“We’ve got our Arsenal back” – But what about our defence?

After Arsenal’s brilliant third goal against Fulham, which was football team play at it’s finest, the fans continually sang “We have got our Arsenal back!”, but certain pundits are thinking we are being a little premature. We may have notched up nine wins in a row, but they have hardly been against any top teams. Craig Bellamy, for one, thinks the Arsenal fans could be expecting too much just yet. He said: “Arsenal were brilliant under George Graham, then Arsene Wenger took them onto another level. But because the last few years haven’t been as good, they [Arsenal fans] think they’ve got their club back? I don’t get it.

“I’ve not understood Arsenal fans for the last three or four years. Arsenal are an unbelievable football club. They’ve always had a certain class about them, incredible, the marble everywhere at Highbury, there was a certain standard about that football club.

“The fans were always switched onto everything but in the last few years they’ve disappointed me – maybe that’s just where football is now. Every club that has won a trophy believes they have a right to win all the time.”

He was talking to Paul Merson, who is not exactly known for being pro-Arsenal nowadays, and he goes even further and reckons we are going to come down with a bump very soon. “Sooner or later they will be on the end of a big score – defensively they are all over the place,” Merson said.

“The one thing that gets them out of trouble is that they’re always going to score goals. But defensively, they are just not good enough.”

He does have a point, as we discussed earlier about how even Fulham had over 20 shots on our goal on Sunday.

It would appear that Emery is in the “we’ll score more than you” camp, but I’m hoping he will come up with different tactics when we come up against any of the teams above us. We know our defence is dodgy, but will it be our undoing in the end? Will we get that thrashing one day when we face a top team?

Darren N


  1. Xxnofx says:

    I said in an earlier post I was starting to believe in this team , but my worry is that defence ,if the club was to go out and spend on one maybe two world class central defenders then maybe we could be just challenged next season , maybe throw in a classy winger and that would get us where we all want the club to be , but and it’s a massive but ,will the owner spend the money
    Time will tell

  2. Kedar says:

    Unfortunately Merson has a Point… We are not good enough defensively…. Our defence is not like where we can hold on to 1-0 score against average side… We as a fans never look confident in 1-0 situation… Forget about against big clubs..
    Defence should be like when you score 1st goal of the match then opponent should be thinking that game is over… We cannot score against this team…
    But against us there is always possibility of scoring….
    Everytime the philosophy of attacking football like if you score 2 then we will score 4 will not work…
    You need defence because if you are keeping cleans sheet then at least you are not loosing match…

    1. gotanidea says:

      Arsenal cannot sit back to defend either

      The attackers must also press hard like what Lacazette, Welbeck and Mkhitaryan did at Fulham, otherwise the defenders will have extra burden in defending

      1. Tatek Girma says:

        That is the point to be managed.

  3. gotanidea says:

    As what the others pointed out, we would know the current level of the squad when facing Liverpool

    1. Sue says:

      Yes who have failed to win in 4 games in all comps….

      1. John Wick says:

        @Sue ?

    2. Bur says:

      One swallow doesn’t make a summer.
      Yes we scored 5 against a bottom half team but we also gifted them a goal. Our defence is suspect in all positions. In some of our latest games our defending was dire and if our defence performs like they did against a more clinical team we will be destroyed.

  4. Sue says:

    Even the greatest teams concede & fail to win. Barcelona drew 1-1 with Valencia…..

    1. Kedar says:

      True but in our case if we manage to get something from Liverpool game then people will consider Liverpool as Barcelona and we as Valencia..
      That’s the difference right now….

      1. Sue says:

        Well that’s up to them to think that Kedar. I’m behind my team ?

        1. Kedar says:

          Yes… Everyone is and everyone should… But we need some improvement in our defence which cannot be overlooked…

  5. Will says:

    Stats don’t tell the whole story. They may have had 20 shots however looking at graphs of where they were taken from approx 13 of these were pot shots from outside the box. I don’t remember them having too many clear cut opportunities and think we were good value for the 5-1.

    Now I’m not saying we are perfect defensively by any stretch of the imagination but to throw around this 20 shots like Fulham were in the game and we were poor defensively is a little misleading IMO.

    1. John Wick says:

      Exactly Will, most of those shots were blocked ones it’s not as though Leno was pulling off save after save ?

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Will and John, of the 20 shots, 9 were blocked and as John pointed out didn’t get through to Leno. I always thought it was the sign of good defending if shots are blocked by defenders.
        I disagree with Paul Merson, in that in my view the defense is gradually improving overall and individual players, such as Holding, Bellerin and Mustafi are lifting their games.

        1. John Wick says:

          Definitely Ozziegunner, our defence is improving.. it’s not gonna improve overnight but some of these ex players/pundits are too critical! And as Will pointed out stats can be misleading.. it’s absolutely good defending if the keeper has very little to down so credit to our defenders.

