Have Arsenal already found their new DM and Centre-backs?

Ever since the demise of Francis Coquelin and the failure of Granit Xhaka to become the top defensive midfielder that Arsenal needed to protect our ageing defence, Gooners everywhere have been saying that the club desperately needed to bring in a new strong DM. And of course our glaring defensive errors this season have shown that Laurent Koscielny is now past his best years and Shkrodan Mustafi is certainly not good enough to be our new defensive leader. Even Arsene wenger admitted in January that his most pressing neccessity was a top central defender.

But again the club brought in another striker, while selling Giroud and Walcott, and we still faced the second half of the season with exactly the same defensive problems that we had in the first half. Until yesterday that is, when we saw Maitland-Niles played in his natural central midfield position, and our new young January signing Mavropanos was introduced as a centre-back.

They both excelled against a seasoned Man United side at Old Trafford, and received plaudits from all and sundry. Wenger said after yesterday’s game: “Ainsley Maitland-Niles is slowly becoming the player I think he can be in defensive midfield. He can create as well.

“Mavropanos, in training he has shown top quality but then you always have a question mark as long as you don’t see that under pressure in a big game. Until that, you don’t know. The big players do better in the competition than in training. They make a career, the others… we have many players at our level who do less well in competition than in training. That was the question mark and I think he did well. He surprised everybody by his quality today.”

But it wasn’t just Mavropanos, he linked up extremely well with Calum Chambers, who is another that is expected to step up next season and become a regular first team starter. Chambers has been with arsenal for a long time now and he was asked about Mavroanos after the game. He said: “He did really well. He’s a good player, he was strong out there and he held his own. I thought he was composed on the ball and had a good game. I thought all the young players had a good game and you know, it’s just one of those. We feel we deserve more than we got.”

Both Wenger and Gazidis have previously stated that the new boss will be expected to promote youngsters from the academy to reinforce the team, and the performances of both AM-N and Mavropalos, and the improvement of Chambers, will have given him food for thought about whether the Gunners still need to invest in new players in those two vitally important positions in the summer…

Are those three vital to Arsenal’s future search for success, or do we still need to go into the transfer market?



  1. qone says:

    i was impressed by the greek international. but he must play more matches to see his potentiality. who knows maybe he will be one of the stars come next season. gooner = forever

    1. westlake says:

      Calum Chambers is too slow. His turning circle is greater than a South African Ox-Cart. I believe Rob Holding will be a much better defender than Chambers, but neither of them are top premium league defenders at the moment. We need a top class $80m center half to run the defense. We also need a top class goalkeeper behind them.

  2. Shortboygooner says:

    Maybe jack if he doesnt accept pay as you play

    Greek kid


    1. Arsene is Out says:

      Meyer is free. Oblak is over 80mil.
      We need to promote but also buy a top defender and a top dm.

    2. Jay Dee says:


  3. ThirdManJW says:

    Mavropanos should play Thursday, although we know Wenger’s going to pick his most out-of-form players for that crucial game, which makes no sense, especially going on the first leg display! I would love to see a lineup on Thursday like:

    Chambers Mavropanos Monreal
    Bellerin Maitland-Niles Wilshere Kolasinac
    Ramsey Mkhitaryan

    The likes of Kos, Mustafi, Ozil, and Xhaka have had more than enough opportunities to impress, and have been awful, especially against quality opponents! It’s literally, Wenger’s last throw of the dice in his Arsenal career, so be bold for once, and drop the under performers!

    1. John0711 says:


    2. Midkemma says:

      I aint a big fan of 3 CBs, using exactly the same players but formation for me would be;


      Although I would play Ozil in AM with Mkhi and drop Rambo into CM instead of Kola. Not sure if Kola will be fully fit after coming off 🙁
      Could be a good sub to make once we grabbed a goal and need to shore up the CM if fit.

      1. lcebox says:

        LOL shore up the midfield
        l mean like its been over 5yrs since we had a midfield which could close up a game..

