Same old Arsenal – Still waiting for Emery to fix our schoolboy defending

Points finally on the board, but a lot of work to be done still. by Konstantin Mitov

Hello lovely Arsenal people. We beat West Ham! And in typical Arsenal fashion, we made it difficult. We conceded some pretty silly chances. If this was a better team we would’ve suffered. This is the part of Arsenal that’s hardly changed, but it really needs to.

The way we allow players to go past our defence is unbelievable. It’s shocking to say the least. Even schoolboy defending is a compliment for our back line. This is years in the making but I wonder aren’t we supposed to change this? What do we do about defending in training?

I am also very unhappy about the fact we stick with Xhaka, Bellerin and Cech. I continue to see nothing in Granit, yet a player like Torreira who kept Ronaldo quiet is on the bench? And we blindly trusted Guendouzi, who sometimes does make simple mistakes.

And I want to know how comes Bellerin gets the spot over Lichtsteiner? The Swiss is exactly the nasty type of player we lack and even though Hector is decent going forward, he is useless in defense.

What worries me big time is that we are playing whoever the manager likes rather than what’s best for the team. We looked miles better when Lacazette came on and Aubas form has been pretty poor. In all honesty the Gaboneese striker doesn’t do a good job on his own up top.

Lacazette has a lot more to offer in terms of hold up play and you have to wonder why we keep playing one striker only? It feels like it’s because this is how Unai Emery likes to play and this is not the best we can get out of the squad.

Under Wenger we tried to play a style of football that didn’t fit our players and it cost us bad and I feel we continue to do so instead of putting up a system that works for what we’ve got.

The players sometimes look like they’ve never seen each other on the pitch before. And comparing us to what Pep did at City is impossible with the endless budget he has there. He can buy the players needed to play his style, we cannot. And even thus so, he still won the title on his second season.

I don’t think Emery can leave his blueprint in 3 games, but if results don’t go his way, he doesn’t have Wenger’s comfort of having players and a board who constantly back him for historical reasons. Those players lacked confidence for years, especially in the big games. We need to improve there and we so far dropped our pants vs City and missed like 100 chances to beat Chelsea. It was really sad to see that we lacked character to get something from the game after coming back.

On a positive note, there are some signs of Unai’s ideas like the new pressing. Sometimes it’s very chaotic, but sometimes we do get the ball in dangerous positions.

Another difference is the usage of the wings. We scored quite a lot of goals after breaking from the wings which is funny when you consider the fact we lack a pure winger.

But all and all it’s a pretty poor start to the season. We definitely need more work on the squad, but we cannot plummit every big game we play, hoping that we’ll be able to beat the small teams. And there is still the small problem of our away form which is yet to be tested.

If I was the Arsenal head coach I’d first try to stop the major goal leakage and then worry about the style we play. This is why so many people wanted someone like Simeone to take over.

I’m prepared for another difficult season. Rebuilding something always includes tearing down at least parts of what it was before. Let’s hope we can now go on a positive run to gain some confidence.



  1. Malaysian gunner says:

    This schoolboy defending dates back to Wenger’s time.He was only interested in
    weaving pretty patterns.Thats why I say good riddance and his lofty ideas about
    how the game is to be played.
    As for his successor,the sooner he improves the defence the better. If you don’t concede
    stupid goals,you have a chance of winning.

  2. iffybright says:

    We can’t judge him now because this is not his Team…..
    This is Wengers team…
    After Next summer, we can begin to Evaluate Him….

    One thing I like about him is that he is fearless..
    His decision making is first class unlike Wenger…

  3. Howard says:

    You wonder why Lich don’t play but Bellerin plays?

    Bellerin is Spanish

    1. JB says:

      and has 3 assists to his name after 3 matches as a defender

      1. Maks says:

        Yeah, stat again, but how many goals in our net or chances went thru and arround him!

        I have noticed that lot s of young fans like players who have better haircuts more then those who are actually better players. Maybe today, line between a pop singer and a football player is thinner then ever but fans football intelligence should be much better then it is.

        1. Midkemma says:

          I have noticed some mature fans belittling younger fans, mocking them.

          What is a good fullback for you?

          Are you going to say a 70’s style FB who was solid at defending or a FB after the millenium who are tasked to act as secondary wingers?

