Who would you pick as Arsenal’s very best Back Four? (not so easy)

Last season Arsenal had brought in Ben White for a massive 50 million to pair up with Gabriel in our centre-back pairing, and with Tomiyasu and Tierney on the flanks we were quite comfortable. But when we lost the very impressive Japan international and the injury prone Tierney, we were left with Cedric Soares and Tavares as our backups from January onwards, which severely limited our attacking ability down the wings.

We started this season without those two as well, but luckily we had William Saliba return from his loan, which enabled Arteta to move Ben White to play as right back, and we had the extremely impressive and versatile Zinchenko to cover for Tierney after Tavares was sent out on loan. This foursome looked very solid indeed and it seems that Tomi and Tierney were going to have trouble getting their places back.

In our last game, the easy win at Brentford, Tierney replaced the injured Zinchenko and Ben White kept his place on the right, with Tomiyasu only coming on for the last ten minutes after playing the full 90 minutes in our Europa win over FC Zurich. Rob Holding got his season debut in that game as partner to Gabriel and did not disappoint either.

So, to recap….
At Right back we have Tomiyasu, White and Soares.
In the Centre Back role we have Gabriel, Saliba, White, Holding and Tierney if neccesary.
At Left Back it would appear that we only have Zinchenko and Tierney, although I am sure Arteta would add Xhaka as a possible backup if neccesary.

So, my questions is; With all our players fit, who would you choose as our very best Back Four?

And to make it a bit more interesting; Who would you put out for our Europa League games, considering no-one can play two games every week?

Admin Pat

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Tags back four defenders

43 Comments

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    1. Excellent analysis from all.

      For me Kt Saliba Gab White. Depending on opponents n different cups I will rotate and switch Tomi,Holding,Soares in as needed.

    2. Gai, I agree with your choice for EPL, but I think Thieney can stake a claim with Zichenko if the opposition is good at counter attacking. Thieney is pacier and and a better defender.

  1. Our target has to be the EL and FA. I’d choose Soares, White, Holding, Zinny for cup games and Tomi, Saliba, Gaby, Tierney for the EPL. Who knows Mikel might make the treble!

    1. MY OPINION
      THAT IS MY BEST FOUR
      ZINCHENKO IS NOT SOLID AT THE BACK LIKE TIERNEY

      AGAINST MANU, MANCITY, POOL, SPURS , YOU NEED TIERNEY

  2. Tomi Saliba Gabriel zinchenko
    For me saka as struggled this season with white behind him ,much more a threat last season linking up with tomi .
    The other side ,with zinchenko in the side the game flows better ,tierney suffocates that left hand side with his inability to be able to come in side ,it’s always to the byline which in turn makes Martinellis game suffer

    1. Its weird as I can’t agree with you but can’t disagree with your choices
      Love tomi and has a good understanding with sake but sometimes gets caught out to high up where as white has done a great job so far and defends first and forth most rather then ventures to far up
      Field.
      Kt Is still learning the role of coming inside rather going straight down the wing but saying that he is still not match fit and still being eased in to get match fitness
      Nice choice to have on the back four rather a few seasons ago of mari and co.
      Good place to be in competition for places and who ever slips in we at least have faith they can do a good job for us rather then think OMG a mistake waiting to happen
      Keep the faith Mr Kit as progression is actually happening right in front of our eyes 👀

    2. Dan, tell me why doesn’t ESR suffer when playing that flank with Tierney?
      The real deal is we have two sets of players who all compliment each other. Martinelli has always struggled with Tierney because of his style of play and Tierney’s.
      He holds on to the ball, mostly his moves includes an overdo. He’s perfect with Zinchenko because Zinchenko drops into small spaces for him along with Xhaka on that flank. So he’s always having am option no matter how small the space is.

      ESR is a more direct player, not insane that Ferdinand and co they’ve all labelled as him as the best ba carrier when on the attack. Him and Tierney play give me and go, Tierney’s a direct player too, we all know what he’s capable of, and he’s actually out fastest defender when on the run. Has the highest pace among them all. It’s not a shock ESR plays perfectly with him while Martinelli struggles with him.

      Also Saka struggling is a myth. He’s getting too predictable now. He’s either waiting for White or Tomiyasu to make a run so he lays it for them or he’s cutting back to the edge of the box on his left foot. Too predictable now, it’s why he’s always having 3-4 players blocking his usual route of moves.
      The moment teams start putting more men on Jesus and Martinelli, Saka will go back to looking like he’s up again

      1. I’m not sure what your asking as you’ve just agreed with what I wrote .
        Martinelli plays better with zinchenko that’s why I picked him ,and clearly saka plays better with tomi again that’s why I picked him .

