The Arsenal defence needs a complete overhaul right now

The Arsenal defence has been looking extremely suspect this season, and it is little surprise that the Gunners have conceded 16 goals in our first 11 League games, and there are only 6 teams in the whole Premier League that have conceded more. To put this is perspective, Burnley, Brighton and Newcastle have all conceded at least 5 LESS than us already! There is a reason for this, and that is because our defenders are all getting very old!

Peter Cech is 35, and even our captain Laurent Koscielny has now admitted that he is going to retire from international football after the summer. He told a media conference with the France team: “There is an end to everything.

“After the World Cup, I will be almost 33 years old, it will be the right time to make room for the youngsters pushing behind.

“I have six months left in the French team to blossom and take as many memories, as my wife would say.”

There is no doubt that he will not be able to play every week now, especially with his ongoing achilles problems. His partners for most of this season have been; Per Mertesacker (33 and in his last year of competitive football, could he get even slower?); Nacho Monreal (the youngster at 31, but although he seems to be our most consistent and effective defender he is also getting on in years. Can we really expect these three to continue for very long?

As for our backups, we have the youngster Rob Holding, who has looked very nervous at the start of this campaign after his heroics of last season. He could hardly be considered good enough to be in our starting XI every week. We have Shkrodan Mustafi out injured at the moment, but if the rumours were right he was very close to leaving the Emirates in the summer, and he has hardly lived up to his reputation of being a top German international.

Of course we also have Calum Chambers, who kept Holding out of the England U21 side in last summers Euro Under-21 Championships in Poland, but although he has been injured with a recurring hip problem since the beginning of the season, he seems to be totally untrusted by Wenger going by previous seasons.

You could also include Matthieu Debuchy in our list of possible backups, but he is also 32 and suffering from more injuries than the rest of our defence put together, and has indicated his desire to leave Arsenal on many occasions. He is unlikely to be with the club next year.

With Arsenal already set to lose Ozil and Alexis this summer, Wenger is going to have to spend fortunes just to replace those two, so there will not be much change left over to strengthen our defence, so could we be looking to promote from the Academy? Wenger will have to hope that youngsters like Bielik, Plezuguelo, Osei-Tutu and Tafari Moore prove to be up to Premier League standard, or we are going to have an even weaker back line than we have this season. Just for info, our reserve side have also conceded 16 goals in their first 9 games as well! So where will that leave us?



  1. Sue says:

    They’re all getting on a bit. We defo need at least 2 defenders but no doubt Arsene won’t see this. We’ll do fine with the ones we have. Argh!!!!!

    1. Drew Loves Arsenal says:

      LOL! Sue I feel your pain, i really do, i jsut can’t stop laughing @ how backwards we have gone as a club. Do you think we are still a ”big club”?

      1. Sue says:

        No I don’t think we are. You can’t live on past glories (although it would be nice haha!) It’s now that counts & we’re pretty crap and have been overtaken by our rivals, Coming 5th last season is the start of our downward spiral in the league, or at least until we get a new manager

        1. Simon Says says:

          Ain’t that the truth. We’ve got ourselves into a bit of a vicious circle, without champions league football we will not be able to attract world class players or even potential world class players unless we pay them huge wages and there is no way we will do that, we have so many players coming into the final year(s) of their contracts who may or may not re sign. I honestly think that it’s going to take years to get back to where we all want to be and the longer Wenger stays the longer that will continue. We are and have been always told the board look to Wenger for answers regrading the football side, he hasn’t got the right answers anymore and what we’re seeing now is proof he hasn’t had them for a good few years. Defensively we’re awful as a team and we don’t have any glimmer of hope on the horizon, the next Tony Adams isn’t sat in the reserves. Time to Wenger unless you want to destroy your legacy completely.