          3 assists is very good for a manager who uses tactics that require the fullback to act like a winger in attack.

          It could be considered bad for Stoke or managers who like the back 4 to stay back.

          There is a WIDE variety in tactics and I would have thought a mature fan would know this… but hey, I made the mistake of thinking age means something then, I should have reminded myself sooner.

          “Yeah stat again”
          Like a real moron!
          Stats do not lie, people lie. Learn to use stats FFS! A moron doesn’#t know how to use stats so obviously that moron will belittle stats like they belittle the younger fan.

          STFU you agest tw@t.

  4. Thomo says:

    Rome wasn’t built in a day he’s trying to get a team. It will take a while to implement his style….your forgetting when klopp and pep.were changing the style of their teams they didn’t start well players were making mistakes the coachs were being questioned now look at both teams

    1. Maks says:

      Yes, I totally agree, but what he is trying with Xhaka, Cech and Ramsey is beyond football logic.

      1. Sue says:

        It baffles me… Cech worries me to death… and Ramsey was pants yesterday

      2. Midkemma says:

        How many teams have you managed?

        You disagree so it is beyond football logic…

        More like your logic is limited.

  5. mobella says:

    We won for God sake. We can’t go through the whole season without conceding. I wouldn’t mind us conceding if we outscored the opponents. Did Chelsea fans gave a fcuk about conceding 2 quick goals against us after 2 goals up last week? I think not. But not us we always look for negatives as if we talking about them will fix the issue. What matter most is winning and WON!!!.

  6. David Rusa says:

    There are some common phrases which are often rehearsed that they either are taken for granted or lose meaning. I am at pains to get evidence of Arsenal’s extremely bad defending in the West Ham game. West Ham scored just one goal. If we base on ifs then all teams have such defects. If our players had taken their chances we could have defeated Man City and Chelsea but they didn’t and we lost both games. Why should anything concerning Arsenal be so magnified? Is it due to the recent past, suspicion that nothing good can come from our team, the relatively little money our team spent in the market or lack of appreciation of the changed circumstances? We need to understand that Arsenal has a new manager with a number of new players who will need time to gel. I will repeat this again and again that none of us expected a new coach to come in and achieve results immediately. This coach is Unai Emery who won 3 Europa league cups in a row with Sevilla, has won the French league and other local trophies with PSG. Surely no serious person can believe that he has all of a sudden become a bad coach! Some of our misguided people are even yearning to have Maurizio Sarri who is much older than Emery and has never won any serious trophy in his coaching career! Several level headed fans have pleaded for Emery to be given a chance but like Shakespeare said, “It is in vain to talk to him that means not to understand.” However we shall not tire to appeal to fellow Gooners to be realistic and let the coach do his job uninterrupted at least in his debut season.

    1. Phil says:

      @David Rusa-I enjoy reading your posts.Mainly I agree with most of what you write but I cannot believe you feel the defending against West Ham was not to be criticised.If Arnautovic has taken the many chances he had and Snodgrass not missed a sitter then we could have been dead and buried.Even Lineaker said on MOTD that it could have been 6-6.
      I actually felt Mustafi and Sokritis played ok but once again we were sliced open on counter attacks.If WHU can create as many clear cut chances against us as they did then what are the bigger and better teams going to do to Us?
      I back Emery 100% and I like the way he wants to change the way we play and for that he must be given time (and money).But let’s not try to believe everything is going to plan because it quite obviously is not.It will improve and we will get better.But if that game yesterday ended in a 3-5 which it quite easily have done then Emery would have had a lot of answering to do on THIS defence

  7. msty says:

    with the current set of player we have the best way to sort out our defending is to revert to a back 3….from what i have seen in the 3games this will be our best lineup…
    sokritis mustafi monreal
    bellerin xhaka geun/torr iwobi
    mihki ozil

    1. Maks says:

      I wrote the same under some other article… I totally agree with you.
      If we want to keep attacking in Emery style, continue Bellerin form in oposition side, and make our defending better we have to line up in a way you wrote. I would only exclude Xhaka and Cech from the team.