  6. Howard says:

    So Looserpool is suddenly the benchmark. They’ve not won anything for years but nobody reminds them. Only Arsenal is reminded. We’ll beat Looserpool at home.

    1. Kedar says:

      Certainly Looserfools are not our benchmark… Point here is not what Merson is Barking… Point here is we need to improve defensively…

    2. John Wick says:

      @Howard ?

  7. Kedar says:

    In every world class team there is Spine from Goalkeeper to Striker
    Goalkeeper, Center Backs
    Number 10
    And Striker
    We have Goalkeeper,
    We have DM
    We have Number 10 though he is not performing at his standards but he has been the player who has created more clear cut goal scoring chances than any other player in entire season 3 years back
    So we have Number 10
    Only missing link is our CBs
    We need to address that
    In our Invincibles also we had that spine of Lehmann
    Campbell, Toure
    Vieira, Gilberto,
    Henry, And Berkamp
    Of course we didn’t have number 10 because we used to play 4-4-2 but Henry used play behind striker and up to as well
    We need those CBs

  8. John Wick says:

    Arsenal’s defence is not great we already know that but I think sometimes media and pundits alike go overboard! If an opposing team gets a shot off then it’s highlighted ten fold.. de gea made save after save after save after save at the Emirates last season and it was called amazing performance by United mourinho is a winner, outwitted Wenger again! We do it then our defending is amateur and we got lucky! Yeah cos big teams don’t concede chances, nobody can breach city or Liverpools defence.. John stones is an average player so is lovren! Unai Emery is in the door 5 minutes.. Klopp and Guardiolas defence was nothing short of atrocious when they arrived yet we get more stick than anyone and it’s getting very annoying! Most people are making out when Liverpool come to town it’s gonna be a cricket score the same team who beat Brighton 1-0 at home who conceded more than us.. beaten by Napoli and not even a shot on target with the so called deadly trio! I honestly believe that Liverpool team is overhyped until they actually win something then I’ll change my opinion anyway on our day we will beat anyone and I mean anyone.. we still have koscielny to return and with new Adidas deal on the horizon I’m sure we will sign another defender, the future is bright.. let the critics criticize it’ll be even more sweeter when their proven wrong then they’ll be forced to moan about something else! Emery’s Army ?

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Exactly John, De Gea won one man of the match award after the other for saving Manchester United’s bacon. This doesn’t say much about the defenders in front of him; however it doesn’t fit the pundit’s narrative. Arsenal is always held to a different standard.
      Hopefully the defense can improve further for the visit of Leicester City. Emery and his assistants (including Steve Bould!) have the international break to continue the progress of improvement.

      1. John Wick says:

        It just seems whenever our keeper is busy the defence is rubbish I just think they enjoy having a pop at Arsenal they can’t do right from wrong! They actually praised man United’s defending last season when it was de gea getting them results had that been us it would have been called lucky and said we’ll be found out against the better teams! The premier League is a tough division other teams are getting better they will have their chances that’s what a goalkeeper is there to do, keep the ball out of the net! And I agree Ozziegunner another couple of weeks for Emery and his staff to work with the players that’s available.. onwards and upwards ?

  9. qoni says:

    in leno we have a number one that all defences be proud of. thanks cech but it seems that you’re no 2. well if the forwards and midfielders can help our defence , yes why is it impossible to finish in the top four and champions league again. well done emery for what you already done. – gooner = forever

  10. Grandad says:

    Apart from a certain centre back who should not be a first team pick,there is real problem in that Xhaka does not have the speed nor mobility to cover for Monreal when he bombs forward.This area has been used by both Everton and Watford on the counter attack but fortunately they failed to take advantage of clear cut opportunities. If he has not already done so Emery must put the breaks on Monreal who needs to remember his defensive duties before he thinks of taking risks upfield. In the course of the next two transfer windows we need upgrades at full back and centre back although I believe young Mav can become a commanding centre half.

  11. Cliff says:

    Its true that our defence is weak.More especially our full backs,it gets worse when you think about the backup players in those positions. Kolasinac doesn’t inspire any confidence when watching him as he has no basic skills of a defender. As for Lechsteiner he has not impressed in all the matches I’ve watched him so far.This is surely our soft belly this season but if addressed promptly say in January, who says we can’t win the title? I hope Emery is on this case and hopefully we can fix it.This team is so promising and those pundits will start swallowing their words very soon.

  12. Gavana says:

    The only teams so far which have shown better defense than us are Chelsea, Man city and Liverpool. The rest are either worst or just like us. We are better than them because we score more goals than they do. So we are OK.

