Have Arsenal now got the perfect defensive ability to rival the Invincibles?

Arteta is this summer keen to make his team the real deal and unbeatable, hence being ready to end Arsenal’s search for the PL title next season. Key deals are already being completed, with Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, and Jurrien Timber’s deals all but done.

Havertz and Rice change the dynamics in Arsenal’s midfield. They are two players who can keep hold of the ball and help the team possess and dominate opponents. They are an upgrade over Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. A midfield combo of Rice, Havertz, and Odegaard can be the perfect foundation for Arsenal to play flowing, attacking football that could overwhelm opponents. Many are wary if that midfield set-up will equal the defensive demands, but one may say the best form of defense is attack. The trio can keep possession and dominate midfield battles, which may nullify any talk of them not being defensive, as they will not be porous.

Even if there’s doubt about the midfield, Arteta sure will have a solid defense next season. Whether Arteta plays with a back 3 or a back 4, his defense will be impenetrable. With Zinchenko and Tomiyasu at left back; Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba, Jakub Kiwior, and Ben White at Central midfield; and Ben White and Jurrien Timber at right back, the Arsenal defense is capable of keeping out even the deadliest attacks.

Arsenal will be hard to beat, hopefully turning the Emirates into a fortress. Who knows, they might pull off an invincible season to trump our rivals after Manchester City lifted the treble!

Sam P

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Tags defence New Invincibles


  1. While Rice and Havertz are fine players, to suggest that they are an upgrade on Partey is laughable in my opinion. As to the strengthening of our defence, if Zinchenko is used as an inverted left back, we will continue to be vulnerable unless Arteta is having second thoughts concerning the future of Tierney who is streets ahead of the Ukranian and Tomi at left back.

    1. I agree with your comments Grandad, well said.

      It’s incorrect to minimize Partey’s overall contributions based on a dip in recent form.
      Havertz is a question mark on the defensive side, and has yet to show he can improve on Xhaka’s 7 goals and 7 assists.

      Laughable to suggest the defense is “impenetrable” with Zinchenko at “LB.” Zinchenko was skinned many times costing us goals; early in season by Anthony at Utd, to ball watching on set pieces, to being cooked by TAA and Walcott when we crumbled during the end run.

      Tierney is miles better than Zinchenko at defense, and is needed to cover the weak defending of Zinchenko.

    2. I have always thought you are biased when it comes to Tierney but I agree with you completely. It baffles me that we are looking to offload one of the best FB in the league with a good attitude and work rate to boot who happens to play in a position that is weak without him.

      How is this building?

    3. 👍👍 Grandad and Durand, the voices of reason.
      As for the comments of others regarding the relative defensive abilities of Tierney and Zinchenko favouring the latter, they are obviously on an alternate planet.

  2. Shifting Zinchenko to Midfield, while having Tomy and Tierney as Left Back will be a better option.

    We cannot afford to have a LB who can only attack but not defend.

    Attacking will give you goals while defending will give you title!!!

    1. Or use inverted-RB tactic instead, to play White and Timber together. We could have a more consistent defense:

      …….………….……. Ramsdale
      ………. Timber .… Saliba …. Magalhaes
      ………………. White ……..… Rice
      Saka . Odegaard . Zinchenko . Jesus
      ……………………..…. Havertz

          1. GAI, I concur that Havertz is a “baller”, who was misused and abused at Chelsea. Hopefully Arteta can bring out the player he is for the German National team.

      1. Gai, Honestly I just don’t see the need for Havertz Arteta could have gone for a defence minded midfielders that can score goals like Rodri. ESR and Roasted can do same as Havertz. Arsenal need more DM considering Pathey is going and Jorginho, Elneny are all ageing. When you compared the two midfielders that Liverpool have signed MAlister, Soboskia and they are going for RLavia and Trent An old playing well in midfield now I bet Klopp players would be a force to reckon with next season. I await how Arteta would setup his midfield.