      sokritis mustafi monreal
      bellerin geundouzi mhki torreira iwobi

      or without Bellerin comes Lichtsteiner
      4 2 3 1

      1. Phil says:

        Totally agree-our two full backs give us width so I would go with a 3/4/1/2 with Laca and Auba as strikers and Ozil in a free role behind them

        1. msty says:

          Emery clearly state he doesn’t fancy 2up to so that goes that…

  8. barryglik says:

    The new Emery style requires
    a team of super Athletes like
    they have at Liverpool,
    Manchester City and Tottenham.
    A brilliant first touch, speed to burn fantastic spatial awareness, anticipation,
    multiple skills and a wide range of options in both attack and defence.
    Arsenal is well short of top 4. It was headless chicken stuff all game.
    However we won because it says so in the paper.
    But truthfully Arsenal was saved by the fact that Westham spurned numerous
    easy chances and the fact that 3 innocuous crosses fell delightfully in our favour.
    It is early doors though and I like many on this site have already
    allowed a significant “transition” phase with completion date
    like Spurs new stadium being extended game by game.

  9. Lower east says:

    2.1 up with minutes to go we get a corner and our deepest player was xhaka and his was 15 years inside the West ham half.. Defensive madness

  10. Trudeau says:

    Couple of things. The players Emery “likes” are the players he thinks will win us games. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.

    People forget how poor City were at playing from the back in Pep’s first year.

    Critics of Xhaka’s performance yesterday were basing it on previous performances. He was strong in the tackle and had several incisive passes. I’d like to see him start alongside Torreira next week (love guendouzi but worried it’s too much too soon).

    Our defence still gives me the sh*ts

    1. kev says:

      Xhaka is just a mistake waiting to happen.The true quality of a player will always show itself no matter whatever happens.At Arsenal you can predict the players who are going to have bad games before the match even starts and 95% of the time you’d be right.Our midfield is overrated and I will continue to stress on this fact.The only player I believe we are missing at CM is AMN who I believe because of his style of play and qualities will compliment Torrreira very well.Xhaka can only dictate things at the deep end but will be poor or give the ball away when asked to surge through from midfield i.e driving the team through midfield.Its suicidal to play Xhaka as the attacking member in a two man midfield in a team like Arsenal.
      Having said that,I’m giving Xhaka five games max and people will start hoping he’s out of the team.
      I just hope we sell him after this season.

      1. Trudeau says:

        Kev, you might be right about Xhaka in five gamesbut not based on his performance yesterday. He didn’t give away much possession, distributed the ball with purpose and made some key tackles, I’m not calling on him to play CAM.

    2. Maks says:

      Xhaka is a player from the last century!
      He s like a player from the 80ties. Today is 2018, and we have better players in the team.

      1. ks-gunner says:

        No we dont, otherwise Xhaka would be sitting on the bench. Calm down with your bias and give credit where its due. He played well and its in our own interest that he keeps the good work up.


  12. ozziegunner says:

    In my opinion, Bellerin was good going forward, but meandered back showing no commitment to defend when the ball was lost. His present future is to revert back to a right winger, a position Arsenal is deficient in.
    Lichtsteiner should be selected as right back. He is an experienced, no nonsense Swiss international who is a serial winner, having won 7 Seria A titles. Having captained at club and national level he should provide the leadership Arsenal’s defense needs in discipline, tactical awareness and teamwork.
    Xhaka has demonstrated that he is not a DM; however when partnered with Torreira he is able to operate further up the pitch and utilize his passing rsnge as he does with Switzerland. This partnership worked well in the second half against West Ham.

  13. Maks says:

    ALthough I welcomed Emery I already has some issues with him…
    Everbody saying that Xhaka played well, I think that he is a player from the last century. So I would start Torreira as a real DM, and Guendouzi littlebit infront of him.
    Bellerin is improving in oponents part of the pitch but defensivly he is totally lost and we can not play him as a RB any more. Only place for Bellerin in my first 11 would be with 3 at the back and Bellerin on the flank in formation of 5 in midfield. He is a winger who can not score goals at all.
    And if untalented headless chicken had to play when Ozil is not in the team, why not put Mkhi as a no. 10 and ramsey to help RB? Ramsey has a workrate but can not and doesnt want (?!) to defend. He rather run but rearly attack oponent player who has a ball. Only jumps infornt of them. Yesterday, ramsey, as no. 10 did not pass any ball at all to Auba! and has a two decent touches with the ball, everything else where mispasses, and stupidity all over.