    In fact Man U have been riding on Degea for quite too long. If our Keepers can do the same, then there is no problem.

  13. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently on a spiral downturn in La Liga. But as Gooners that’s not an area of our concerns..

    “When we play against a top team” in the PL? But is Arsenal not already a top team amongst the top teams in the PL?

    Arsenal is a top team club side who has unfortunately lost 2 back to back big games in the PL to their 2 rival top teams in the 2 opening season games this season. But they have since recovered from that early setbacks as they have garnered strength to pull themselves together and play themselves into contention for the PL Title win. Arsenal who are 4th in the table now are robbing shoulders with 3 of their PL Title win rival clubs who are above them as just 2 points separate the trio club sides above them in the table.

    After the Nationalism games break, Arsenal will resume action in the PL to further close the 2 points gap on the 3 clubs that are above them in the table.

    I believe the 2 points gap that’s currently existing between Arsenal and the 3 clubs that are above them will start being erased by Arsenal as they beat Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Liverpool in a big game at the Ems and go 2nd in the table or even mount on top of the table after the Gunners have delt a big blow to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds for the first time in the PL to quieten their no defence alarmists.

  14. Innit says:

    Our defense will lose us matches eventually
    Our centre backs arent good enough
    And Bellerin hardly tackles

    We should have kept Chambers and used him with Holding
    I prefer Holding over Mustafi
    Sokratis is not as bad as I once thought
    May need to try Mavrapanos

  15. Midkemma says:

    Last 6 EPL games played, let in 5.
    Seems that Emery is working with the def, I never expected miracles after a few weeks so I am not blinded by overexpectation, the improvement is there to see if people wish to look at it objectively.

    Another thing to consider is how Torreira has slowly been introduced, the DM with experience… He is playing more mins now and this is helping our CBs, we are looking tighter as a unit.

    Still got work to do but it has been a very short time since Emery got his hands on our players, if you do not believe in the player then at least trust in Emery, trust he will work with our players and make them better.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      ?Midkemma, I totally agree.

  16. jon fox says:

    It is frustarting how much unrealistic optimism, without due reason appears on SOME of the posts on here. “WE’VE GOT OUR ARSENAL BACK” is an emotive and warm sounding song but it is not true, as all realists know only too well. If we DID TRULY have our Arsenal back, we would have defenders who can properly defend, throughout the team . But we do not. We have the likes of Mustafi who did have a decent game on Saturday but , realistically is not remotely good enough at the level we need. This is obviuous. Bellerin too, though he also played well at Fulham cannot defend properly. He may be worth a serious try as a winger -or may not. But he is NOT a defender of quality and never has been able to defend at all. Until we have defenders who can and DO defend , we have NOT got our Arsenal back. SAD BUT TRUE!

    1. David Rusa says:

      Jon, Mustafi is not inherently bad as you make him look. There is no way he would have played in the German team of the recent past if he was that bad. There are no bad players, only bad coaches. Given good coaching and an injury free season Mustafi can prove all doubters wrong. There is no reason why we should always be pessimistic. Being cautious is different from being pessimistic. It is good not to be too expectant but neither is it good to be a pessimist. Let us cheer up and enjoy what is happening.

      1. ozziegunnerjo says:

        David ??

      2. jon fox says:

        “Excuse me? “There are NO bad players, only bad coaches”. Are you aware of what you have just said? So bad players do not exist then. Well, who would have thought it! What incredible nonsense you write. Then Sylvestre, Djourou, Senderos, Cygan, Schillaci, Denildon, Santos, Elneny, and many, many more going back decades, were ALL just badly coached then! There is little point me writing more since you seem to believe the unbelievable! BTW, I DO enjoy what is happening but would enjoy it a lot more if sub standard players like Mustafi, who is just a bundle of mistakes on legs, were out of our club. I STILL can’t believe what you have said. Amazing!!!!

  17. Shaker says:

    The performance against Fulham was almost near perfect and I for one put my ?? for how, slowly but surely Emery’s methods seem to be getting to the players and you can notice it in their performances.
    Throughout the whole team (minus Xhaka) who I still struggle to understand how has a nailed starting 11status in the squad (but I’m no pro) so will just ?

    For the first time in ages, the whole team looked comfortable on the ball Offensively and defensively and didn’t shy away from getting the ball to show their improvement (even in tight spaces deep in or around our 18). That self-belief and confidence combined with players looking to genuinely be enjoying playing for “The Arsenal” is a pure joy and I’ll take that over anything!!!
    I’m also bare chuffed.. man like Big Pappa is actually quite a decent tough as nails, no nonsense defender we’ve been longing for the best part of 10yrs & who’s not too shabby in a 40m dash but that’s more than what’s needed + a basic footballing brain which Soktrais definitely has.
    I would love to see a Holding/Soktrais pairing,
    bench the other dodgy numpty Mustafi for a few games.

