Should Unai Emery mess with the defence again?

Arsenal’s first game of the season was away against Newcastle United and they got off to a great start with a win and a clean sheet.

In the very next game Emery broke up that defence and there were no more clean sheets in any competition until Thursday night against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

When you have a defence that is lacking in so many areas including communication is it a wise idea to keep on changing a defence after it keeps a clean sheet?

Obviously it would mean keeping Mustafi next to Luiz and Chambers as a right-back but what would be so wrong with that?

Replacing Mustafi with Sokratis and Chambers with Maitland-Niles is probably what the coach will do but I am not sure it is an upgrade on the back four that started against Frankfurt.

One game does not make a season, that I understand but the favoured backline that Emery has been going with has been less than successful and if fans are honest with themselves a lot of them were saying that Emery should go back to the defence that started against Newcastle.

The reason is simple, you do not mess with a winning combination and Thursday’s defence is a winning combination.

It is too late to go back to the Newcastle line up because Sokratis and Maitland-Niles have not been in good form since, which could have something to do with the changing of personal at the back.

The defence on Thursday stood strong against a good German side that put them under intense pressure and they deserve another chance to show Emery that they are the back four that can bring stability at the back, especially when there is no guarantee that changing the defence again will work out.

Of course, there is Holding to come back in and shortly after Tierney and Bellerin but I have to ask, why mess with a defence that has just kept a clean sheet away from home against a decent team?

Updated: September 21, 2019 — 9:50 pm

18 Comments

  1. Tererney bellerin, holding and mavopanos, is the best defence we have. Mark my words of Emery has any sense he will soon see this is the way forwards. They will prove to be a hard defence to brake down. I’d also promote number two keeper to the number one spot, he shouted push and bullied the back live to stay focused on difficult moments,, the the kind of keeper we need . Ordering players to mark the man and takin g ball from crossses with ease. We need to take chances and this back four is killer

    1. I’d agree with that back line…. Mavro was commanding the back line in the U23s match against wolves and there is already good chemistry between him, KT and Bellerin which certainly helps.
      As for Martinez, not sure he replaces Leno yet but both are good keepers so competition between the pair will keep them sharp.

      1. Good chemistry from one game?

      2. Hehehe.. Good chemistry after just one game? Come on man this ain’t it.

    2. Seriously Robert what makes you think Holding and Mavropanos are our best CB though? Mavro haven’t even played 10 games since he joined, Holding have always played second fiddle. So what you think they are better than Mustafi, David, Sokratis and Chambers?
      They way some fans just call out Holding as our CB messiah is just alarming, you all should allow the lad grow up and learn and stop putting unnecessary wait on his shoulders.

  2. AMN holding sokratis/Luiz kola I think is our best choice right now. In 1 month we will have bellerin and tierney back and it will improve both the defence and attack since full backs are an important part of our system since they provide width and also defend.

    As an emery supporter my patience is running thin with the lack of football gameplan. The high pressing and workrate has disappeared thus we looked alsolutely woeful. Have the lazy players reverted to their previous self or emery lost the dressing room.

  3. Emery style is similar to klopp so Liverpool is an easy comparison. Their actual gameplan is pretty average, they work the ball wide waiting for mane or Salah take a chance at goal or dump ridiculous amount of crosses until one get put in the net.

    It’s their intense pressing and fighting mentality that makes their match interesting and when they don’t give 100% Against some small teams it’s a boring match where they get a lucky goal or the opponent is bad themselves.

    Our best matches have come with high work rate and fighting spirit which Has been in existent apart from the spurs match. With aubameyang in front our slow link up play will be bad so team set up to press high and hit hard is the best option. Key to that is consistent high Workrate not once a while in a season.

  4. Admin – “The defence on Thursday stood strong” and “why mess with a defence that has just kept a clean sheet” implies that the defence played well.

    That is NOT the case and they were very easily penetrated several times. It’s just a good job Frankfurt’s finishing was on a par with our defending otherwise we would have been 2-0 down in the first 20 minutes.

  5. City 8-0 Watford

    F*** Me!!!

    1. Emery should get serious otherwise he’s losing team selection, u hear him all the time “tactical, tactical” when we are not winning which tactical selection does he mean.