          1. Sue says:

            AFC is a shambles Simon ☹

          2. Simon Says says:

            It sadly is Sue, we have a divided fan base, an majority shareholder who is (in my opinion) using our clubs assets to secure lending on his other sporting investments, a board who quite frankly see us fans as customers rather than supporters as shown by the chairman’s AGMs performance, players who aren’t signing new contracts,if you cut Ian Wright and others open you’d see cannons in their blood with some of our players now you’d find image rights and pound signs. We aren’t in the good position we are told we are in and while some will disagree I personally believe the blame lays firmly with Arsene Wenger, if he was doing his job we wouldn’t even notice the owner and the board, they are a disgrace to our club but they do not pick the players to play or buy nor coach the team. Sorry rant over!

          3. Sue says:

            I totally agree & I love Ian Wright ?

          4. jon fox says:

            Well said Simon and telling the plain truth is not and never has been even remotely near to being a rant. We need more plain speakers , like you, not fewer. Pochettino, with far less money and wages to spend has done far better. He is organised , hard working – and I often wonder WHAT Wenger exactly does , since there is zero evidence of any real coaching or thought to formations – and Poch has a vision and a clear plan. He knows how to coach and his players all work hard for him. Likewise Sean Dyche and many other Prem managers, none of whom have remotely the supreme club power that Wenger holds. Wenger is an anachronism in this modern era and could only ever have been kept so shamefully overlong, by our present Dickensian board and couldn’t care less owner.

  2. arie82 says:

    When our only pure dm is bench for all match this season
    When a full back became cb
    When once a time, elneny and coqelin is being cb (coqelin is cb in city match)
    When a cm (xhaka) forced to be deep lying playmaker
    When other top team have and use dm (kante, matic, dier, wanyama etc), we got xhaka…

  3. Shortboygooner says:

    No more 3 at back. No more cdm in CB. No more wenger

    1. Sue says:

      No more Lacazette on the bench

  4. Mudassir says:

    Do you know what’s painful? It is when we lose or drew and we think it is not too bad because it is against a so called big team.
    where does that leave us? deep down the pecking order. we are 5th best team in england right now behind City, cfc, utd and of curse Spuds. remember we were 5th best in the whole Europe up there with bacelonas Madrids. we need not only defense overhaul but the team. staff and players, board and and even some fans if possible. #GoonerForLife.

  5. barry glik says:

    To be fair Arsenal has used
    all sorts of defensive combos
    especially in the cups
    and it seems to be working fine.
    Elneny and Coquelin are playing
    in the centre of the back 3 now.
    It seems to me that this season most sides have opted for a 2/7/1 formation.
    Just the 3 pure defenders GK and 2 CB’s.
    The 7 man midfield consists of 2 wing backs 1 ball playing dm and 4 AM
    Up front 1 striker.
    Its all about power and pace, pressing high and attacking intent.
    So its like you need 8 players who can attack and defend equally as well.
    Having more than 3 designated defenders seems to be a luxury now.
    Nelson Niles Willock Iwobi Nwakeli Nketiah are guys
    who I see playing this duel role football in the future.
    Its not new as the Dutch did it in the early ’70’s.

  6. Mitch Connor says:

    You can’t have 3 at the back when you only have one top defender. And even he isn’t young any more. We should have signed at least 1 top Central defender. We let go of Gabriel, Mertsacker is retiring, Chambers and Holding aren’t experienced enough, Monreal/Kolsanic are LBs not specialized CBs.
    We should have had 4 at the back and signed two top Central midfielders. One top defensive midfielder and one top box 2 box player who is good defensively too.

    Again blame Wenger. He is literally bringing us down. We could finish 6th this season

  7. ThirdManJW says:

    We do need younger better defenders, but more importantly, they need to be coached properly in how to defend. That will NEVER happen under Wenger, so it’s pointless him wasting any more money on new signings.

    1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

      George Graham understood the need for a strong spine and defense being a Scottish international midfielder playing in the 70/71 double winning team under Bertie Mee and Don Howe.
      Arsene Wenger doesn’t do defence and one has to ask what Steve Bould does for his money?
      Given the money required to rebuild this squad, given the issues raised by previous posters, and Kroenke’s reticence to invest the Arsenal is heading for mid table mediocrity. Tragic to see!