    3. tony says:

      kos,mustafi ozil couldnt impress u but chambers, wilshire did!!! ???

    4. Shekar233 says:

      So you have come to a conclusion that we need at least 12 players on the pitch to get something out of the match…. I don’t blame you given that we screwed up with 11 against 10 man athletics….

      1. Shekar233 says:


  4. Trudeau says:

    I’m not suggesting they go into next year as sure fire starters but I’ll be interested in seeing if a different manager with a different approach can get more out of Mustafi and Xhaka (if they aren’t sold). They clearly have talent but also have the same fatal flaw – a tendency to tune out for a couple of critical seconds once or twice every match. That should be able to be coached out of them.

  5. John0711 says:

    AMN 100% better thank Xhaka
    Mov 100% better than mustafi

    CB I would keep kos for his experience
    Chambers and Mov are all decent however we need someone to bring them on
    Get rid mustafi xhaka ospina
    Buy top CB and a DM plus Leno as a GK
    And the Hofenhime coach

    1. Midkemma says:

      Greek so communication between him and Mavrop could be good, top class CB and can last a few years to come.

      Chambers has played well alongside Holding and I think that partnership could do well in a few years time.
      Chambers and Mavrop looked really good against UTD.

      For me, I would like to see a top CB come in who would be able to lead Holding and Mavrop, Chambers does well leading the CBs when he plays but he is only 1 man and can get injured or need rests etc… Plus still young for a CB.

      I am kinda happy with Mavrop and Holding to fight it out for the lCB spot, they both have talent and with a manager who can develop their def side, I think we could be feeling very lucky in a couple years time.

  6. Counsel says:

    Niles can play defensive midfield and we have young promising central defenders who are competing to get in the first 11 they can be trained better and they are still developing.We only need a world class goalkeeper and an explosive Winger

    1. rkw says:

      ridiculous … only a 4th place junkie… and a desperate one at that…could reach such a conclusion

      1. Ken 1945 says:

        A desperate fourth placed junkie?
        Bet you would swap places with whoever finishes in fourth place though wouldn’t you.
        I believe Mavro showed on Sunday he can play in big matches and I see him as a long term first team player.
        My only reservation is Diego Costa, as I believe he could intimidate him to make mistakes.
        However, as Mustafi has made horrendous mistakes whilst not being intimidated, my opinion is he should play.
        Maitland-Niles is also a star of the future, but I think we should play Ramsey, Wilshere and Xhaka if only for their experience.
        M-N would be a very good sub if any of these three needed replacing.
        Myka being fit is a real bonus and it gives the squad a really strong look going forward, just need to ensure we make no silly mistakes at the back.

        1. Rkw says:

          No I wouldn’t if that meant another year of wenger!! But happily that’s a mute point. I can’t disagree with you about mustafi’s overall performance or xhaka … And want to see them both go … though it would be unfair to say they haven’t had their moments either … Centre back is a difficult role and putting a kid in to what will be a much more high pressure atmosphere in Madrid based on this one game strikes me as plain daft…. The silly assessments I have been seeing here based on this single game against a poor man utd team …WHO WE LOST TO DONT FORGET…beggars belief and runs the danger of suggesting a couple of signings in the summer will be all we need to get back on track …

          1. Ken 1945 says:

            Hang on a minute, United played their strongest team and yet they needed a 90plus minute goal to beat a team that had never played together as a unit before.
            “A poor United team” that sits second in the league and have qualified for next seasons CL.
            Putting a kid into a high pressure game is a gamble I agree, but I clearly remember Holding and Per completely dominating Costa at last years final, so why not Mavco and Kos?
            Also, don’t underestimate our attacking game for Thursday, Atletico will not see this game as an easy one that’s for sure.
            The next point though is the one regarding fourth place. You neatly ducked the question by bringing Wenger in to the debate. Why?
            “A desperate fourth placed junkie” is what you called Counsel, so let me repeat the question without any reference to Wenger (as before) wouldn’t you want to swap places with whoever finishes fourth?
            Of course you would, just like any gooner would, so what’s the problem?

