Even buying a central defender may not solve Arsenal’s biggest problem

It is fairly clear to most observers that Arsenal have an issue with defence, especially at centre back but even if they bring in a top-quality central defender it will not necessarily solve the biggest problem that Unai Emery has on his hands.

And that is a leader on the pitch.

Too often certain negative aspects of the Arsenal game creep in, falling back, panic, lack of composure, drop in confidence when a goal goes in etc and the reason that happens so often is because of lack of leadership on the field of play.

A leader does not always have to be a shouter or screamer or that go-to type of character but someone that can lead by example as well, someone that can articulate strategy on the pitch, someone that can motivate and say the right words at the right time.

And the brutal truth is that Arsenal simply does not have that type of player.

There will be dips in form at some point in the season, last season it came at the critical backend and that extra point or two could have been found with the right leader.

So, while a central defender is of crucial importance I would argue that a leader is just as important even if he is not a defender.

34 Comments

  1. kev says:

    Arsenal have identified Daniele Rugani, Boubacar Kamara and Nicklas Stark as CB targets.Talks for Rugani on loan are set to take place.

    Fears over possible injury for Tierney.All things being equal this will happen on deadline day.Fee and payment structure isn’t a problem here.

    1. Pri says:

      Arsenal also have enquired about Grimaldo for LB. Fear over Tierney’s injury this the inquiry.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        It’s become the Kev v Pri show, like the competition.

    2. gotanidea says:

      To anybody that regularly watched Rugani, Kamara and Stark played, please tell us whether those targets are as erratic as Mustafi or not. They should also be better than Sokratis

      No Tierney no problem, because our biggest problems are currently the CB and the RB positions. Both Bellerin and Maitland-Niles can’t defend too well

    3. Gunnertz says:

      Rugani in nothing more than failed plan for juventus, they also know this that’s why they’ve signed de lyt, we need more than a defender, we need ball playing commanding defensive recruitments with leadership qualities, Liverpool have van dyk and fabinho, city had company and fernandinho now have stones and Rodri, wenger tried it by signing mustaphi and xhaka of which where our storm begun, we need to sort out this issue before things get more complicated

      1. RSH says:

        Big mistake if we sign Rugani on a permanent deal.

        1. ferdin says:

          statistically, rugani is not better than musthafi and socratis. find another…

  2. kev says:

    I assume when you talk of leadership you didn’t necessarily mean a captain which I agree with.All possible title winning clubs have a CB who’s able to take responsibility,see the game from behind and organise the defense through excellent positioning and also by effective communication with the other defenders to form a competent backline.Unfortunately for us we don’t have this kind of player in our team.But Arsenal’s defensive problem is largely due to lack of quality personnel.Sokratis has the potential to be such a player but his erratic and rash style means he can never be that.We need a new quality CB to come in and bring that mentality to the defense

  3. phychem says:

    From the reliable transferchecker.

    Arsenal have enquired about the availability of benfica left back Alex Grimaldo. He has a release clause of 54million pounds in his contract but his agent suggested to Edu that he would be allowed to leave for around 36.5 million pounds. #AFC keen due to Tierney injury worries.

    1. kev says:

      Not happening because Arsenal can’t pay all the £36.5m in full.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Arsenal can pay in installments like Pepe’s deal

        1. kev says:

          Unless they don’t consider the £36.5m as an agreed release clause even though his true release clause is £54m.Portuguese clubs don’t budge at all

      2. phychem says:

        Highly unlikely to happen but you never know with Raul.

  4. gotanidea says:

    I agree, because we used to have Vieira that set the example in the pitch with his work ethics and skills. Currently we can’t depend on the old players to do that and the new players like Lacazette just joined two seasons ago

    Ideally the captain should be someone in the middle or in the back though, so he can see the situations more clearly

    Regarding the defense problem in away matches, I believe it was caused by the midfielders’ inability to control the game. If Emery has the guts to start Ceballos, Iwobi, Torreira and Willock instead of Xhaka, Mkhitaryan and Ozil, I bet we would see better results in away games

    1. Akan says:

      Willock and Guendouzi must be the midfield base on which we build the team on. Between the two of them they provide cover for the defense, transportation and support through to the attacking quartet

    2. gerry burke says:

      GOTANIDEA. careful about saying that you would drop ozil. there are a few old farts on here who would linch you for even suggesting that !. these one eyed guys cannot see beyond the ever lazy ozil. they even had thee balls to praise him after last nights friendly, they were crowing about his display, lol. with him still in the team we are going absolutely nowhere , regardless of who we bring in this window.his lazy , do not care attitude is not only on the pitch , but, also in the dressing room . he is affecting our players by just being here, affecting them negatively , unfortunately.

      1. GAVANA says:

        When I see GOTANIDEA’s comment, i don’t read it, instead I search for the word Ozil and that’s enough. I get his message.