        1. Maybe Arsenal signed Havertz because they couldn’t get a towering left-footed CF with excellent technical abilities

          Remember that Arsenal previously tried to sign Vlahovic. I think Arteta had prepared a tactic for Vlahovic, before signing Jesus

        2. sylva, if Havertz plays to his potential with goals and assists for Arteta, the squad is improved with a German international, who can play across the forward line. In addition he adds height and heading power to the forward line at the end of Arsenal’s crosses, corners and free kicks.

      2. If you think Martineli will ever be benched for Jesus then i tell you that you are fundarmentally wrong

        1. Martinelli is currently injured, so he’d likely be unfit at the beginning of next season

          1. Arsenal have Trossard, Nelson, Smith Rowe for the wings Gabriel Jesus is not even an option at the wing.

            1. I think those players will compete for Xhaka’s position. Jesus would be able to focus on shooting from the left wing, instead of tussling against the opposition’s CBs

  3. Going a season undefeated in the Premier League’s a bit optimistic isn’t it Sam?
    Our Invincibles only pulled this off with 12 draws and some chicanery.
    There’s still an inherent weakness on the left of our defense, and the new players, however good, will need time to blend.
    I’m optimistic about next season and have some expectations of big success in one form or another, but undefeated…hmmm!

    1. What was the chicanery Jax?

      As for the defence Saliba is the key, along with Tierney – one still hasn’t signed, while the other is a true defender, who’s future at the club is still uncertain.

      Let’s look at it this way :

      Who would you replace from that defence?
      My only thought might be Saliba for Toure, once he’s made a few more appearances, but that’s at a push right now.

      1. Pires diving against Portsmouth to get a draw. I know most teams have a diver who’s usually overlooked by fans, but this one action plus all those draws and we became “Invincible”? I saw loads of those games, and we were great, but I’ve always hated that reference.

        1. So, one alleged dive, which the referee didn’t give of course, represents chicanery?

          A draw means we weren’t beaten, which means we were unbeaten during 38 PL games in my book, as we won the others.

          I fail to understand why our own fans try to diminish the clubs achievements – would city or united fans point out one single act to diminish their treble winning seasons?
          Come on Jax, I always read your posts, but only Adrian “talksh**e” Durham would come up with this!!

          Whether the article is comparing today’s defence versus the Invincibles, or trying to say we could go unbeaten, requires two different answers :

          The first one no chance.
          The second one, sort out the LB position and Saliba’s contract and then see how the first few games go.

          1. I don’t expect agreement, but that’s how I see it Ken. I’d far rather crash through 100 point barrier than go unbeaten. But that’s me😜

          2. “I fail to understand why our own fans try to diminish the clubs achievements – would city or united fans point out one single act to diminish their treble winning seasons?”

            And always praising the others achievement. I also don’t understand it at all. Had it been the Manchester clubs with that achievement some of our fans would have praised it endlessly.

            1. “I fail to understand why our own fans try to diminish the clubs achievements – would city or united fans point out one single act to diminish their treble winning seasons?”—They hate AW.

              They will sing praise endlessly if MA achieve unbeaten in a season.

              BTW, IMHO, 100 points is easier to achieve than invincible.
              2017-2018 – 100 pts – Man City
              2019-2020 – 99 pts – Liverpool
              2018-2019 – 98 pts – Man City
              2018-2019 – 97 pts – Liverpool
              2004-2005 – 95 pts – Chelsea

              In 2018-2019, Man City achieved 99 pts while Liverpool achieved 98 pts. These two teams almost achieved 200 points while the other teams drop points when they faced Man City or Liverpool. Pep Guardiola managed Man City since he signed a 3-years contract on 1 February 2016, he had won 5 EPL but never unbeaten in 6 seasons.

              So, what do you think?

      2. Dear oh dear!! Don’t get carried away, signing Rice, Havertz and Timber isn’t suddenly going to make us unbeatable. Man City are still superior to us in most positions and apart from Kovacic have not entered the transfer window. The two players they are reportedly linked with, Gvardiol and Barella, are top players who will strengthen their existing squad further. In my view we’ll do well to repeat last season’s great finish.
        A bit of realism will do nicely!!

