What are Arsenal lacking from being an ‘excellent side’?

Swansea manager Paul Clement has claimed that Arsenal are not an excellent side at present, and lack the consistency needed to be one.

The Gunners were thoroughly impressive this weekend in putting Everton to the sword in their 5-1 victory, but only last week lost 3-1 to relegation-threatened Swansea City, and the contrast in performances is worrying.

Arsenal will try to put those shaky displays behind them, with the hope that our new signings will help push for a strong end to the campaign, but it remains to be seen whether we can find that consistency needed.

Our target this term will have to be qualifying for the Champions League, and the top-four of the table is the best way to get there, but we have a five point gap to contend with currently.

Paul Clement has now claimed that Arsenal could be an excellent side, but lack the consistency needed despite an impressive squad of players.

“That’s the difference between a good side and an excellent side,” he said on Sky Sports.

“Whoever they’re playing, home or away, big teams, smaller teams, they (an excellent side) manage to get good results.

“Arsenal have been a bit inconsistent, they had that 3-1 loss to Swansea very recently and next game they put in a performance like that.

“That’s a big frustration as a manager, you always want consistency.

“Players want to be consistent but as a manager you want the team and collective group to be consistent.”

Are Manchester City the only team worthy of being called excellent this season? Are Arsenal behind any of our rivals for second spot personnel-wise? Is there one part of the field where we are most inconsistent?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Paul Clement


  1. Sean says:

    Top 4 is wide open now. 6pts away from liverpool, 5 away from Chelsea & Spuds!!

    1. GB says:

      4 from spurs

      1. Nikkogunners says:

        1 for spurs, after we beat them…

  2. Uzi Ozil says:

    Beat spurs and then we give ourselves hope for top 4.

    Swansea 3 Arsenal 1
    Chelsea 0 Bournemouth 3
    Watford 4 Chelsea 1…

    I just wanna encourage Giroud. It’s not easy losing three times in quick succession for two different teams in a short time

  3. Nikkogunners says:

    The engine room is what now needs to be resolved internally for us to become excellent and Laca for Iwobi is just Okay with me. Our Defense has been operating with three and that way they cover okay but when we do four, they begin to have misunderstandings like who attack a ball and go for the same ball. so back three works for now. We got Ramsey in the Vieira role. We need a Gilberto. I suggest we retrain Kolasinac in that role and discontinue this Xhaka experiment. We need someone willing to sit over the back three and even slot in as an extra defender when we get attacked.

    1. andcliff says:

      Good call re. Kolasinac. At best Iwobi should be on the bench, powder puff finisher!!

  4. andcliff says:

    Excellent forward line, good midfield, below average and inconsistent defence. Hope we get into the CL then have a good go next season, hopefully with a revamped defence.

    1. JJPawn says:

      The back is the cheapest to fix… but, it is not easy to do as players can surprise you either way.

  5. ThirdManJW says:

    If we’re looking at what we’re lacking on the pitch, then: GK, RB, CBx2, DM. Overall, it’s the lack of a quality manager which hinders us.

  6. arsymizz says:

    I think Wenger deserves one last chance if he buys a solid defensive midfielder and a CB next summer. Meaning stopping ‘Wenger Out’ chants and let him finish this last contract.

    Although it seems we have spent something this time, in reality selling other players and savings from their huge earnings has made things even. There must be some cash to strengthen our defense.

    The team looks better with new additions and it will probably take some more time for everybody to develop a better understanding. Finally, we seem to have a strong attacking force. With Özil staying, Wilshere being almost like another signing, Carzola set to return and hopefully Ramsey being consistent things are beginning to look positive.

    And despite any outcome of this season, Wenger deserves one last season. This is also because although we may dislike him for his performance in the recent years, but in 30 more years from now when we will be talking about Arsenal and its history, there will be a mention of Arsene Wenger and probably we don’t want to hear that the longest-serving manager in Premier League history was sacked. For all good time sake and memories, he should be given next year with this new team and that should be the final goodbye.

