lot of mistakes same goes for mustafi or koss both made mistake this season. Our defense is leaking goals because of there individual errors.

  10. AndersS says:

    In modern football it is actually bullshit to argue you are either an attacking team or a defensive team. The best teams the last few years are actually both aggressive offensively and defensively. Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Man City are all great examples. they are very good going forward, but they also make all players press quick and aggressively, when the opponent have the ball. This last bit is something Wenger never have seemed to learn, and there is very little hope, he will. Attacking without defending is absolutely useless, and it gets you nowhere. Arsenal is the perfect example.

  11. mogunna says:

    Of course and yes a DM is need guys, you are all right, it will balance more but there’s no one left that way in the team, Coq was the most suited and gone…We are lucky as Song os training with us back from Russia; week ago, free to sign…Then theres chambers and other kid we bought mainly year ago or so, they should be before Mustafi to gain experience, he’s not better…


    Bellerin Youngster – Kos – Monreal (or Klas)

    Song – Wilshere

    Ramsey Miki –


    Laca – Aube

    Iwobi can be in place of Ramsey and Xhaka in place of Wilshere, Klas can come in as well to beef up if needed replace Wilshere. Not that complicated and we do with what’s there, useless to speak about furure or past.

    1. Sue says:

      We’re not signing Song!

      1. Stephen says:


    2. Vlad says:

      Song? Sometimes I wonder if people really remember him playing for us. He was the most undisciplined football player I have ever seen in my life. His ball distribution was actually pretty decent but so is Xhaka’s. Problem with Song was that for every Hollywood-esque pass that he’s ever made, he more than “made up” for it in defensive mistakes. Basically, every goal that he helped us to score, we probably conceded 3 in return due to his inability to defend.

  12. JJPawn says:

    you can play 3-4-1-2 to use both Auba and Laca in some games. We have a goal difference to make up too… But, if attack is the best form of defense, and if your current defenders are not good enough, it better to organize the attack so well that the other side will be more careful… or conservative.

    ————————Auba – Laca————————–
    ———————––—-Ozil- –——————————-

    I think the DM to be developed is Sead Kolasanic.

    The key to the back line is speed. Keep the other side’s break away under control can be done by Monreal, Niles (better) and Bellerin (best).

    Welbeck needs to play with this speed and Nketiah needs a space to grow. Having Rambo with Mhiki will give control of the middle. Xhaka and

  13. RAZ says:


  14. Some of the formations posted here show why you guys will never manage a team except on Football manager. Pathetic suggestions that only work in games. Shut up and let professionals do their job

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