The big disadvantage Arsenal have compared to the rest of the top-six

I had a look at the official squads of the top-six teams and I could not help thinking that Arsenal really do have one massive disadvantage in comparison to their closest Premier League rivals.

Arsenal has at least three players in their squad, though in all fairness only two will be regulars, that can be considered big liabilities.

The players in question are Granit Xhaka, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi.

Now, Mustafi is unlikely to feature in the Premier League this season but Luiz and Xhaka will do and not even the most myopic Arsenal fan will deny that those players are not capable of calamitous mistakes.

As things stand today Xhaka and Luiz are first-team regulars and if you look at the likely first teams of Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Tottenham you may come up with one, at a stretch, but not two and certainly not three.

At Tottenham, I can think of just one, Danny Rose but he is not as error-prone as any of the three Arsenal players, at City and Liverpool I cannot think of any, at Chelsea they did have one but the clever sods offloaded him and at United I could think of only one, Phil Jones and he has yet to feature for the Red Devils this season.

Before any of you start chucking names at me from those clubs please take into consideration the sort of player I am talking about here.

I am talking about a player that would do an unnecessary two-footed challenge in the penalty area or of a player that would pull on an opponents shirt in the penalty area and when that happens you are not surprised. That is the sort of player I am talking about.

We may not like it but it does not mean it is not the truth that Arsenal does have multiple players that carry significant liability with them and more so than any other top-six club.


  1. ThirdManJW says:

    Agent Luiz is already doing a sterling job for Chelsea. Two mistakes leading directly to goals in only three appearances, and not to mention how easily Son got past him, which opened up the entire pitch for Spurs’s first goal.

    We win our opening two games, looking fairly decent, then Xhaka walks back in the team. Two poor performances, five conceded, completely open in midfield, no wins, and our first defeat.

    I said Luiz would make us worse, but he’s been that bad, I would actually pick Mustafi ahead of him. Xhaka has proven under two Arsenal managers that he’s not good enough. Wenger couldn’t see it, will Emery before it’s too late?

    1. Nonny says:

      Delutional mustafi over luiz sounds like a hate speech

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Obviously Luiz is a better player overall, but if you focus on only defensive ability, then there isn’t much in it, but I would go with Mustafi. Luiz has been so costly already, and he’s only played three times! Dread to think we have another 40 plus games to play.

    2. amitosh says:

      Luis was fan fav when he was bought for 8mil, and just 3 weeks in he is a public hate figure? He does not have pace, and the goal was more Sokratis mistake than his against Spurs. He plays best in a back 3, where 2 go 1v1 against forwards and he works as a sweeper, most probably he wont get to play that formation anymore. He is a stop gap, for Mustafi/Saliba so next year new guys can come in. How much better we expect for his age and price?

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Luiz was not a fan fav when he was signed. He divided opinion as much as Ozil does.

        I agree he looks better in a back 3, but Emery’s unlikely to use that much because that means dropping one from PAL.

        “How much better we expect for his age and price?”, so why sign him then? We’ve spent £8 million to not improve our defence, and to also bench Chambers.

        1. Diogenes says:

          Playing in back 3 would actually be perfect for our current squad as it would be less defensive than last year’s pre-Luiz version.

          – Luiz in a back 3 basically functions almost as an additional DM which permits us to play Ozil or Ceballos right behind the 2 attackers – so more creativity between midfield and attack

          – 3-5-2 is perfect for a team with 3 top attackers, one of which is still settling and another has injury and stamina issues. For a long season playing 2 of them in a game (all 3 if you count sub appearances) is optimal.

          – 3-5-2 works great for Bellerin, AMN, and Kolasinac – three of our 4 fullbacks who are better going forward than in defense and thus all better wingbacks than fullbacks.

          – 3 at the back is just more useful for our current collection of defenders of which last year’s Holding’s form is the only one good enough for a back 2. And we can’t be sure he’ll be as good straight away after his injury. I saw highlights of his U23 recently. Looked a bit shakey for now.

    3. ANTHONY says:

      I can see Callum Chambers as the right man to play defensively than Luiz and Mustafi. The Brazilian defender and Mustafi are nowhere near the best deffence

  2. Viju Jacob says:

    Did any of you read the article that Mustafi had far better stats than Harry McGuire? I was shocked myself. He isn’t as error prone like Xhaka though, so I hope the boys will tighten up for our club’s good.

  3. Ivan says:

    Same old replace error prone with error prone please no more Granit no more Luiz I’d have Mustafi before Luiz.