    Point I’m trying to make is we have improved Immensely in every department so surely our difference is next. There’s only positives I can see and so I say so screw the media/ex-players/pundits..
    “We Keep it Moving… Ears phones in” ??
    C O Y G

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        I think with Leno as the goalkeeoer and Torierra in front of the back four makes for a massive improvement to our defence. Confidence restored, no panicking, under Unai we can only get better.

        1. ozziegunner says:


        2. Rkw says:

          Agree on torreira and Leno … But in EPL small margins make a big difference and defensively with bellerin and mustafi the margins are not small enough … Have seen improvements with holding and sokratis and given that good defence is all abou coordination I would stick with them more consistently … The full backs are where the problems lie and addition of right back in January is essential

  18. Sibs.com says:

    We have already played the best attack in the league in Man city and although we lost 2-1, was that a cricket score? To hell the Paul merso ns. Also remember Toireira was not even in that team. Great job Emery!

  19. AndersS says:

    Defensively we have been struggling for at least 10 years. Mainly because our defense has only been the back 4 players + the goalkeeper, whereas the midfielders and attackers have been allowed to be all over the place and not organized in defending and ball winning.

    Every defender and goalkeeper we have had in that period have come here looking promising in the beginning, but slowly and surely the have been turned into “donkeys”, simply because they were under too much pressure in every match.

    It is not easy to change that, because it both requires better tactical understanding from the midfielders and attackers and more physical stamina, as they simply have to work harder.

    I think Emery is well aware of it, and he is slowly improving it.
    The match against Fulham was our best yet. Fulham may have had 20 shots on goal, but they were often forced to shoot from long range, as we had plenty of players defending.
    Fulhams goal and as good as any real goal chances they had, came from mistakes when playing out from the back. Not from bad defending as such.

    If we continue on the improvement curve for organization and also get better t playing out from the back, we can compete with even the best in a few months time.

    I am also confident our defenders will then look like much better players. The signs are already there.

    1. Phil says:

      I agree @AndersS.You can see the improvement in our defending and this shows Emery is COACHING the players which is something that had not been too apparent up until this season.Holding seems to be the one who has benefited most from this and without doubt looks to be emerging as the young CB we first saw.But coaching will only take a player so far.Every player needs ABILITY to begin with and this is where Bellerin and Mustafi are struggling.Bellerin is NOT good at defending.He is good going forward due to him starting as a winger but I would rather our fullbacks could DEFEND as opposed to attack.Mustafi has shown improvement too.But has he really had the natural defensive ability to begin with?I won’t accepy that he is not a decent player because he is.The continued criticism he got was mainly warranted but let’s remember he was being “COACHED” by Wenger and had no defensive cover in midfield in front of him.This doesn’t exactly help any CB.But does Mustafi have the natural ability to ever become the top level CB we need?I just can’t see it.No matter how good a Coach Emery is Mustafi just does not have the natural ability to begin with.As far a Sokritis is concerned you can see now why we bought him.He has been steady and not looked out of place.I believe he was bought as a stop-gap for a few seasons just for his experience and he has not disappointed.Kos is never going to be the player he was.I will be very surprised if he is still at the Club next season.Monreal continues to be consistent but will never get better.You can see the player has been Coached in his younger days and that explains why he stayed so consistent despite playing in a Wenger defence.
      So yes.We have improved defensively and for that the credit is all to Emery.But until this Club buys defenders who DEFEND we will always be that step down from being a Top rated side.We simply do not have the quality no matter how good the Coaching.

      1. AndersS says:

        I agree with you on Mustafi. He may never be an absolute top CB, and we need that to challenge for the PL title and eventually for a Champions League title.

        I don’t quite agree on Bellerin. I think he showed a lot of promise, also defensively in his early days, and I think he has gotten a bit of it back this year. But in many matches, he has been left alone in one on one situations and even one against two, because the likes of Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Özil has not come back to help out. That is why we at times have looked so open on that flank. It is getting better.

        As for Monreal, I actually think he is doing very well, but he has also been “sold” a few times by the players in front. Unfortunately Monreal is past his prime, and we will need a new LB soon. Kolasinac may have a great spirit, but he isn’t good enough defensively, either.

  20. Goonster says:

    Let’s take it easy with the OVER EXCITEMENT for now.

    We only played Fulham that have won one game a season. I say we wait till we play the likes of Liverpool, Spuds, United and then we can have a better picture.

    But we seem to be moving in the right direction.

  21. Gunner 346 says:

    Upwards, downwards never……

  22. Grandad says:

    Spot on Phil

  23. Josh says:

    Forward ever, one or two more signatures to our defense and wing, we are good to go

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs