Which players can make Arsenal’s ‘spine’?

A Discussion on Football Spines and Thugs by Chunner

Ever since Henry said that Arsenal need a new ‘spine’, it has been an over-used phrase in the football world, especially in matters to do with Arsenal.

Got me thinking. What exactly is a spine for a football team? Is it what Henry had said: Goalkeeper, CB, CM/CDM and forward? Maybe. Or is it just one player in each position that can lead. Or is it one player in each position who can win a game for you, through attack or defence or both.

Let’s look at some teams and their so called spines.
Real Madrid – (Casillas, Ramos, Modric, Ronaldo). Weak Links: Casillas and Modric (as a leader)
Barcelona – (Bravo, Pique (used to be Puyol), Busquets, Messi). Weak Links: Pique
Bayern Munich – (Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Robben)
Chelsea – (Courtois, Terry, Matic/Fabregas, Costa)
Manchester City – (Hart, Kompany, Toure, Aguero) Weak Links: Kompany, Toure (both only this season)
Juventus – (Buffon, Chiellini, Pogba/Vidal, Tevez)

Atletico Madrid (Oblak, Godin, Koke/Raul Garcia, Mandzukic). Atletico are a team of fighters. Players like Juanfran, Gabi, Tiago and even Griezmann epitomize their team spirit and desire to win. All leaders in their own right. Which is why Maureen and Chelsea will raid Atletico every year. Easy work, players trained in the art of fighting in a league with far superior teams than themselves.

Arsenal: (Ospina, Koscielny, Ramsey, Giroud): Weak Links: Ospina, Ramsey, Giroud

Now, Ospina and Ramsey have been fantastic recently but I don’t think they are the leaders in their positions yet. Giroud can never be only because of the sheer number of chances he misses.

In Arsenal’s case, the players I see that have the potential to be Arsenal’s ‘spine’ are, Koscielny, Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin and Alexis. But at present, only Koscielny makes the cut.

From all the players we have been linked to this season, the only one who can command respect and be the ‘spine’ is Petr Cech.

Arsenal do not have the quality of Barcelona or Real Madrid which can function without too many leaders and with a soft under belly. I have always said that from all the players who left, we have missed Patrick Vieira the most.
Wenger, go find an aggressive beast for midfield (Kondogbia?), who can cope with the aggression of the PL. We also need a thug at centre-forward. It is the only way Arsenal can hope to beat teams with forward lines like Neymar-Messi-Suarez (wow!).

The best thugs present in modern football at Forward: Mandzukic, Costa, Ibrahimovic, Suarez, Alexis

Maybe Thugs: Benteke, Lacazette


Tags Giroud Koscielny ospina Ramsey


  1. I would go for Benteke,Sterling or Lacazette,kondogbia and Cech.
    Anyway I tell you that Arsenal with Wenger in charge will never win major trophies,he is past it.
    Next year prepare to see Wilshere in the midldle with Ozil or Ramsey on the wings.
    Some of you think that good enough,good enough for what?third or fourth place.
    Wenger will not change his ways and his ways are not winning ways.
    We win the Fa cup facing one or two top ten team in UK.Wonderful
    In two years time welcome to Guardiola and some trophies.

    1. We need our home grown lads to flourish, then I can sell them to add to our war chest, I mean spine.

    2. Wilshere is championship material not for a team who want to win Epl and stop this obsession to impose an overhyped English player that can’t score (less than 10 goals for his entire Arsenal carrier)less assist for attacking midfielder and we never won a game when he start sell him and case close.He can,t possible be a spine for a team don’t forget he is a smoker sorry not for me.sell

      1. If you look at stats only then you are a clueless child, stats only show half the story.
        Fellaini hasn’t been topping the stats at UTD but yet he really makes them play the LVG way, you gonna tell me Fellaini is pathetic because he doesn’t have the stats of Cesc or Hazard? PFFT!