  4. Shinodakc says:

    Our main problem is error prone players in our lineup. We now have 4 of them in Xhaka, Sokratis, Luiz & Mustafi. Three of them have already contributed to 5 conceded goals in 3 matches. No manager can fix this, no tactics can fix this. The only way to fix it is to drop these erratic players.
    We can all shout Emery in or out but not even Guardiola can remove the errors from those players.

    1. Atid says:

      You forgot Sokratis in your rant, whiles maitland-niles, bellerin, chambers, kolasinac. All love a defensive mistake.

      But it’s not only concerning goals that cost matches. Missing them is just as costly or having them ruled out for stupidly getting caught offside.

      For all the errors against Spurs we could have taken all 3 points had kolasinac not got caught offside. For me that is what cost us the game as it would have been a winning position

      1. Shinodakc says:

        It’s not a rant, it’s an opinion and you’ll see Sokratis’ name if you read well. Every player has a mistake in them, none is flawless. The only difference is that my aforementioned players make their mistakes regularly and don’t seem to improve on that at all, and given their age and experience, their is little hope for them.
        We scored 2 goals against Spurs, that is not what cost us the game. We conceded 2 from stupid mistakes, that is what cost us the game. Spurs also had more chances to score.
        What’s the point of scoring 5 goals if you end up conceding another 5 goals?

  5. Leon says:

    I thought Luiz was the only bad thing about the summer business we undertook – he is a liability.
    It must be remembered that he is a stop gap – Xhaka I am afraid will be here for a while as I cannot imagine a tempting enough bid being made for him.
    Besides, a midfield three of Ceballos, Torreira and Guendouzi plus Nelson and Smith Rower provides us with far more options than a team with Xhaka in it.
    Emery has done well to get rid of so much dead wood already..
    Oh well we will see…

    1. jon fox says:

      Until ALL Wengers deadwood has gone we will still be correct in blaming him for the mess we are in squad wise. Ozil, Mustafi, Xhaka, Bellerin, whom I have NEVER rated as a defender, not even a bit. We are shifting much of his junk but it will take time and until then Emery is hamstrung and being unfairly blamed for what was and still is Wengers mess.
      Emery has his own junk in Sokratis and I DO blame him for that.

      1. ken1945 says:

        Jon, so we are in the blame game again and in not blaming UE for the mess squad wise, you then named your usual four players as proof of that claim.

        However, just a few quotes ago, you stated in BOLD LETTERS, that it was up to UE what players he wanted to keep from the deadwood, have you now taken over that responsibility once again?
        Let’s look at Unai’s reaction to your “deadwood” examples then:

        Xhaka 100% – playes him whenever he is fit: Bellerin 100% – waiting for his return: Ozil – captain one week / dropped the next so 50/50: mustafi- 100% CLEAR DEADWOOD statement that he wants him out (unlike the Ozil case – spot the difference?).

        Seems that UE has a very different view to you regarding “junk players” and I hope HE, at least, realises it’s HIS decisions and tactics that are wrong and doesn’t hide behind OTHERS for excuses.
        I believe he has the BALLS to accept that, certainly that’s how he should be judged.

  6. Grandad says:

    Spot on Shinodakc.

  7. Sip says:

    It is the manager who is the liability first and foremost.

    There is no need to play Xhaka yet the manager loves him.

    There is no need to play Luiz (we have Chambers) yet the manager seems to rate him.

    If we were suffering heavy injuries and the manager had to play the likes of Xhaka we could lament Xhaka’s many shortcomings but for now, we have many options superior to Xhaka yet the manager pick him. This clearly makes the manager the liability.

  8. Loose Cannon says:

    In my opinion, one disadvantage we have is our arrogant, error prone, slow captain Xhaka. I do not blame Xhaka, that is his ability or capability, I hold Unai responsible. Burnley and Newcastle were beatable teams and our lads did the job. Against Pool, I expected a draw but after the selection, I settled for a loss and Unai proved me right.Against Spurs, I expected a win, saw the team sheet and was expecting a loss, content with a draw. The other disadvantage we have is Unai tinkering with a winning formula. Willock did no wrong, yet he made way for Xhaka, Cabellos was brilliant in the midfield, then was played on the wings and benched.Chambers was calm against the physical teams, gets benched. Xhaka and Luiz have added nothing extra to the winning team, yet they get picked up, so lets suffer the agony for a few months more with Unai.

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