The three positions that could haunt Arsenal this season

It was always going to be a huge ask for Arsenal to address every single weak point in the summer transfer window but they did try and they have to be commended for their efforts, however, there are three positions that remain an issue.

I believe it is accepted by almost all the Arsenal fans that centre back, central midfield and the right wing-back positions are the biggest areas of concern.

For all the will in the world, it is difficult to argue that David Luiz has strengthened our central defence, certainly not to the level Arsenal need.

The jury is still out on Dani Ceballos but I am not sure he is the classical central midfielder we are looking for, the box to box midfielder that all top teams possess. He may turn out to be such a player but my feeling is that he is better suited to playing just behind the front three.

Hector Bellerin is due back but I have a long memory and I accept that he was playing well before his injury but I also recall that he was notoriously inconsistent down the right flank and I am not convinced he is the quality some people think he is.

On Saturday the lack of a decent box to box midfielder hurt Arsenal, the central defence has already shown its vulnerabilities this season and I do not think anyone can claim that the right wing-back position is going to frighten too many of our opponents.

I hope I am wrong but I have this horrible feeling that failing to strengthen those positions in the summer may come back to haunt us.

39 Comments

  1. Where'sMyTop4TrophyGone? says:

    We’ve got a good enough squad to be fourth. It’s up to Emery to field the best players possible. Something he didn’t do against the scum on Sunday. If we fail, it’ll be down to Emery and nobody else and he should get the sack.

  2. Sip says:

    I think we will find out once our starters are back for selection (Bellerin, Holding, Thierney) if the problem really is defensive personnel or a lack of defensive coaching and team selection combined with tactics.

    At the moment I think we could put Van Dijk back there and he would look average.

    1. towny 254 says:

      Sip I agree with you 100%

  3. Innit says:

    Ceballos is fine for this season. I honestly don’t expect him to stay when the season is over

    Our Defence is definitely the weakest of the Top 6 teams in the Premier League

    Bellerin is more of a winger than a defending fullback really but the best we have in the RB/RWB positions. Niles is doing an admirable job considering he is a midfielder not a defender

    We should give Chambers more opportunities until Holding comes back. But Luiz, Chambers, Sokratis will do in the meantime

    Use Torreira and Guendouzi to help the defensive line

    1. kev says:

      Niles’talent has been wasted ever since that game against Utd at Old Trafford where he was the MOTM.
      If the club believed in Jordi Osei-Tutu then I’d rather have seen him get games at RB because I keep saying it’s very debatable to say AMN, a CM is better than Osei-Tutu even though he may not have games at top level.I wonder what will happen to Niles after Bellerin comes back and we move on from him at RB

      1. Phil says:

        Bang on @Kev. Jordi OT is a specialised RB and was highly rated so why was he sent out on loan knowing both Lichsteiner and Jenkinson would be offloaded and Bellerin would need time to get himself back fit?For all the criticism of AMN it should be remembered he is a CM and not a FB or WB.But I give the player credit because he has done as well as anyone could realistically expect considering it’s not his natural position.

        1. kev says:

          This club does my head in at times.I mean if we tried him and he was out of his depth we could then have used Niles but to assume without even giving him a chance was baffling.
          There was a story which came out that even the academy staff were confused as to how he wasn’t getting chances.
          Niles I still rate very much and hope one day if he gets his chance at CM he takes it

          1. Sip says:

            It would be typical for our club if AMN never gets his chance at his best position but will now only be used as back-up RB.

            IMO AMN could well be one of our best CM and it is high time he gets serious game time in that position.

  4. Steve says:

    I’m hoping that with a recognised left and right back playing in their natural positions will help shore up the central defence. I would also suggest that with the athletic prowess and powerful running that Maitland-Niles possesses, he could be the answer to our box to box midfield issue.