    …why Emery still forcing those three, when we have better players for all three positions? Maybe, yesterday he waited for WestHam to get tired and then put additional pressure on them. Or he wants to sell ramsey so he is putting him in the window… but sadly, ramsey doesnt want to be sold.

    Against Cardif we have to start more offensively and score more goals then them! Thats so simple:

    Lichtsteiner Mustafi Socratis Monreal
    Torreira Guendouzi
    Iwobi Ozil (Mkhi) Auba

    …and it is evident that we had to buy a winger, but we didn t!

  14. JB says:

    Oh boy!
    complain after complains
    we lose you complain
    we win, more complains

  15. Xxnofx says:

    Happy for the win but dam ,we could have lost that by the same score line .very weak looking team tbh one of the weakest I’ve seen in the last 5 years .our defending is amateur at best .this high line defending will get us in to alot of trouble this season .whats with not playing these 2 players we spent our majority of our budget on?
    Overall I’m happy for the win but after watching the 90 mins I’m still thinking to myself that team looks and plays just like a wenger team .the sideways passing gives me a headache watching it .
    Would love to know Ramsey’s passing stats yesterday aswell I finish anyone as that .

  16. Grandad says:

    The result was better than the performance but at this stage of Emery’s reign results are more important.In tactical terms ,to improve defensively Emery must ensure that both fulbacks are reigned in.If Bellerin is attacking Monreal should be in line with his centre backs and vici versa.This is not rocket science but plain common sense.We do not have the athletic midfielders to cope with counter attacking teams with AMN injured so we have to play the system which best suits the players available.On a more positive note,there are signs that Socratis is beginning to settle into the tempo of the Premier League which does not apply to Mustafi nor Xhaka.

  17. Sue says:

    I’m glad we won… it was hard work though, I think against a bigger team we would have been in trouble. I do believe there have been positives but there are still too many negatives. I think right now we are miles behind City & dare I say it Liverpool… it really does break my heart saying that ?
    Oh well things can only get better

    1. Xxnofx says:

      Not miles .atleaat 5 years behind them in terms of players ,some of the team selections are very questionable.he said yesterday his subs saved us ,why his he not starting them players ? Why is he starting Ramsey when he dosent want to sign a contract when we’ve got players on the bench that want to play (laca).
      Shouldn’t be anywhere near that starting 11 and if this season goes tits up then the manager imo is to blame ,annoys me when I hear people say this is still wenger a team ,wenger is not selecting the team or sorting the tactics out .he signed 5 players in the summer that’s half a team if my maths is rite so that’s on the manger to get it right not on wenger

  18. Top Gunner says:

    As long as we start the games with Xhaka, Ramsey, and Ozil. We will cry like Wenger’s time. We should atleast start one of them per game. Elnerny and Maitland-Niles can make the difference instead of Xhaka/Ramsey combination. Play either Laca or Webeck behind striker. I said it during Wenger’s time, and I still say it now

  19. ks-gunner says:

    Wenger left the team all crippled and you all expect Emery to make it run a marathon now? Just be realistic for once, we all know that he needs up to 3 transfer markets to turn things around. 6 player at least among-st those 2 must be world class.

    1. ken1945 says:

      ks-gunner, so Wenger left us in a mess?
      We finished 6th and since then Emery has signed 5 new players.
      When are you going to start looking at the present regime?
      When are you going to realise that he will have the same transfer restraints that Wenger had?
      Two world class players? Plus four others?
      Cloud cuckoo land is where you are living in and until you start being realistic and not keep blaming Wenger (6th remember?) you’ll never be objective.

  20. John0711 says:

    Never thought I would say this but we are missing Walcott
    At least he worked hard and had pace out wide

    1. ks-gunner says:

      He was one of the most inconsistent player who has ever played for Arsenal. Far from being a workaholic. Headless chicken fast enough to bump at other players. So glad him being gone.

  21. David Rusa says:

    Why is it that many people have forgotten how poor at defending Man City was in 2016-17, Pep Guardiola’s first season, or is it a case of selective memory? Let us give Emery a chance.

    1. ozziegunner says:


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