  7. Innit says:

    1. New Manager ie. Allegri, Simione, Ancelloti
    2. Defensive/holding midfielder like Kante, Matic, Wanyama, Fernandino. Xhaka and Eleny aren’t good enough.
    3. Quality box2box like Cazorla, Pogba, Gundogan, Sissoko. Wilshere and Ramsey are injury prone
    4. Top centre backs. Koscielny is losing quality as he gets older. Need upgrade to Mustafi. Holding/Chambers not good enough yet. Need more experience

    I don’t see Wenger getting it done. He is clueless defensively. Him trying to get Evans shows it. He also hasn’t replaced Viera yet

    That’s it.
    We are fine with
    *forwards (Aubameyang, Lacazette, Welbeck)
    *attacking midfielders (Ozil and Mkhitaryan)
    *full backs (Kolsanic, Monreal, Bellerin, Debuchy)
    GK-Ospina and Cech

    1. stubill says:

      Debuchy has gone to Saint Etienne.

    2. chris says:

      Correct and it will never come right till Wenger leaves.

    3. JJPawn says:

      Debunk Debuchy

  8. Phil says:

    A new manager to work with Sven M and Raul.Nothing too much will change until this happens.

  9. ks-gunner says:

    How about a bit of disciplin as i cant stand it when i see 6 players trying to get inside the box only to get hit by counters in return

    Jesus christ, just watch the gd we currently have, its pathetic

    1. Phil says:

      KS-Its called coaching.Something that’s obviously been lacking over the last decade.

  10. wilshegz says:

    1. and most importantly, a new manager that isn’t just up there tactically but knows how to make his players give their all and is highly disciplined..

    2. a top Class CB like Luiz,Bonucci

    3. a quality Destroyer in midfield to protect the back4.

    4. a very good one-on-one dribbler when we face teams that park d bus and sideways passing dnt do it.

    5. a new top class Goalkeeper

    6. back-ups/ competition to RB, GK, CB, AM,etc

  11. Ox says:

    Come on who runs this site ? Ain’t the Swansea manager Carlos carvalho

  12. Innit says:

    We had a fantastic January with Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang signings and Ozil signing new contract, but this was a very rare occurance where Wenger felt pressure due to our circumstances.

    Do not expect him to get a top defensive midfielder or top centre back in the summer. You will be sorely disappointed.
    Wenger has said time and again that we are an attacking team. His defensive philosophy and tactics are poor. He inherited our amazing defense of the late 90s and early 2000s. Viera came the same year he came.
    In 13 years he has not got a player of Viera’s quality. Xhaka is not a defensive midfielder. Im not sure what he is lol. Eleny was purchased for very little money. We got Coquelin from Academy. He has been fine with box2box until recently ie Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere but defensively forget about it.

    I hope im wrong. I desperately would like us to shore up our defense and get a DM but if he has gotten a top DM in 13 years why would a reasonable person think he would get one this summer. He will get a CB. Probably not the quality we are hoping for though. Wenger has been in this place before. Only needing 2-3 top quality players to make us challengers but never completes the job.

    Im just hoping Wenger gives our new manager (when he eventually comes) something useable to work with to build a great team.

    1. JJPawn says:

      Is there another Viera around?