  5. Tardigrade says:

    We need Sidibe, Doucoure and Upamecano next summer

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      signing Sidbeand Doucoure means bellerin and xhaka or maitland niles will depart

      1. gooner4life says:

        Xhaka please get rid he is a liability.Why he has been given the captains armband is a puzzle i cant work out.

  6. John0711 says:

    Admin, I don’t expect and answer, however, on a previous thread you satiated Sam P supports who ever is manager or wears the shirt, while a
    I appreciate those morals as fans we are entitled to say when we think something is wrong, otherwise we are simply sheep who follow what we are told.

    And Gotanidea I’m sorry but Xhaka scoring a goal or having a good game does not take away all his poor performances and change that fact of what he is. Average player at best

    1. jon fox says:

      He is NOT average at best. He is appalling at best. In fact, he has NO best. He MUST be dropped and then sold ASAP.

  7. Ezekiel Elijah says:

    I Agree With U But I Also Think That Emury Should Play David Luiz In The Central Mildfield(4) And Play Chambers And Sokratis In The Central Defence

  8. Scottlock says:

    Sort out the midfield and everything else will fall into place, I can count on one hand how many times Xhaka has had an amazing game since joining, and sorry Innit i dont agree Chambers has never been good enough for us maybe Borough or Fulham, and even Holding will not hit the ground running. Socratis is a great defender maybe a bit rash sometimes but he is our most solid at the back. Bench Xhaka and I think we will finish top three

    1. jon fox says:

      “Socratis is a great defender…. “. I can scarcely believe any fan who presumably is sane, can have ever written such complete nonsense. You have made yourself a laughing stock if you TRULY believe this nonsense you wrote. Adams, Terry , Kpompany and VVD are/ were GREAT defenders! Sokratis is a joke and not a funny one either.

  9. Poolewinger says:

    Bellerin having been out for so long should have been doing a lot of strength and conditioning work which help his defensive side of the game. As long as he keeps his defensive positioning when Tierney is bombing up the opposite flank and vice versa. We will only get stronger at the back when we finally have our pacey full backs in the mix.

  10. Ackshay says:

    prior to his injury bellerin was playing very good and he did show improvement under emery. i think with a fully fit bellerin and a fully adapted pepe our right side will scare most opponent from pushing their left back and left winger up the field. With tierney and bellerin overlapping and aubameyang and pepe cutting inside we will be dangerous from the wings which wasn’t the case last season and likely cost us a top 4 place. Bellerin style of play is a key component of our system as he provides most of the width on the right hand side with his ridiculous speed and stamina.

    1. kev says:

      Except Bellerin was torn apart by opposition wingers and some here shared in the idea that he’d be a good winger rather than a good fullback.
      When he’s being compared to Niles who’s not even a RB it makes him look so good but it should be said that Bellerin is poor defensively.When it comes 1v1 defending and dribbling Niles is better but he lacks an understanding of the position

      1. AndersS says:

        AMN better than Bellerin in 1v1 defending? – you must be joking.
        With Bellerin injured RB is our must vulnerable position.

        1. kev says:

          Yes, I believe he is better than Niles at 1v1 defending.What Bellerin does better in defending is his positioning but when it comes to 1v1 Niles is worse.Dont let Niles’ poor showing in some matches at RB deceive you.He is better at 1v1 defending

          1. AndersS says:

            I don’t agree, and his poor 1v1 defending was very much part of Spur’s second goal (the penalty). He is a very weak link in that position.

          2. kev says:

            Bellerin’s 1v1 is so bad many here lat season stated he would be better as a winger than as a defender.Bellerin is a much better RB than Niles but in 1v1 he isn’t

  11. JOEL O OCG says:

    No not at all every Player if not all has a weakness and David Luiz is not exeptional Guiz lets give him time he is more experienced than most opponents

  12. Ackshay says:

    Ceballos is a great signing for me because he has the ability to keep the ball while pressed which no other mid has currently. most of our mid when pressed shield the ball hoping to be fouled and this is exploited by opponent to slow our attacks and counter attack. A press resistant midfielder is an essential part of the system we play under emery and played under wenger. That why despite being an emery supporter he is pissing me off with his constant use of xhaka.

