Why Arsenal do not DESPERATELY need…..(Part 2) A Defensive Midfielder

Why We Don’t Desperately Need A Defensive Midfielder by TJ

First of all let’s look at the role – a key defensive asset for the team, a player who offers support to the defensive line, closes the space between defence and midfield, breaks up play of the opposition, and looks to start attacks as they recycle possession.
Key aspects of the role – intelligence, decision making, positioning and discipline.
It’s not enough to be just a “spoiler”, you just hand the ball back to the opposition and start all over again. Probably why Fernando at Man City didn’t really work. Milan dumped Pirlo because they wanted a “combative” midfield player – a classic spoiler and destroyer but look at the role Pirlo does for Juventus who are in the UCL Final. The destroyer is a very outdated role. The player has to be able to break up the play and be able to PLAY.

Outside of Arsenal, Schneiderlin and Matic are very good examples of this role in the EPL.

Within Arsenal, we have Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Arteta, Flamini (and perhaps Rosicky). Of these, Coquelin tends more towards the “destroyer” type but his recycling of the ball is improving (Flamini is a destroyer but I don’t think he will feature in 2015/2016). Compared to Coquelin – Cazorla, Arteta and Ramsey are less of the ‘destroyers’ and better at recycling the ball. Quite simply any combination of the four would be very effective as double pivots in front of the back four. Rosicky has all the attributes for the current Cazorla role.

The likes of Vidal, Pogba, Gundogan, Khedira all fit this bill. No question adding one of these (including Schneiderlin) would improve our stocks but do we desperately need one? I think not. Let’s also remember that any player coming into the side will require a good amount of time to sync in with the way we play, missed passes from the holding midfielder invites disaster.

The preferred double pivot combinations would be: Coquelin/Cazorla, Ramsey/Cazorla, Coquelin/Ramsey, Coquelin/Arteta, Ramsey/Arteta.

Wenger talks about team cohesion and harmony – it’s very important to embrace this and to understand the impact of introducing a new player. If these players and the likes of Beilik and Chambers are being developed into holding midfielders how will the introduction of a new player disrupt their development and evolution? Have no doubt, this is a role for players with a lot of experience and very little ego (hence probably why Wilshere is not suited for it at the moment).

Here’s something to consider…this is Coquelin’s first HALF-YEAR in the role for Arsenal…what’s the ceiling for him? What will he be like next season? That to me, is the exciting bit for him and all these players. When you see this…

# Koscielny from no-where wanted by Real Madrid?
# Ramsey whom the fans wanted to discard wanted by Barca?
# Wilshere wanted by Man City?

…by the end of next season, Coquelin will be pushing to be a regular for France (watch for him in Euro 2016) and one of the most wanted players in the world, because he worked for it and was given the chance. All the other fringe first team players are looking at him and Bellerin and saying…We can do this too!”…it becomes infectious!

About Jack Wilshere
What I have seen suggests to me this young man is adamant that he is a No 10 and he is willing to fight Ozil for that spot. He is willing to play on the right and left to prove himself but he DOESN’T want to play deep. You can cut it either way – ego or self-belief, and I think Wenger has played it well.

So let me end this one by saying simply this – a Schneiderlin, Pogba, Vidal, Khedira or Gundogan would improve our squad… but do we need one of them desperately? No. Let me answer some obvious questions too: Can we compete for the EPL title without one of these signings? Yes. Would our chances be better with one of them? Yes it would!


Why Arsenal do not desperately need…(part 1) – A Centre-Forward

Tags Arteta Coquelin Ramsey


  1. If we dont need one of them desperately and we can compete without one of them than why would we need one of them but than again our chances are better with one of them….I m fcukin confused!

    1. The author quotes Pirlo at Juve saying the destroyer is outdated….only to completely ignore that two of the best combative midfielders play alongside him in midfield to enable his play.

      *sigh* some arguments truly lack any significant thought…

      A one-dimensional tackler is dated, like a de jong who functions at a mediocre Italian team and no more. In 2015 to be a top DM you need to have the goods in possession and when the team has the ball. This ‘big lump that can tackle’ is the only element that’s dated.

    1. I like Ki and have done
      so all season. Be worth
      14 mill in shirt sales
      every year in South Korea too.
      Top source? Metro Sun BBC
      Arsenal.com the milkman 🙂

  2. Forget the DM I would be happy with one signing, a world class striker that could score 30+ goals in a season.

    To win games you have to score more goals than your opposition.

    1. PS Giroud’s goals in all competitions.

      2012-2013 17
      2013-2014 22
      2014-2015 19

      This is not good enough if we want to move forward as a team.

      1. To the person who gave me thumbs down facts don’t lie. Just look at our goal difference between us and Chelsea this season. If we could have match that we might have won the EPL last season.

          1. Goal difference last season.
            Chelsea last season 41
            Arsenal last season 35
            And that was with Chelsea taking their foot of the gas when they had won the EPL.

              1. For the record I haven’t hit the ‘thumbs down’. But Giroud’s goal tally alone doesn’t quite represent his full contribution to the team. Yes we need someone better, but Giroud is decent. Just think of how many goals he’s involved in the buildup of – he may not score them but he helps make them, not to mention he’s great defensively at set pieces as well. To me there’s a place for Giroud at Arsenal long term, but not as first choice.

                I’d like a striker in Luis Suarez mould. Reasonably quick, always on the move and ready to capitalise on mistakes, strong and difficult to get off of the ball, able to dribble past players, clinical a threat in the air too. Someone that keeps defenders on their toes for 90mins + stoppage time.

                Now of course there’s only one Suarez and I’m pretty sure every club out there would want him, but I’m pretty sure there will be someone like him out there, a hidden gem to find so to speak. Why? There are quite a few similar players, none with exactly the same attributes, but similar nonetheless. How many of those traits fit Alexis Sanchez for example? Or Sergio Aguero? Quite a lot of them.

            1. haha back up your rubbish point with another rubbish point. Yeah blame Giroud who was injured for 4 months of the season nothing to do with the defence just Giroud.

              Giroud 10mil 58 goals in three seasons been a bargain really.

              A few small facts Van Persie took almost 5 seasons to score that many goals Anelka 45 goals in three seasons. Only Wright & Henry have better scoring records for arsenal since the start of the premier league. Yes he’s not as good as some other players there are more exciting players but despite all the critisis has improved every season gives his all week in week out. He’s been the only option at times which isn’t good enough all strikers have periods where there out of form apart from Messi and Ronaldo. He could have easily hit 25 goals this season had he been fit all season.

              1. So what happened to him in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.

                Alexis scored 25 goals this season in all competitions and wasn’t up front as much as Giroud.

                If we want to win the EPL and UCL next season we need a world class striker.

                1. I’m not saying we don’t need another striker. Not at all I’d like us to sign another this summer. Just bored of the Giroud bashing he’s a good striker and he’ll still be important next season whoever comes in. 58 goals in three seasons considering he was out for almost half this season is good. He’s a fighter improved every season has so much criticism just gets on with it competition seems to have improved him as well.

                2. PS how about this for a rubbish point the last time we won the league we had Bergkamp and Henry up front. We have never replaced them but if we buy a world class striker this summer we might do.

                3. I have backed Giroud for the last three seasons, if we want to move forward we need a player with a bit a Va Va Voom.

            2. I gave you thumbs down.
              Fact: Goal difference takes defence into consideration.

              If you want to talk about Giroud then you do need to look at the GOALS SCORED for the TEAM, Chelsea scored 73 as a team while Arsenal scored 71 as a team.

              Shame we had Giroud injured for so long as well as Theo and Ozil… could of been more goals scored as a team.

              Before you moan about the def now, it is a different situation, Gabriel coming in and Bellerin stepping up means we have adequate cover and it shouldn’t cost us as many points by conceeding less.

            1. Giroud isn’t good enough because our defense was light at the start of the season and we conceeded more than Chelsea.

              WTF has our def got to do with Giroud and/or our TEAM scoring?

              Learn to use the right stats FFS!

      2. I disagree Andrew.
        Girouds return is
        excellent for his price.
        Arsenal scored just two goals less than Chelsea
        with Giroud Walcott and Ox out for many months.
        Only Kane scored 30 goals and Spurs finished 6th.
        After Coquelin and Ospina came in at the back
        and Giroud came back from injury up front
        Arsenal were the best team in the land.
        Hazard scored 19 goals for Chelsea while Sanchez scored 20 for us
        Its the sum of the whole team performance which is important.
        Next season Giroud Wellbeck Walcott Sanchez Chamberlain
        Ramsey Cazorla Ozil Akpom Sanogo should be more than enough.
        But if we sign another striker its fine by me 🙂

        1. looking at players as return for investment is wrong. In that spirit a striker that came in for free and scored 5 goals all season would be the best bargain.

          Today its very very hard to find players that are going to be world class at bargain prices.

          You get what you pay for. Yes the amount of goals he scored for the amount of money he cost is a good return. That means we should get a much more expensive player and expect a much better return than we got from Giroud.Without that top quality striker we are always going to be playing for 3rd or 4th.

          So bargains are great but hard to win the PL with them.

          1. Silly example about 5 goals from a free player. Giroud produced goals at a rate comparable to all the EPL strikers who everyone lauds as superstars. That is performance.

        2. Giroud produced goals at a better rate than Costa (goals+assists in all comps vs. #appearances) – and I don’t hear anybody complaining about Costa’s goal production.


          1. Costa first year in the EPL 26 games 20 goals.
            Giroud third year in the EPL27 games 14 goals.
            btw in his first year 34 games 11 goals.
            The 6 goal difference is almost 30% more goals for the same number of games.
            those 6 goals by a striker are the difference between 1st place and third place.

            Just like a few extra saves by a goalkeeper can also bring the title. Two places where you need that World Class player are a striker to scores when you need him to and a goalie that saves the impossible shot

            In the thin margins of the game there is no room for error, and no room for sentimentality. Get someone who can score 6 more goals a year than Giroud and sell him if need be.

  3. We can win the title without the big names, but we don’t need Wenger desperately


  4. I really tried to match the title with the content of this article but the body of the article does not really support the author’s contention that no new DM is needed.

    To me the article offered a decent argument FOR the need to acquire more of a Box to Box type deep midfielder vs. a straight defensive-minded player. But the need for an acquisition is still there even with that argument.

    Also, the article states that fans “wanted to discard” Ramsey. I don’t think that is accurate at all. Many fans were rightly upset with Wenger for starting Ramsey every game in 2012 when Ramsey was terrible and was frankly hurting the team. Not wanting an out-of-form player to start EVERY game is NOT the same as wanting him gone – big difference.

    1. The point of the article (which I clearly didn’t do a good on) was to examine through discussion the kind of holding midfielder who would be ideal for Arsenal. [The trigger for this was when AW extended Arteta’s contract. Why? What does he have in mind? ] To look at the attributes of the role, the kinds of players available and to look at whether we already have players who can fulfill that role next season.

      If we didn’t sign a new Holding Mid then AW must have a high degree of confidence that he has the role covered and if so, whom? Hence taking a look at the personnel at the club.

      When we look at fitting names in the positions available from the midfield to forward line… i guess it looks something like this:
      Coquelin/Ramsey/Arteta Cazorla/Arteta/TR7
      Ramsey/TW14/Jack/Ox Ozil/Jack/TR7 Sanchez/Welbeck/Ox

      So does Wenger believe he possibly has the right level of cover in the 2 deeper roles providing the defensive shield needed? Has he seen enough at training and the players development to give him the confidence that, for example ONLY, Coquelin will continue to improve significantly and further that Ramsey and Arteta can provide that cover in Coquelin’s absence? Is that why he’s suggested that any acquisition would have to be at the highest quality to alter his thinking?