  13. Ken 1945 says:

    So by your reckoning Pep G. must be clueless as he was also trying to sign Evans (a current international player) from WBA.
    What a useless manager Pep must be!
    Just a reminder that the defence that went 49 games undefeated was produced by one man…Arsene Wenger.
    You say he hasn’t replaced Vieria yet, but he was so close to doing that with Diaby until that horrific challenge at Sunderland. By the way, you just don’t go around collecting players like Vieria, Henry, Gilberto etc off a tree, you have to find them and then mature them into great players.
    Just like the club and Arsene did.
    Don’t take my word for it, ask the players! These are facts and if you listened or read our players autobiographies, you could confirm it yourself.
    Whether you like it or not, Wenger is regarded as one of the best managers ever by his profession and his players.
    Just take a minute and digest that fact.
    Now I’m not saying Wenger hasn’t made some awful decisions because he has (as he admits himself), but he is not what is lacking and preventing us from being a top side again.
    It’s consistency from the players themselves.
    At Swansea, Cech’s mistake from Mustafis awful backpass was not Wengers fault, it was the players. Unless you believe theat they worked on that move in training?
    As you rightly say, we have an attacking line up that should scare any team now.
    Our biggest problem this season has been the uncertainty over Sanchez and Ozil in my opinion.
    We tried everything to keep Sanchez at Arsenal, but he made the decision to leave.
    Ozil has decided to stay.
    Now let’s see who got the better deal manure or us over the swap and how Ozil staying affects the rest of the players.
    To early yet to start bringing in a fantasy team as you seem to be suggesting.
    We have in Ospina, a keeper who has shown his loyalty to the club and I believe he should be given his chance to be our No.1.
    Every player can suffer injuries, just look at Cazorla, but you just don’t dismiss them as old castoffs. If that was the case, Judas RVP would not have had the one brilliant season at Arsenal before he had one other at Manure.
    Wilshere and Ramsey have been fantastic in their respective games so far this season.
    Yes, we do need to look at our defence and we failed in bids during this transfer window just gone to rectify that, despite rumours of different bids for defensive players. The club is trying to bring in quality, just look again at who we have signed in January.
    We need to get behind the players now and see where we end up at the seasons finale.
    Perhaps we could even take a leaf out of a club like Crystal Palace and actually support our club through thick and thin, not just when we are winning trophies. Chelsea got thrashed tonight, but their supporters were encouraging their players even after the final whistle went.
    Maybe, just maybe, if we got behind our club like that the players might just benefit.
    I am still getting over the shock of being told that we only beat Chelsea in last seasons cup final because they were out the night before partying and celebrating winning the league!!! That was by someone on this forum who supports our club!!!
    Let the recriminations and accusations begin about me being a wenger man, but one thing I can say is this I have always wanted Arsenal to succeed, no matter who is in charge.
    My season ticket is my prized possesion and I would never give it up no matter what.

    1. clark says:

      exactly my point, we arsenal fans are so retarded that we think having lacazette on the bench is bad, but if it’s manchester city everyone will say it’s quality in squad depth, we always criticise mourinho for playing defensive football but want simeone to come and be our coach, someone who cannot attack against a team as weak as leganes or alaves. His football is so far back that i have a migraine watching it. Just because he won the league and got to the champions league final twice. If defensive football is so good why did he not win the final?. He’ll not win playing that 2nd century football. Whatever you say Wenger is only second to Guardiola in this era and fergouson in the earlier era. Guardiola instills fear in you with his players. with our atack now teams will be scared. also our defence needs to sort themselves out, we can’t say we did not buy defensive players in cech and mustafi, atotal of 45 million pounds. it is the errors that sol campbell and toure and keown will never make that they are making,also walcott giroud and the players shipped out were players that never grasped the way arsene wenger saw the game. He brought out more than they should have ever been despite their inconsistencies. Chamberlain had a good game against man city but since then nothing else has happened. That is why arsene has been having a hard time. I wish he would go back to buying the way he used to. Buying players that could do the job and players that he trusts not players the fans want. Players like koscielny,monreal etc. with the attack we have we can destroy any team. The man is not stupid to know that we have problems in defense that he has to sort out. He will. Remeber arsenale’s problem before the last season an this one< our problem was actually scoring more goals,because we used to have 19 cleansheets, if I remember properly the eason we finished second we actually had the best defense. with 19 or 20 clean sheets. Cech won tthe golden gloves. In my opinion the reason we did not win the league was because Giroud stopped scoring and went on a 12-15 game barren run and walcott had stopped scoring. If you like get 38 cleansheets and no win you'll still finish above the relegation zone by a whisker. If and when wenger does sort them out defensive to a more consistent andreliable backline and spine, mark my words we will be the only team that will truly match man city and guardiola becuse the football we will play with a more reliable backline is going to be breathtaking. So for now we cannot kill ourselves because of the fact that we have nots igned some defensive reinforcements, let's just get behind our team and the manager, he 's still got it. we are 6 points off third placed liverpool. so let's do all we can to win. Some say liverpool have a better squad and and manager than us but they have not even won a trophy since their final in the europa league, and he's going on his second full season but we are still waiting for him to settle. How lame we arsenal fans are, just because wenger does not complain like conte does not mean arsenal's board cannot be annoying at times

    2. JJPawn says:

      Good stuff! K1954.