        Wilshere has had problems with injuries, prior though he was doing well, he may not of been a topper for stats but he was actually doing quite well with them, Wilsheres last full season fit he actually out performed Schniderlin overall for stats… but hey, a big buy would be better than trusting in what we have developed over the years… At least thats how it feels with your coment, I am glad real Arsenal fans will highlight how he was progressing and will admit he has slumped but that is not the end! We know Wilshere has the capability if he steps up his game and the couple appearances he has made since returning from injury have been pasative, maybe Wilshere has caught the Alexis effect?

        A Wilshere in form would be a beast, just like a inform Ramsey would be unstoppable (and was last season for a while!).

        They play for the TEAM.

        Oh and for a 3rd choice B2B player, I dont tknow any player who is better and would be willing to be a bench player!

  2. Yesterday West brom beat under-strength Chelsea side and beat them by 3-0 and what it shows that it is the capacity of arsenal players not to perform when it really matters and this so-called “spine” is at best valid to experienced pros and namely fabregas or Kroos, I don’t feel arsene Wenger will buy another CDM or a really good one like Cech cause mourinho won’t let him leave and arsene never tries to push for what the team needs.

    1. You conveniently leave out the fact that Chelsea played with 10 for more than one hour. Besides, Chelsea are champions, they were playing only against WBA. If they were to play against Arsenal or City or Utd they would do a PSG on them, two lines defence, one fast striker and wait.

    2. Under strength? I thought I saw Courtis, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Harzard, I heard Fabregas was there before being red carded. That makes 7 first team regulars, then you have Remy and Filippe, who cannot be called by any imagination second string players. The only reprieve for Chelsea is that they had nothing to play for, otherwise one could argue that apart from their first 11, Chelsea is as mediocre as any team can.

      This season they never had the misfortune of missing more than two first team players at a time. I always wonder how they would have coped if Terry/Cahill and Ivanovic were to be injured at the same time alongside Costa and Fabregas/Harzard. Zouma (zero premier league experience at the start of the season) would have joined CB, while Azupluacueta would have been moved to the right to accommodate Filipe Luis and leave who on the bench as a defender? Ake would have been their only recognized centre back. In the middle they would have made do with Oscar in the absence of Fabregas or Harzard but whether he would have given them the same balance is something else that is difficult to tell. Up front they would have relied on Remy and Drogba, whether to the same effect I do not know.

      My point here is that in as much as Chelsea are being hailed as having had a super season and their team rated as being miles ahead of other teams, their success was also down to having the same first 11 for very long periods in the season. That could change next year in the negative direction for statisticians claim that no peak will continue forever. When that happens I expect the press and fans to give them the same stick that was given to Arsenal when they missed Koscielny, Giroud, Ozil, and Debuchy at the same time.

    3. ” I don’t feel arsene Wenger will buy another CDM or a really good one like Cech cause mourinho won’t let him leave”

      As for CDM, we have been linked with multiple, it does appear that Wenger is looking for another one, to say he isn’t is kinda foolsih. If we can get the player Wenger wants is a different story.

      Or a really good one like Cech?
      I am confused here, you talk abour holding CM and say Cech…
      Anyway, regarding Cech, Jose has no choice! Cech signed his last contract in May 2012, he has served 3 years of that contract and any player over 28 who has played at least 3 years of their contract has the right to buy themselves out… considering it is only 1 more year worth of wages which equals about £5.2mil… A price Arsneal would happily pay… How has Jose got a choice? We can just offer Cech £7.5 mil signing on bonus if he had to buy himself out for £5.2mil…

    1. I will replace Lacazette with Benteke, who is proven in the EPL. We dont need a goalkeeper at all. Ospina is good, we just need some tactical awareness when defending!

    1. Our Invincible spine – Lehmann – Campbell – Gilberto – Vieira – Pires – Henry
      Hopefully after the summer transfer – Cech – Koscielny – Scheiderlein/new DM – Ramsey – Alexis – Ozil – new ST
      I believe we need new ST, GK and DM in order of importance. No disrespect to Giroud, Ospina and Coquelin. They did a marvellous job in term of the price we paid for them. But they are not at the level required for us to win EPL and serious challenge in Europe – still very important squad players

      Ramsey, Alexis and Ozil have the right quality but need to step us and be more consistent while Koscielny need to get rid of the injury problem plaguing him early this season – then we are ready to challenge on all front

  3. Wenger will buy either Pedro or sterling and shift Sanchez upfront. Giroud benched.

    1. But why would he buy Pedro or stirling to adopt that style of team layout when he could do that now with Theo???Do we really want stirling anyway I sense that boy will be nowt but trouble looking to move on again in a few seasons time, Nahhh rather pedro than stirling if it was a must buy position.

      1. As of we hav 4 wingers , Sanchez Walcott ox and welbz. When Sanchez becomes striker we will need a winger. If Sanchez becomes striker ox comes to left wing wid Walcott on rite. Dat only leaves welbz to cover for both d positions, and I don’t trust him. No matter wat ppl say, sterling is a quality player, and so is pedro

  4. Wenger need really only two players in my opinion, and they would be either Kondogbia or Schneirdelin, in the CDM role NOT be cause Le Coq is in any way inferior but only to back him up or cover if injured, rotation is a good thing as it gives us options against different clubs.
    AND a beast of a striker, now for this one I have to temper who I want with a large amount of realism
    Who Id want is either Suarez, Benzema, Higuain or Cavanni.
    who I think we could afford Higuain or Benteke possibly Benzema if available.
    Who I think we’ll bid for Higuain or somebloke Wedontknow (an unknown African striker who is on a free transfer)
    Trouble is that Wenger has already stated that HE thinks that OG is the man to do the job and probably only to counter his annoyance at Thierry Henry’s statements that he feels OG aint the man, basically this adds up to no new striker this season.
    We’ll have one big buy of around 30 to 35 Million and that will be that. who it will be god and Wenger only know.
    We all know ho we should be in for but we all also know that Wenger wont get involved until the last week of the transfer deadline by which time all the available players that we feel he should go for will be gone.

    1. Agree with you Carvalho also would do good in DM (strong, physical, eye for pass and defensive minded). A GK wouldn’t be a bad thing either if it’s Cech, Lloris or Leno over Szczesny in my opinion. The rest doesn’t need a change but all will depend on who is sold or loaned after that.

  5. Henri is wrong.
    There is nothing wrong
    with Arsenals spine.
    Ospina Koz Mertz Coqu Ramsey Ozil Giroud are just fine.
    Bellerin RB Monreal LB are fine.
    Sanchez LW is great.
    The way I see it we have only one weakness Rht wing
    and we have Walcott Chamberlain Gnabry.
    Its just their injuries which are holding us up.

    1. So if there’s nothing wrong? and Im not saying there’s a load wrong but if nothings wrong, why can OG not hit a barn door with a banjo especially recently and why did we not win the PL this season? of course there’s something wrong there is with every team its just down to if their squad can cover what’s wrong Cheski’s could this season.
      We need a new beast of a striker and that’s a fact Henry was right in that respect if only to cover injuries or off days AND to give Giroud some competition for the role up front.

      1. He already said it : injuries. I believe every player in the squad had one or more injuries this season.

        1. This is my point, you cannot legislate for injuries, all you can do is assemble a squad who can replace anyone who is key who is injured Hence the need for another striker who can fill the gap should Giroud get injured and as I have already stated Giroud doesn’t have the Nous to win us the and should have to compete for his place in the squad perhaps he’ll up his game even further.

  6. It’s quite funny seeing Sterling and his agent trying to engineer a move away from Liverpool, it just makes me think thank f*ck that doesn’t happen to us anymore..