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Good article Ozzie, If George Graham had twenty goes at the Champions League he’d have had at least three under he’s belt, George was brilliant tactician who won a European trophy with the likes of Morrow and McGoldrick in midfield. With respect to those players they were average at best

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          And you know what? I’d love to see him back if only till the end of the season to sought out the mess that Wenger’s put us in

      2. Simon Says says:

        For what it’s worth I think you’re bang on, the only thing I would add though is we do not know if Steve Bould is ‘allowed’ to coach how he wants to or if its true that Wenger dictates everything in training. Honestly until we know that we can’t really criticise him

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          You’re right Simon, under Wenger he’s not allowed to open he’s mouth, D’you ever see him jump off the the bench to give instructions to defenders.

  8. jon fox says:

    A very relevant and important topic and our defence has only TWO outfield players remotely near the standard that all our top rivals would accept; Koscielny and Kolasinac And as pointed out, Kos is ageing and carrying a chronic achilles problem. I include Kolasinac, even though I do not regard wingbacks and modern day full backs as true defenders, since very few, world wide can TRULY defend as George Grahams lot did so brilliantly (Sead being an exception) I do highly regard Kolasinac and he is a throwback, fortunately. Though I do believe he would be the only modern player in defence right now to merit serious consideration in the 1998 era up to The INVINCIBLES SIDE. Our six CB’s are mostly either hopeless and ageing or desperately raw and very young. The ONLY exception being Koscielny. Monreal is clearly not hopeless but is scarcely the regular standard we need. Overall, the defence and CDM have neen disgracefully neglected under Wenger since Gilberto left almost a decade ago. The real truth is that Wenger has never understood the need to focus on defending at all and this is why we are always so hopeless without the ball. Had Wenger not inherited Grahams legendary defence , all with warrior attitudes, he would not have had the early glory years he did. Football is made up of attack AND defence. But not according to Wenger!

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Excellent again Jon, remember we had to suffer Denilson for five or six years before Wenger realised he wasn’t good enough

      1. Simon Says says:

        I don’t believe I ever saw that bloke sprint, he just jogged, I will never forget him and not in a good way

      2. jon fox says:

        Denilson; yes I well remember the crab – sideways only – and a decent manager having brought him in would have quickly seen his error and got him out of the club asap. But Wenger is incapable of this . That is why he has kept the appalling Walcott still here, on vast wages for 12 years (in January coming). I would not put myself up as capable of managing us BUT I saw after a mere handful of games that Walcott had the heart of a pea and no football brain whatever. I WOULD HAVE SOLD HIM BEFORE HE WAS 19. He is now 28 and still here. Yet, some strange brainwashed fans, not many admittedly, think Wenger is a top manager. I think he is the worst current manager in the Prem, bar none. Not one other Prem manager would pick the strange sides he picks, with players in the wrong positions, no shape, no fight and no hope. It is a disgrace this man is still our manager.

    2. Midkemma says:

      Poor Monreal, he has played fantastic in the new formation and still got overlooked?
      No player is perfect but Monreal is prob been a better defender than Kos recently so I would say we have 3/5 that could get into rival teams if they based it on skill rather than name.

      When Wenger is given the players he wants then he appears to perform, I will use the fact we went 995 mins in the UCL without letting in a goal, 10 clean sheets on a run…

      Just look at the current squad and how they was bought.
      Welbeck who is Welbroke again, Wenger only wanted loan but Gazidis was eager and bought him.
      Chambers was out of nowhere really, Wenger praised the kid but it didn’t look like Wenger wanted him and after a decent 1st season he appears out in the cold.
      ElNeny was bought 6 months after Wenger spoken to Xhaka and AFC bought Xhaka in the following window.
      Ozil was panic bought after Cesc turned us down.
      Mustafi was panic bought after other CB options had already been sold.

      We moan about not buying many players this transfer window but the 2 we did get was 2 solid players.

      Wenger made the comment about keeping Gazidis on a leash and people assumed it meant not spending as much, for me it is to stop him from buying trash and clogging up the team with players not good enough for AFC, that leash worked well this year as we didn’t panic buy a Perez.

      We could get a great coach in to replace Wenger but they will want quality to win the EPL, not average players who might do a Leicester.

      That is the way Gazidis is taking us, Wenger could do better with tactics and drilling in training which might paper over some cracks but the club is falling apart while we have a CEO who is failing at his job but still has a whopping bonus to lead us.

      It is a small club mentality to buy lots of players and hope 1 or 2 of them make it, that is what Gazidis does, that is why Wenger made the leash comment (imo).
      AFC is a big club, or at least we should be with the fan base we have and how much the fans are willing to spend on season tickets etc…

      Would you give Jamie Oliver rotten veg and ask him to make a soup as good as other top chefs who used fresh ingredients?

      That’s how I feel when I read comments slagging of AFC team and Wengers tactics.

      He is picking the wrong ones but he has rotten players and he has no clue on how to turn that into a fancy dish.

      1. Simon Says says:

        Sorry just to clarify you think that Wenger is telling Gazidis not to buy players and Wenger doesn’t decide who we sign? Not a criticism I just wonder what you meant?

      2. jon fox says:

        Crazy blaming Gazidis for the things you do, which are all down to Wenger. Gazidis, though hopeless and a liar to us fans consistently, is NOT the manager, does NOT pick the team. HE doesn’t coach them either but then, neither does WENGER. THE CLUBS TRAGEDY IS THAT NO ONE ON THE BOARD NOR THE OWNER HAS A CLUE ABOUT FOOTBALL AND HOW TO RUN A HUGE CLUB.

  9. Grandad says:

    Your spot on Jon. Lack of top quality in the goalkeeping and centre back areas is the main factor in the downturn in the fortunes of Arsenal .The likes of Ozil and Ramsay are regularly slated by fans and the media when the real problem lies further back.Wenger has failed to address this weakness during the past 5/6 years and as a consequence Arsenal have become a laughing stock, a team which rarely keeps a clean sheet against even against mediocre teams with respect to Watford, Stoke etc. There are young Premier League players who would have strengthened the Arsenal defence namely Maguire, Butland and Van Dik but as usual our esteemed Manager fails to recognise obvious talents and sticks to his current stock which is failing the club on a regular basis . Unfortunately nothing will change until Mr Wenger departs but based on the incompetence he has shown in team selection and in player recruitment the team is unlikely to qualify for Europe this year and this may just be enough for the executive of the club to listen to the most important element of any “club” namely the fans.

    1. Simon Says says:

      Both you and Jon are totally right, if you look at the defences of the GG teams they were so well drilled and organised. I do get the impression that we could buy the best goalkeeper, center halves and full backs/wing backs in the world and concede, you don’t have to have the best defenders to have the best defence. They just need to be coached and organised.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Right again, if I had to pick the best back four in my Arsenal life it would be Viv Anderson, Frank Maclintock, Tony Adams and Kenny Sansom, but as we all know, Arsenal best ever back four was Dixon, Bould, Adams and Winterburn.

        1. Simon Says says:

          What you mean, vivas,senderos etc aren’t in there?!?

        2. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

          You could also throw Pat Rice, Bob McNab, Peter Storey, Martin Keown and David O’Leary into the mix.

  10. Midkemma says:

    I disagree about the defenders, we have 3 young CB ready for gametime and could very well be our future defense, I am waiting for some of the older ones to retire to hope and see them play more.

    Chambers and Holding are good CBs.
    Bielik was a holding CM but been trained as CB and earned praise when he last went on loan.

    Chamber-Bielik-Holding could be an awesome backline in the near future if allowed to step up.

    But like every great def, you need the TEAM to defend, you can’t have a CM go missing in times of need to defend.

    If we look back at GG then we could see the CM forming a def line.
    Looking at AFC right now… it is a mess.

    Our def shape could be better but in general I would say it is very good, it is our CM that lets our team down defensively.

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