    3. Richard Compton says:

      However you configure it, Arsenal have four players who should be got rid of; Mikhararian, Oezil, Mustafi and Xhaka.
      The question has to be: In this transfer window, has the club adequately dealt with this?

    4. Val says:

      Vieira was a beast, no one wanted to get on his bad side wish we had a player with half his leadership skills, would be a 100% improvement on the leaders we currently have atm

  5. Sean says:

    CB isn’t just the problem. Our midfield is too soft, small & unreliable. Torriera is good but not great, struggled at the end of the season, hope he doesn’t stay that way. Xhaka isn’t good enough and isn’t captain material for us. He can barely put a good pass across atm. And that’s his strong point! We need a Doucoure type (Vieira/Diaby/Silva).

    Guendouzi too slow on the ball but will get better, AMN doesn’t know what position he suppose to play anymore as TB hasnt helped him.

    Defence;
    Mavraponas, injured looks like a wilshere type again for injuries. Chambers, Mustafi & Koss are not good enough especially when the latter is our Capt and refused to play. Monreal isn’t getting any younger, kolasnic has his moments, hector & holding injured. We aren’t in great shape going into the season defensively at all

    1. RSH says:

      Agree our midfield has problems. But Defense still has more though and is the urgent position. Hopefully Torriera will be better this season and be able to keep his performances up all season. I agree that we shouldn’t call him off after just one season in England and hopefully he will be consistently great all season this time. Next to him, we have Ceballos/Willock/Xhaka/Guendouzi to play next to him. There are enough options there to find some sort of solution this season. I really hope Guendouzi can start to mature. Too much running around like a headless chicken and intelligent passers can easily get by.

      1. Akan says:

        Xhaka should not be on a football field let alone an option for captain. Those of us who know a good football player can see that he is a con-artiste at work who is able to make it look like he’s doing something while achieving nothing of any significance. Very occasionally there is a good pass and sometimes, again very rarely he scores a goal which keep him and his supporters on gas while other players get all the blame

        1. Diogenes says:

          Xhaka is now by far our slowest player.
          His concentration and decision making smacks of ADHD (not mocking the condition, just saying Xhaka shows some outward symptoms).
          His distance shots give us 1 or 2 goals per season only – irrelevant.
          His long pass, which is his only good attribute is not even that good.

          I doubt if he were a starter of West Ham, but here he is in 2019 still starting for Arsenal. I genuinely feel Arsenal will only start to blossom when all of these 4 are gone: Xhaka, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Mustafi. At least 2 years, likely.

        2. RSH says:

          i agree he needs replacing, but he is an option this season and Emery will play him whether you like him or not. Just being realistic. Our defense has no good options while we have several in midfield to find some sort of solution before splashing cash and not fixing CB issue

          1. ozziegunner says:

            And to think Arsenal could have got Kante. I agree with Sean, Arsenal need a Doucoure type player.

  6. Websurfer says:

    Chris Smalling could also be a good signing.

  7. Jo Gunz says:

    Mbappe

    C.Ronaldo Messi

    B/D.Silva Kroose

    Kante At.Vidal

    Koulibaly V.Dyke Laporte

    Leno

    I don’t forsee any problem with this squad without a captain.

    1. Jo Gunz says:

      Sokratis or Leno can however, do a good captaincy job for Arsenal.
      Captaincy is the least of our problems now.

  8. Marty says:

    Oh for the days of McLintock and Tony Adams. When I first started watching Arsenal if someone made a mistake one look from Peter Storey and they wouldn’t do it again !!

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Peter Storey, another ex Arsenal player you wouldn’t want to “meet behind the grandstand”.
      And he was in the same team as Bob McNab, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock and John Radford; scary!

  9. Akan says:

    Willock and Guendouzi must be the midfield base on which we build the team on. Between the two of them they provide cover for the defense, transportation and support through to the attacking quartet

  10. Sean Williams says:

    I think the Barca game highlighted a particular problem. Yes it definitely involves leadership problems and it also involves the ability to concentrate for 90 minutes. How often do we concentrate for 70 mins and then boop….a mistake or poor covering. How often do we score and then boop….concentration goes. Of course a good leader keeps ‘everybody’s eye on the ball’ so to speak. Without that leader they need to do some personal cognitive behavioural therapy or something like it. AMN, Xhaka, Mustafi and Guendouzi all seem to lack concentration and their minds go on walkabout. They need to do something to improve their 90 minute focus or they will give goals away.

  11. Hackinubee says:

    Even if we buy VVD, Koulibally and Sergio Ramos, then follow it with Chiellini and De Ligt, If we keep losing the ball cheaply in midfield and thereby inviting pressure on our defense, we’ll keep conceding 50 goals every season… Let’s find someone to protect the ball in midfield and you’ll se changes.

    1. RSH says:

      we had that with Arteta and still conceded cheap goals. Arsenal need a top defender in addition to better retainer of the ball. I think CB issue takes priority over midfield issue.

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