          2. Rkw says:

            Just citing mourinho’s assessment of his teams performance …which was correct … I try not to exist in a hypothetical world … I stopped caring about 4th place and entry to CL when that became an excuse for lack of progress in the EPL and beyond the last 16 of CL .. 6 months ago would I have taken 4th place if a new managerial regime was guaranteed to follow … Yes … But in the real world 4th place would have justified business as usual at the emirates and wenger would have stayed with predictable consequences … And the best thing that has happened this season is wenger’s departure … So no problem for me not finishing 4th

          3. jon fox says:

            Spot on! Fourth place is only useful if you consider it gives any team a chance to do well in CL . If we , as we did, consistently fail in CL , all 4th place achieves is more money for the club, not to spend wisely or even at all. When was the last time Wenger brought in a top defensive player , proven so, with years ahead of him to play? Answer Koscielny, way back in time. Nothing since! NUFF SAID!

          4. Ken 1945 says:

            Jon Fox and Rkw,
            NUFF SAID?
            Don’t think so. Ever heard the phrase “youv’e got to be in it to win it?”
            Remember two semi-finals and one final.
            Rkw , you have criticised Wenger for failing to qualify for the CL over the last two seasons but forget the 20 seasons we did qualify.
            Is this a real gooner saying that it was alright to finish out of the top 4 in order for the manager to go?
            How the likes of Spurs and Liverpool fans must be laughing at your so called support.
            They have stuck with their clubs despite winning NOTHING for the last eight years.
            Yet here you are, proffesing to be supporters and being delighted that the club, NOT WENGER, failed to qualify for the CL.
            As for buying a defensive player: Jon you must be a clairvoyant with the knowledge you have over proven international and club managers.
            Let’s just remind you that when Mustafi was bought, he was a German international and part of the world cup winning squad. Both Bellerin and Monreal have been players of interest to both Real and Barcelona amongst others. Chambers and Holding were England U21 players.
            When all of these players were signed the reaction from the media and our supporters was one of posititivty.
            As it has turned out, Mustafi in particular has been a disaster, but only you Jon knew that didn’t you?
            By the way Jon, we are still waiting for your three saviours to bring in the top class defenders needed, perhaps you could tell us who and when and how much this particular occurence will take place?
            Anyway, the money we haven’t spent whilst being in the CL will now be given to the new manager to spend and that should equate to something around the £200 million mark it’s being suggested Enriques is asking for before he signs on the dotted line.
            So well done Mr Wenger on that score at least eh Jon?

          5. Jay Dee says:


  7. Arsene is Out says:

    Mavros and Niles played very well….. for one game. Please stop with the fantasies that they are our saviors. They might become good players, they might even become great players, hell even Arsenal legends, but it is too early to call. and none of us have seen enough of them in competitive matches to reach a conclusion.
    Does anyone remember how well Mustafi played his first few games? Or even Xhaka in the beginning with his long range accurate passing? Then we saw that they had a million holes in their games, so hold your horses.
    One well played game does not make a career.
    We still need to buy proven quality for CD and DM positions.

    1. Rkw says:

      One if the few sensible comments I’ve read

  8. Chiza says:

    Gazidis please I plead with you with all I got, get Julian Nagelsmann for us.. He would build our future and be our very own more refined pep guardiola.. Do this for arsenal fans,we very much deserve this after so much suffering….Julian Nagelsmann for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Nay Sayer says:

    Maitland Niles does not have a ‘natural position’

    Just a few months ago he himself said his natural position is on the wing (check Arsenal.com), and now the author of this article claims to know more than AMN himself. What geniuses Arsenal’s fans are.

    1. Admin says:

      “Words can’t describe how we feel right now and apologies to the fans to let them down late on. I love playing centre midfield and to do that for Arsenal at Manchester United in the Premier League is a dream come true.” MAITLAND-NILES

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