  3. I think Tomi is quite comfortable at left back and soares has done OK there before – I’d rather not put xhaka back there unless there’s really no other choice

  4. I differ from some on the very concept of a tight defence even being based on a so called “back four”.
    Surely it is obvious that football and PREM football more than most othe rleagues is ans has fast evolve dubnde rthe talents pod such as Guardila, Klopp Potter Conte and our ouwn Arteta Old concepts such as the George Graham original back four(which was in any case six players , including Seaman and Keown, as well as the other legendary four) are now rather passez.
    Successful Pren teams now defend from tth front too, with such as Jesus being EXTREMELY effctive at winning back tht ball high up tht field and allowing us to play a VERY high defensive linew, whic in itself ;leads to ahighpossession of thball right across the pitch. THAThas been the key ingredient IMO, why City under Pep, have been so dominant thes last few years. MANYOTHER teams are bnow doing the same tactic with excellent possession results Even lesse sides, ONPAPER, like Brighton have benefitted from top level coaching and agreat coach can and does elevate even lesser players who play ina very effective system.
    I clearly see MA doing this right now with us and reaping the rewards of possession football. It has been a bone of contention with some that majority possession leds to better results But to my mind it is obviously truth that is does, even if looked at purely mathematically.

    Yes, sides like Stoke, West Brom and others, achieved a very LIMITED brief success, at their own level of club , using brute force, tall powerful and overly aggressive players. But that was at a lower level of ambition.
    PROPER TEAMS, WHO HOPE TO BUILD LONGLASTING SUCCESS HAVE NOW LEARNED THAT DEFENCE IS A WHOLE TEAM ISSUE , NOT MERELY A BACK FOUR. AND MAJORITY POSSESSION IS ALSO A KEY PART O F WINNING.

    Wenger at least understood that fact. But where he let himelf down in that last decade was he was far too soft on players. INTENSITY of pressing and winning back the ball is what TRULY MATTERS.

    Look at how PEP, KLOPP, CONTE, TUCHEL, ARTETA, ALL DRIVE PLAYERS in todays era and notice how FAR football has moved on since Georege Grahams famous back four.
    And then look at those managers who do NOT drive player s so hard and see how FEW of them manage successful sides. The latest to start doing this successfully, though its still early days , is TENHAG, at United.
    I SAY DEFENDING IS NOW A BACK AND FORWARD ALL ELEVEN TACTIC. SO IS ATTACKING!
    Just my take!

    1. Correct!!
      But with EPL allowing only three substitutes it that was taking a great deal of anergy from players. Now, with five substitutions things are getting better.

  5. people are looking at it with old school eyes i think

    its about the space players play in and how effective they are in that shape and system.

    This is why White and Zinchenko are playing more over Tomi and KT ( apart from Zinny’s injury )

    They are both more adept with the ball at feet and in midfield than their replacements, not that i am saying Tomi and KT are poor, not at all but they dont offer the same involvement in midfield … yet

    Great options to have especially when you will need to go more defensive in certain games, or we want to play with more width Tomi and KT are then better in those areas.

    with how we are playing atm why change it?

    1. Someone actually sees it too! Tomiyasu and Tierney are both direct players, love to go forward and lay a cut back, work with their wingers.
      They’re great at it.
      Zinchenko and White are both insane at dropping and playing into the midfield rather. You’ll hardly see both make the same moves Tierney and Tomiyasu are known for.
      This is why it’s all important to have them all fit. There will be games we’ll need the directness of Tomiyasu and Tierney at the back and flanks, and games where we’ll need Zinchenko and White to keep the ball more

  6. White Saliba Gabriel Tierney,.

    Zinchenko is not a proper left back…he is a midfielder and doesn’t have much of a pace either.He is only there cos of extra cheat code midfield option higher up the pitch…Tierney over zinchenko every day

  7. Against Big teams – Tomi, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney
    Against teams where we need to dominate – Tomi, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko
    Europa League and cup games – Cedric, White, Holding, Tierney/Zinchenko (depends who was involved the game before, so the other come in fresh).

    1. Thanks man…. Happy to not be the only one that notices Gabriel’s composure issues.
      He force a lot of passes and takes too long release a simple pass from the back.

      This in turn encourages opponents and gives them confidence.

      I like Gabriel and appreciate his physical presence and set play defense and attack, but he needs to improve his decision making and timing when on the ball.

      Cheers happy fans

    1. Wrong.
      Smith plays better with Tierney. Marquinhos has never played along with Cedric.
      We need Xhaka unless he is injured, second would be Zin.
      Lokonga and Elneny will just be moving the ball laterally all the time. Don’t think they can play together now.

  8. We have four real center backs. White, Holding, Gabriel and Saliba. Only Gabriel is left footed. We need another left footed CB. Not immediately, but we do need one more.

    1. i would go tomi, saliba, white, tierney.
      i agree with others that gabriel still needs to stop with composure issues that result in goals unneccessariliy.

      i dont agree with the “we need left footed cb”, they are professional footballers, and should be able to play that side regardless

  9. My priority back 4:
    Tomiyasu Saliba Gabriel Tierney
    My back up back 4:
    Cedric White Holding Zinchenko
    White could rotate for Tomi and Zinchenko could rotate with Tierney and could also play as a left midfielder.

  10. I don’t care who starts against all the small teams. Tierney must start anytime we play against the big boys. We need his defensive awareness on the left flank. White is pretty much okay on the right, his defensive solidity is out of the ordinary especially on one on one occasions and he can help build our game from the back perfectly.

  11. White frustrates me at RB he is a great CB but he is our weaklink in the team when played at RB , Tomyasu should play ahead of him as he his much better at going forward and linking up with Saka. Strongest back 4 is Tierney Saliba Gabrel Tomysasu

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