    2. Imagine City vs Arsenal ?

  6. let’s go with the Thursday defense as we wait for Hector and kieran because Niles committed stupid mistakes

  7. I was thinking about Emery’s defensive scheme and finally got the answer. Also I’m going to debunk the popular opinion that the fullbacks don’t get adequate protection from the wingers. Here is my analysis:

    So Emery’s formation this season is 4-3-1-2 in the absence of Lacazette and 4-3-3 with him (Ozil dropped). The line up will be like the match against Watford. The prominent feature of this formation is the front three (Auba-Ozil-Pepe or Auba-Laca-Pepe) don’t have defensive responsibilities, they would stay high up the pitch and their main job is to counter. It’s deliberate. So who will protect the fullbacks? It’s the job of the CMs (Ceballos on the left and Guenduozi on the right hand side). Xhaka’s job is to protect the CBs.

    It’s different from 4-2-3-1 that normally would turn into 4-4-1-1 when defending. In this formation, the wingers’ job is to mark the opposition fullbacks (esp when they overlap). Emery realized that Auba and Pepe can’t do this job so he ditched this formation and went with 4-3-3.

    The advantage of 4-3-3 formation is its effectiveness in counter attack. In the second half against Watford, Emery realized that we had lost control in the midfield so he brought in Nelson. His performance was shocking to say the least. He couldn’t carry the ball let alone protect it. Emery had learned his lesson so he fielded Saka, who had a brilliant performance. He became the outlet and went past opponents. All in all, Arsenal’s counter attacks were effective and fruitfull.

    So Emery has plan, but the first weakness is his golden boy Xhaka. He is alone on the center and has to protect the 2 CBs alone (the midfield is stretched so it is a concern).The second weakness is the huge space between the front three and the midfielders. It was apparent in the second half against Watford.

    1. To correct you, we aren’t playing a 4-2-3-1. Watch the games. We play a 4-1-2-1-2 (4-4-2 narrow diamond) your assessment in the movement of the central mids is right, but they are doing the job badly. As a matter of fact, Xhaka is marshaling his area pretty well, hence the reason for most shots coming from the edges of the box and not the sides.
      I think Emery is making a big mistake in playing Auba and Pepe as a front 2. I think he should go with Auba as a lone striker and play a winger on the left. Regardless of whether they take their fullback on or not, it should help reduce attacks from the wing.
      In the game against spurs, Auba was an awful winger, but you’ll notice he still caused spurs to keep going central in attack.

      1. I’ve never said we are playing a 4-2-3-1 this season, it’s 4-3-1-2 (first line of the second paragraph) or as you correctly said a 4-1-2-1-2.
        What I mean by 4-2-3-1 in the third paragraph is the formation we used last season. In that formation, wingers like Iwobi track back and help their fullback.
        Yes maybe if Emery used two wingers it would cause the opposition fullbacks to stay in their post. His diamond make us vulnerable and the CMs do their job badly as you correctly pointed out.

  8. We need to be developing a partnership between chambers and Luz or soc until holding gets back
    Callum is very cool headed great with the ball at his feet and has a decent read of the game
    I couldn’t understand how he was taken out after the first game
    That way you have combination that works one battler and someone to mop up and feed balls out
    You just can’t have 2 iratic players together

  9. I doubt our defense can get much worse no matter who we select. A lot of the problem of conceding more shots than any other team is not only isolated to the 4 defenders but starts upfront and in midfield where we fail to press and fail to make things difficult for our opponents. They get much to much space and time on the ball long before they arrive near our box.

    I have not seen much of the famously promised pressing game Emery spoke about after he was appointed.

    Emery has failed to improve a terrible defense and that says a lot.

  10. I agree, if we’re asking for players to be dropped after a calamity then should we not give a pat on back and a chance when they do something right. The concentration levels were good and no major f ups, we are still waiting on players so I’d want to see us try and go with something that worked.

    I also agree with others who ask why was Chambers dropped, he’s probably our least error prone CB that we have avail. I don’t like him out wide but I get it for away days, also he gives better cover to our CB and he comes into midfield to help when he’s free.

    Donyell Malen making headlines, Bennacer last season, Gnabry season before, is anyone taking bets on which one will rub in most. I’d say SG is obv the fav, but I always liked Malen, I thought he’d make it with us and we may have another Dutch prodigy if it all went to plan. Don’t say they again left the buy-back opt off the table.

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