Is Gunners legend being too harsh on Arsenal defence?

Arsenal do not have the best defence in the Premier League, in terms of goals conceded at least, with 10 going into our net so far in 10 EPL games. But that is only one more than two of our main title rivals Man City and Chelsea and three fewer than another one Liverpool.

So I was a bit surprised to say the least when I saw in a Metro report that our former centre back and member of the invincibles of 2004 suggested that Chelsea have the edge over us in the race for the title because of the strength of their defence.

Sol Campbell spoke about how the defensive solidity of Leicester City helped them to beat us to the title last season and suggested that the same thing is likely to help Chelsea this time.

He said, ‘It’s very professional. Tight at the back, that’s key.

‘Look at Leicester how they won the Premier League last year, very tight at the back, nicking goals.

‘Okay, they are not just nicking goals, Chelsea, they are dispatching teams as well. But being tight at the back.

‘And that’s the right balance, really. The right cocktail, balance, if you need that solid [defence], in those tight games, back end of the season, last day, six, seven, eight games, that will kick in and make the difference.’

Okay they have only conceded one goal in the last five games but the one before that saw them ship three and that just happened to be against the Gunners. Was Sol not watching that? And has he not been taking much notice of the Arsenal defence recently?

With the new Kostafi pairing of Koscielny and Mustafi at the heart of our back four Arsenal have let in just 4 goals in the last 10 matches and they seem to be getting better all the time. In fact if you take away the four goals conceded to Liverpool on the opening day, when neither of the first choice center backs were available, our defence looks as strong if not stronger than Chelsea’s.

So was Campbell wrong to suggest Chelsea have the edge in the title race because of their defence? If that was really the case then what about his other former club Tottenham? Because the spuds actually have the meanest defence statistically with just five league goals conceded?

Surely we should look at a whole team rather than just one aspect of it when talking about the potential title winners?


Tags Campbell Koscielny Mustafi


  1. Goonsquad8 says:

    We don’t have to have the “best” defense we just need to be in and around the top 3 and keep putting away our chances. Our defense is looking great and mustafi is still adjusting to the prem/ teammates and will only get better. Let’s keep up the belief and cohesion and we can go far

    1. muda says:

      Did you just say Cohesion?
      Hello Arsene, is that you? Lolx

  2. AndersS says:

    Our problem for many years has been giving away too many chances and goals. Even to mediocre teams. We actually just saw it again last night. The root of the problem is not the back line. It is Wengers lack of ability to make the whole team defend. That is what is needed in modern football. We have Ozil, who doesn’t defend, and that is OK, if the rest do the work. But when we have the likes of Iwobi, Chamberlain, Ramsey and untill this season also Walcott not being organized defensively, it is too easy for our opponents. This season has been a little better, and there are signs, Wenger could be improving in this area. But we will see in the next few games, where we play teams, who really work hard. Let’s hope for the best.

    1. Goonsquad8 says:

      You make a reference to last night and 3/4 players you named didn’t even play hmmmm. Besides Iwobi everyone of those players are putting in a shift now

  3. Uzi Ozil says:

    We conceded two goals last night but the defense has really improved this season. Moreover, I m impressed with how we came back from two goals down.

    Mesut Ozil has officially added finishing to his game. Safe to say Ozil this season will be assisting the ball into the back of the net.

    Glad we won. Good way to start November. We can only improve.

  4. Onochie says:

    If criticising the defence will make them work harder to prove the critics wrong,then its a welcomed idea.

  5. dragunov762mm says:

    Simple math Sol. We conceded 10, but 4 goals came from one single match with Holding and Chambers paired. We are becoming established at the center of defence since Kostafi duet with only 4 conceded out of 10 games.
    Chelsea defence? Didn’t we wack ’em three nil? Their defensive fortune is depending on old John Terry fitness.
    Firm defence surely could win the league, but if you can’t score goals then the answer is Tottenham Hotspurs. They are very balance team all right. Conceded less, scored even lesser, hahaha…

  6. Jansen says:

    Sol is right in that defense helps a lot and it is hard to win a major trophy without it, but you don’t need the best defense to win. You just need to be good enough to be able to play for a 0-0 draw away when you face Bayern, Real, Barca or Juve on the road during later stage CL

    Basically, you need to be good enough to have a plan B which allows you to work your tactics around keeping the 0 and counter attacking if an opportunity presents itself.

    I think we might have that ability now, would Wenger plan to play like that? That’s a different
    question. But I don’t think we are good enough to out play or out pass Barca. We must adjust tactics according to the opponent and in the past some times Wenger refused to do that.

  7. Break-on-through says:

    I believe sooner rather than later that a team will show up some weakness in the che formation and when that happens they will struggle a bit. Liv went with that formation not long ago and it blew teams away for a while. We found weakness in it though as did others which forced liv to change it eventually. Che look good esp Costa but so do Arsenal with Alexis and Ozil, Liverpool and there blistering forward players looking impressive, and it looks like City are back in the confidence too. I don’t think you could single out Che over these clubs yet, I think Sol is just trying be different by taking a shot in the dark on the club which was almost the first to drop off pace.

  8. Wilshegz says:

    We really need to sort out the LB spot.. both Gibbs and Monreal are not reliable and Mustafi needs to stop leaving players unmarked in the box.

    1. Jansen says:

      Have we really seen enough to write of Monreal? I think he is a very good player and one of our best performers over the last few years.

      Some of the goals we have conceded come from the left side when Monreal was on the pitch were a result of Iwobi leaving him exposed as a result of his inexperience.

      I still have faith in Monreal (for the moment).

      1. Wilshegz says:

        Was it also Iwobi’s fault Mahrez dribbled him with ease and Barrow too.
        most importantly, was it Iwobi’s fault he defends against wingers (Barrow,Mane,Mahrez) with the archaic shadow-marking.
        was it Iwobi’s fault he let the PSG player bump past him to give Cavani the cross that led to goal

        Monreal improved last season 2015/16 and cubbed his archaic Carragher-like style of one-on-one defending but so far this season he is same as 2 seasons ago 2014/15.

        and Gibbs although better offensively hasn’t improved defensively as it was more than evident against Ludogorets.

        presently, ARSENAL DONT HAVE A RELIABLE LEFT-BACK and that is our main weaklink in defence

        1. Jansen says:

          No that was Mahrez’s fault IMHO.

  9. kelleson says:

    I will not key to the idea of Sol because Arsenal defend is the best for the nw, a defend that have conceded less than every other team in the league. The pairing of the Boss and Mustafi is the best and they have conceded less than every other pairing in the league

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