      We haven’t seen Arteta play for quite awhile and no one knows what kind of player will emerge next season. We don’t know how the players have been training in different positions and whether Ramsey is developing his holding midfield play to be the cover for Coquelin.

      Coquelin didn’t suddenly wake up one morning transformed into a holding midfield. He has been working on it and I am sure all the players are working on different aspects of their game. So why would we completely discount the possibility that the answer for the Holding Mid role doesn’t already reside within the squad?

      This also touches on the Build/Develop vs Buy argument and the inherent risks/trade-offs between the 2 options….and YES with winning the EPL next season as the foremost goal. Quite simply: you know with a high level of surety what you’re going to get with the players you’ve been working with…you don’t have the same surety with someone you’re buying in – all the scouting and research can help reduce the risk of failure but never eliminate it.

      I stand corrected on the matter of fans wanting Ramsey out and perhaps the title should read “Why We MAY NOT Desperately Need a Defensive Midfielder”…

      1. Quite honestly, I like these articles you’ve written, but in the case of a defensive midfielder, I think you’re wrong. Arteta isn’t good enough for anything in my opinion, neither is Flamini. The back-up we have is inadequate for DM (Only Coquelin in our club is a true DM, which by stats we have been shown we desperately need, hence why the backup is needed if Coq ever gets injured.

        As for strikers, we have Giroud and Walcott, which in my opinion gives us a wide specter to play on, but Welbeck as the backup is to me not good enough on the top. I agree on you that we do not “desperately” need a new striker though, but I would not complain if we did get a new one. To me, if Walcott is to become a full time striker, we should rather invest in a right winger, in order to not be in a position where Ramsey has to play there.

        On that note, I would again propose these signings: Kondogbia for the true DM backup / competitor – and for right winger, someone like Juan Iturbe (Roma), Nabil Fekir (Lyon) or Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)

  5. If people want Giroud in the team play 4-4-2 with Alexis up front and Giroud just behind him. Then you might just have a winning formula. If you think Giroud can do it up front on his own you are delusional.

    1. Your right Giroud can’t
      do it himself. But he is
      not meant to. He has
      Sanchez Walcott Cazorla Ramsey on the field
      who also score goals. From the bench can
      come Wellbeck + Chamberlain..
      Ozil Wilshere even defenders picks up goals.

      1. Football is a team sport but we need someone up front that can put the ball in the back of the net more often end of subject.

    2. It won’t matter what Giroud does. Some fans just won’t accept him as the Arsenal #1. The opinions on this are set in stone.

      The fact is………… Giroud produced goals at a better rate than Costa this season. So next I will read the Costa is not good enough to win a title – except for the fact that HE DID.

  6. Costa + Remy + Drogba > Giroud + Welbeck + Akpom

    Ozil + Walcott + Alexis > Fabregas + Hazard + Cuadrado/Willian

    We just need to boost a centre forward power by adding one more top centre forward like Lacazette, Martinez, Higuain, Benzema, Benteke

    In terms of DM, If Coquelin gets injured we don’t have a real substitute. Diaby is always injured, Flamini and Arteta are past it, Bielik and Chambers are inexperienced. Wilshere is not great on the defensive side.

    I say get a top DM like Kondogbia or Schneiderlin OR someone very talented on both defense and attack like Vidal.

  7. Just found this article shortly after Sanchez’s move to AFC. Talk about wide of the mark…”top scorer, and great touch”

    Danny must be saving it for training.

    Meanwhile when asked about Welbeck and whether he would like to play as a number nine, he said: “I love playing with him (Welbeck). He has a very nice touch and he is a top scorer. He has been a great signing for Arsenal.”

  8. Good night all and have a good weekend.

    People might disagree with me and I might disagree with them but I have got AFC running through me like a stick of Blackpool rock.


  9. I think Wenger’s logic would be Ramsey/Wilshere can do what Coquelin can do which is false because both of them like to run forward and put our defence in trouble.

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