Opinion – Can we expect a defensive overhaul at Arsenal this summer?

Arsenal currently have a number of players in contention for a starting role at centre-back this week, with Luiz and Sokratis likely to be first-choices for the time being, but William Saliba will surely be nailing down one of those spots next season.

The 18 year-old helped his on-loan St Etienne side reach the French Cup final last night with an impressive display, and they will now come up against Paris Saint-Germain for the trophy.

Saliba has shown he is a commanding defender despite his younger years, and his whopping height of 6ft 4″ will prove an issue for opposing attackers, especially from set plays.

Who lines up alongside him is up for grabs however, and the latest name to stake a claim for such a place could be Pablo Mari.

The Spanish defender put in a more than competent performance in against our lower-league opposition in the FA Cup, and is said to have come out of the game well fitness wise, and ready to play.

His emergence could come as the biggest blow to Rob Holding, who now looks likely to have become fifth in line for action behind Mari, David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis, and while Chambers could also be trying to stake a claim, he has also impressed at right-back this season, and as a holding midfielder previously.

The scariest thought for the English defenders however may be the anticipated arrival of William Saliba this summer, who could see the duo fall so far down the pecking order they may have to look towards the exit door.

Holding has shown on a number of occasions that he has the potential to play for a top club, but his injuries have hampered his progression since joining our club.

Mari of course is only on loan from Flamengo at present, with an option to buy, but a deal for his signature will most likely pose an end to Holding’s Arsenal career, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Mustafi lost his place in the squad to the arriving Saliba.

Do Holding or Chambers still show enough to warrant a chance to start regularly for Arsenal? Will Mari show his worth and earn the chance to play alongside Saliba next season?



  1. Am afraid one of Holding and Chambers will have to look elsewhere.
    We can’t rely on them. Saliba, Mari, Luiz, Holding, Chambers and Socratis. Six of them but can we boast of 3 quality ones? Then some have to give way for at least one new quality addition.

  2. 6ft 4” finally someone who can clear balls from corners, hope he doesn’t mind using his head unlike a lot of players who avoid headers these days, I don’t blame them Since the science is still undetermined weather headers cause long term brain harm

    1. I think you’ve got long term brain damage. I have never known of a player who deliberately pull out of a header fearing his health from the ball. The balls weigh nothing these days. OMG -That’s up there with Got No Idea and the type of things he prints.Not related are you?

      1. @phil
        The problem is not the ball but the opponent s head or elbow. However I am not saying no player put their head to ovoid being injured.

      2. Phil I shouldn’t reply To you but you must be ex-player who used his head more then most, just so you know only last week they have stoped young players from heading the ball, and even in my days we avoided headers as much as we can granted it was ages ago and there were discussion recently with retired players said that they avoided headers in training obviously they were Not going to say that they avoided in the game

      1. BBC NEWS

        Children under the age of 12 have been banned from heading footballs during training. Players will be allowed to use their heads during matches, but headers will be banned in practice or training sessions. The new guidelines apply to children in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not Wales.Feb

  3. Mustafi, Socratis and Luis should be unloaded in the close season but I suspect Luis will be retained for the duration of his contract.The article did not include Mavroponas who is apparently doing well on loan.Plenty in terms of quantity but not so good on quality.Four centre backs in our first team squad is surely enough?

  4. Least of our worries. Anyone heard the news that a six Nations match got postponed because one of the squaddies got Coronavirus, now imagine that happening to premier League footballers. Especially one that trains with his team mates without problem THEN tests positive.

  5. Mari and saliba will be big threats in set piece sitautions even holding i think.They have the height advantage but i dont know if any of them have pace.Now pace is not a must if he have a quality CB who knows how to position and reads the game well.

  6. a defensive overhaul means everyone has to start from scratch and build by the coordination, communication and teamwork…

    if that happens fans shouldn’t expect top 4

    a team needs an least one experience centreback

  7. Like Phil says balls nowadays are light as a feather nothing like 50,40 even 30 years ago(personal experience) but banning headers up to 14 years old might be a good idea anyway I think next season CB,s Saliba ,Mari,Luiz for his experience,we send Holding on loan to get playing time(with clause to be able to call him back if we need it)he comes back to replace Luiz whose contract expires,sell sokratis,mustafi,keep Chambers for his versality and may be one new signing!

  8. We have decent okay CBs, no top nor even good CBs, not reliable no consistency. Obliging coaches to play 2DMs which lean team towards defending, meaning less attacking and more pressure.

    We do have a bunch of useless CBs in that sense.

    Mustafi Sokratis, Luiz, should be out, Mari not kept. . We have Saliba, Chambers, Holding and need to sign a top guy as Koulibaly, stop the BS as Reds did.

    I’m looking forward to Arteta’s formation, make prediction simply impossible without it. Prediction on formation is difficult to make beside what we see from him. Tierny back in full training, not sure he is ready but assume he is, or hole filler Saka will.

    Bellerin Sokra/Mustafi Luiz Tierny/Saka
    Pepe Laca/Auba. Martinelli/Auba

    In other words; Bellerin is obvious, Luiz, Xhaka, Ozil, Auba are first names he lays down. Then he plays Gendouzi, Willock in picking order.

    Nelson may be played but I see him stick to Pepe. Not blaming him on that and perfect be to sub for Nelson at 60. Give him young lad enough time on pitch as opposed to come in at 80th.

    Kroenke made a stunt bying Pepe in a payement plan, making believe he splashed 80M cash! Scared because we were all mad to not see Zaha and Partey, Maguire arrive as expected by Emery! No all payement plans and loan we got, but all to pay in cash which Kroenke refused!

    In return of his cheezie move, he got a big blow l; even more so when we have Nelson for free!

    Arteta asked for Koulibaly, he got Mari on loan. All we had to do was to include Torreira and Kolas, (both Napoli’s priorities last winter window),
    add 55M!

    1. I doubt that MA asked for Koulibaly in January knowing full well we didn’t have the money,secondly if you’d followed him,he’s having his worse season at Napoli ,loss of form and injuries,the reason Napoli are now ready to sell him and have significantly lowered his tag price which not so long ago was around 100M ,I don’t know where you got that info man??and Mari wasn’t a panic buy or second choice,MA knew him for his 3 years at man city and also scouted him during his time in Brazil(Copa liberators) where he was voted best player!

    2. Mogunna, HOW ON EARTH CAN WE OR ANYONE ELSE HAVE “decent okay CB’s ” WHO ARE “not reliable, no consistency AND THEN “useless in that sense”” Do you actually understand even basic English?

    3. Please guy, you need to stop your copy and paste and base your comments on what is really happening to the players you have being mentioning. Koulibaily plays next to nothing football this season, Zaha has been below average and below Pepe that we choose, Partey and AM are struggling and Maguire is just ok

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