      I am fine with much of what you say. (And, much of what you miss: money in the game that is making it hard for teams just below the richest to compete.)

      I will dispute this theory about Jack Wilshere having a good few games. Yes, he has played, but which games has he won for us? Or, made a real difference? Jack will not make it into any of the top ten teams. He is small and slow and full of himself, which is a bad recipe. What I think Wenger is doing going for a lower salary and then selling Jack.

  14. Mikekobi says:

    For DM We shud go for doucoure of Watford, the guy is fantastic against Chelsea and he’s improving on every game, that’s the kind of player we need to replace xhaka.

  15. Nick2741 says:

    You lot haven’t got a clue about football. There is nothing wrong with wenger he is the best coach we will ever have .. now that Sanchez is gone and all that toxic bad atmosphere is not there you will see an improvements … The only thing wrong with Wenger is that he had to much control,he just needs to concentrate on the coaching and leave the rest to others ..At the end of the season I will say I told you so ..Don’t listen to these x football legends and jelous meadiers..WE ARE THE ARSENAL WE WILL COME GOOD BELIEVE YOU ME ONCE THE CONFIDENCE COMES BACK WE WILL BE FLYING

    1. Ken 1945 says:

      Agree with both of the positive comments completely..
      What makes me so annoyed is that Wenger is being blamed for not signing any defenders, but the new sensational strikers we have signed are being credited to our incredible new scouting team.
      If that’s true, then why on earth didn’t THEY sign the defenders that everyone says we need.
      Just more Wenger bashing and twisting facts to knock Wenger.
      As for Ian Wrights comments about Lacazette, well he has his opinions but let’s face facts. he is getting as bad as Merson, Robson, Adrian Durham and Piers (is that a real photograph?) Morgan.
      All legends in their own minds!!!

      1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

        Ken 1945, how can anyone call an ex champion player with the record Ian Wright has with Arsenal, “a legend in their own minds”?

  16. Nothing changed says:

    We lack character and the manager to be an excellent side. Winners and winning sides and excellent sides give their best every game. Obviously, we don’t. It is up to the manager to prepare his team both mentally and physically. For years Wenger has failed to this not to mention his failure to fix persistent defensive problems all stemming from lack of discipline and coaching.

  17. Sean says:

    If Wenger goes and buys a top CB, CDM & Winger in the summer then we have a chance & he should see out his last year, League or Leave!! As he does this then a few more should be gone in Welbz (Sold, last year of Contract), Per (retiring), Chambers (Sold) & Cech (Sold, last year of Contract). Ramsey & Jack to a new deal or Sell as also in last year, just means investing in a new engine aswell for box to box!! Id keep Elneny, handy utility player alomg with Holfing as backup. Mavroponas should be ready to help out also next season.

    Promote a few kids in Nkeitah & Niles etc…

  18. Coldzero says:

    A defence.

  19. Emmanuel says:

    What Arsenal really need is just a combative midfielder like NDIDI of Leicester. A player that can recover the ball quickly. I think Arsenal should fight to sign that player next summer.

  20. Grandad says:

    Agree wholeheartedly Emmanuel. Nditi is an excellent ball winning midfielder who has power,pace and skill. He would be a great acquisition for Arsenal

  21. Vlad says:

    Some reinforcement in midfield, and defense would go a long way. I don’t want us to become another Liverpool. Fun to watch up front, but very frustrating in the back. We do need another goalkeeper as well. Unfortunately, we got Cech when he was already on the decline, and he clearly doesn’t cut it anymore.

  22. Peter says:

    All of all is toughness /hardness.

  23. gooner4life says:

    I wonder why my reply to ks has not appeared anyone willing to tell me ? Iam most interested to find out.

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