    1. kev says:

      Ceballos is good but he’ll be a far better player if he learns to release the ball quicker.
      If such a player is to be played deep then a true DM must be put beside him because his style is risky

    2. Pablo Piccasso says:

      I totally agree with your comment there brother man.

      players who can keep the ball in tight spaces are key in modern football. We played some of our best football in the modern era when we had players like Carzola, Fab, Hleb, and Nasri in our teams.

      City have B. Silva, Silva, Gundagone (sp) / Barca have Messi, De Jong / Lpool Salah just as examples.

      Unless we intend to play football like Athletico (even they are trying to move from that style right now). We need a better player to replace Xhaka, personally I like the look of Allan from Napoli, no nonsense DM but equally mobile, energetic and really has brain farts in games.

      1. Pablo Piccasso says:

        + rarely

  13. bajaja says:

    our defence started with a clean sheet only for unai emeritous to bring in david loose-it. The back 4 of niles chambers sokratis monreal didnt concede a single goal in pre-season and against newcastle they continued the good work.

  14. bajaja says:

    even barcelona couldnt break the back four of niles chambers sokratis monreal in pre season it was niles that got an own goal before alhaji mustafi came on to concede the winner.

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      its only a friendly and friendly lacks the 101% commitment, competiveness,aggression and determination

    2. Prince Madu says:

      Aha, funny though

  15. Viju Jacob says:

    The three positions that is haunting our season are :
    1. Unai Emery’s team selection.
    2. Unai Emery’s tactics.
    3. Unai Emery’s tinkering.

    1. frank brady says:

      That can only be truly judged once he has the disposal of his whole match fit squad.
      Patience, Rome was not built in a day.

      1. Viju Jacob says:

        He’s not on a limitless contract…it’s coming up at the end of the season.

  16. ken1945 says:

    There is, of course, the January transfer window to consider and address any issues – but are we not jumping the gun a little?

    By January, we will have had the opportunity to see if Bellerin and Holding return in the excelllent form they both showed before their injuries.
    We will also see just how Tierney settles into the premier league and if his long term injury has affected his play.

    I like the idea of Bellerin and Pepe on the right, with Tierney (from the few games I have seen him play) and Auba on the left, if only UE decides to play that attacking style of football.

    With Cabs and Ozil behind the front three, we have two players who will deliver the assists to our attacking play and Guendozi alongside Torreria to support these two game changers.

    With Holding back as we hope, he and Chambers would be the obvious choices at CB, leaving out the pro wrestler and guaranteed error prone Luiz currently playing in that role.

    UE needs to decide what style of football and tactics he is going to play…we most certainly have the players to improve on last year and equally important, we will have an experienced group of players on the bench.

    AMN, Cab/Ozil, Kolasinac, Luiz, Socs, Willock, Nelson, surely we can actually start to make teams worry about our attacking strengths, rather than trying to outsmart them with defensive set ups?

  17. Shinodakc says:

    If only we could buy all players in all positions in one window. I don’t think some of us really understand how unbalanced our squad was with bang average players. Gazidis messed this club up big time and not even one or two transfer windows could fix us. We have managed to release a lot of deadwood, but we still remain with some average players. We have improved our squad with some quality additions and some are coming back from long term injuries. We are still short in some positions but it can’t all be done at once. It’s up to Emery to use his players to their strengths and bench error-prone players. We are headed in the right direction and I believe Emery will be let go if he doesn’t perform, that Raul guy seems to be a no-nonsense guy.
    Any manager would have struggled after taking over from Wenger, 22 years of work and building a culture can’t be undone in an instance. We will still struggle this season, I will continue to criticize poor performances, I will continue to rant after a loss, I will enjoy the wins and I will continue supporting the greatest team in the world, THE ARSENAL.

  18. Murunziri says:

    Understanding of position , good analysis my lad

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