  7. GK- Need top quality keeper as NO 1. Read news that Southampton want Szczęsny on loan. may b that vl do the best for him n us as well. He can be top quality gk after his loan spell just lke Courtois.
    For this season n may b nxt season v need a top Gk. May b Čech..?? He should b in top of the list. No explanations.

    CB- Done n dusted.

    CDM- Coquelin is damn gud in tackling. Much better than Matic in that sense. But cant match him in other direction. Arteta s really gud, does deserve an extension but have to look forward. Schneiderlin/ kondogbia/ L.Bender/ Krychowiak are realistic top options. No surprise if v buy Vidal. I remember wenger praising him during world cup. If juve decide to keep pogba v vl b lucky.

    CAM/ CM/ LW/ RW – v have plenty options n looking to sell.

    ST- Desperately need a top top striker. wellbeck should b moved to second choice lw beyond Sánchez n third choice ST.
    L. Suárez is the best option. But not realistic. Benzema may b available s gud to have him in any team. same with Higuaín. But my choice s muller. He can do messi effect to Arsenal.. hopefully.

    1. Once Szczęsny goes on loan to Southampton that is when all will realise where our problem is. Defence! and orgaisation.

  8. i dont think mert monreal or coq can provide the spine despite the last two improving this year…mert has to be backup now and hopefully gabriel will deliver there

    so a first choice defence of bellerin gab kos and darmien with kondogbia in DM position would give forward players real confidence…debouchey, chambers mert monreal as backup…and then a quality attacking option reus sterling pedro lacazette whatever…all better than walcott……thats 3 in and half a dozen out…shouldnt be a big deal..he could get this done by end of june and then start melding a real challenge

  9. In my humble opinion, we should let Ospina and Gabriel prove their worth to the team next year in the starting eleven.

    I’d be very happy with 3 players.

    CDM: Ideally I’d go for Arturo Vidal. Yes I know this year he is playing as a CAM and not at his best but I believe his best position is definitively as a CDM. Wenger is a true admirer of this guy. Tbh he is an absolute beast. If Juventus manages to keep Pogba this summer, I think we can try to convince them to sell us Vidal. Because otherwise they will 100% loose both Pogba and Vidal after the Euros in 2016.

    LW (Alexis as a RW): Gareth Bale ! He is currently underestimated at Real Madrid. He is a proven world class player. Sterling wants to leave Liverpool and Perez + Zidane like him. What about remaking a Alexis/Suarez Ozil/Bale deal. Be honest guyz we would be more than happy to see this deal happen just to make the spuds fans very unhappy. Haha

    Number 9: Honestly , I can’t see atm any center forward in the market AVAILABLE who deserve to spend 30M or more on him. ( So i rule out Cavani,Lacazette,Martinez….)
    BUT I think we need someone upfront…so what about buying a QUALITY player who can play at this position and let Wenger works his magic and make him a true goalscorer and center forward.
    I think Thomas Muller can be our man. If he isn’t available: Roberto Firmino. This guy will be an absolute beast in the incoming years !

    With this 3 players we can FINALLY be competitive again in my opinion.

    Enjoy the reading….:D (or not)

    1. How can vitals best position be a DM when he’s never played there? He’s one of the best b2b midfielders for a reason what gives you the idea his best position is DM

  10. I think we need a max of 3 players, a GK along with a holding CM and a right sided attacker.

    GK: Cech.
    hCM: Gundogen/Kendogbia/Carvaliho (one of those 3, in my preferred order).
    rAM: Quite a few good choices out their and to be honest I think Gnabry and The Ox will dominate that role when they are both fully fit so this spot is a luxery IMO. Could go for someone like Gotze, great talent but just not performed as well as he could of for Bayern, he can play anywhere along the front 3 AM roles which would appeal to Wenger.

  11. Walcott and Welbeck are NOT worth the wages they are paid, Welbeck is NEVER going to be a top striker and Neither is Wallcott he’s 26 and not yet the finished article and hence NEVER WILL BE!!! get rid and replace with players who will score and who will be the finished article

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