      3. White *might* at least not be a big drop off from Lauren – not sure. Lauren was tough as nails, stronger and probably better defensively, but I’m really starting to rate white at fullback.

      4. ken, man for man the Invincibles would play the current Arsenal team off the park. They could not match the physicality, defensive solidarity, movement and passing ability of the Invincibles, let alone the finishing of Henry and Bergkamp.
        Imagine the current defense against Henry, Bergkamp, Pires et al and the current attack against the defense you named with Patrick Viera and Gilberto Silva in front of them!

    2. He didn’t mean that. He’s not talking about going a season undefeated

      He is referring to our defense vs Invincibles defense

      1. Stephanie
        Even comparing defenses is not close. One has a title and undefeated season, the other not a single trophy, forget about title.

        Ken is right, our current players would all be backups compared to the invincible defenders.

        Optimism is fine, but delusion on the author’s part is just nonsense.

        1. 👍 Durand, it should be noted that we are not downgrading the “achievements” or performance of the current squad, but trying to keep all of us founded in reality.

      2. Not sure Stephanie, as in the first sentence Sam says Arteta wants to make us “unbeatable”, and in the last part says “pull off an invincible season”.
        Perhaps I’m taking it a bit too literally🤣.

      1. Andrew, good to correspond again.
        Your completely correct, of course.
        Now if the author had said, for instance, could this be the best defence SINCE the Invincibles, he might be nearer the mark…. time will tell.

  4. @Pat. Rice being an upgrade on Partey is a joke. Which football have you been watching? Long time, we understand. Partey and Rice are not the same anyway. Rice is a very good player, but Partey is a better player overall. Give Rice time and he may end up being better though, but now currently.
    If Partey leaves, we need another midfielder…period!

    1. On his day Partey is possibly the best in the world in his position, but he cannot do a full season in the Premier League, also there is something hanging over his head at present which could be on his mind or remove him from the team in future. Therefore, a 24 year old who played every game for WH last season is a very good replacement for a 30 year old who couldn’t play every game. Rice, if he eventually signs, replaces Partey, Havertz replaces Germany bound Xhaka, but yes, another midfielder is required as a back up.

  5. We still need two players CF & CDM. Vlahovic & Caicedo. Then our squad is complete.

  6. The keeper and the back four are the last line of defence.

    The midfield, especially the DM, are there to break up attacks, to give the back-line time to organize.

    Let me stress this again. A middle three of Odegaard, Havertz and Rice will struggle at times against many teams in this league.

    I really think there needs to be at least three top class DM’s available to Arteta for those games.

    Both Man United and Liverpool (in the second half) put our midfield under pressure by being aggressive.

    Also, I really feel that the three DM’s we will require, will need to be top class, since they will have to to cover for the injuries we might sustain.

    Remember, we will be playing in the Champions League, next season which may itself create injury problems.

    This is just my take, but I worry that Arteta’s gung-ho attacking style will be found out next season, and we will need a lot of 1-0 wins if we are to compete.

  7. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is the best form of defence is attack. On the contrary, Arteta’s Arsenal is the best form of winning is control. That’s why Arsenal rarely win big, they always win by smaller margins with massive possession. The last 30mins of the Bournemouth game was the greatest performance I’ve seen by an EPL team. 92% possession. If the midfield trio are masters of keeping the ball and control of the tempo, then the 4th midfielder in Zinchenko will come inside from LB to make it midfield supreme. Not much worries of transitions or counter attacks. It’s true that the Invincibles backline was brilliant but it had a harmonious variety that complemented the immediate midfield and forward positions. Attacking LB Ashley Cole went rampage with dribbling LW Robert Pires and sprinting LF Thierry Henry while all three were brilliant at defending the left flank. The more cerebral RB Lauren was outstanding in keeping the ball with ghosting RW Fredrick Ljungberg and the imperious football master RF Dennis Bergkamp. And there is no way through the middle covered by monsters; captain marvel CM Patrick Vieira, fireman DM Gilberto, last man wall CB Sol Campbell and the honey badger CB Kolo Toure. It’s taking a bunch of hardened Marines and a group of ballerinas and make them do landscaping.

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