Arsène is Rubbish at Choosing Defenders

One of the commonest criticisms of  Arsène Wenger is that he can’t “pick” a defender.

We know he loves attackers and will sit up half the night fantasising about the striking skills of a Thierry Henry or a Robin van Ungrateful.

But when it comes to identifying the qualities required in a top flight defender, he is like a blind man shopping for sex aids in a greengrocer’s (it all ends up a bit messy).

Or at least that’s what the critics would have you think.

But is this fair?

To my mind, not at all.

In my lifetime, which spans 13 World Cups, 10 Prime Ministers and three top 10 hits by Jethro Tull, there has only been one season in which the Arsenal defence remained unbreached.

That season was, of course, 2003/4 – the season of The Invincibles.

And what was the first choice back four of The Invincibles? As if I need to remind you! It was, of course, Lauren, Toure, Campbell and Cole. All signed by Arsene Wenger or (in the case of Cashley) promoted to first team action by him.

People (including me) still talk in hushed terms of the great George Graham defence that went on to be the bedrock of Arsene’s early trophy years. Dixon, Bould, Keown, Adams and Winterburn were simply amazing. But they never managed to go a season unbeaten (although they went close in 1990/91). Truth to tell, they were not as good as The Invincibles back four, who matched them for grit and defensive solidity, but outdid them for creativity and attacking threat.

Cole was more dynamic than Winterburn; dead-eyed Lauren was every bit as impassable as Dixon; Kolo Toure could play on the ground better than any of George Graham’s central defenders; and Campbell was as big and brave a rock as Tony Adams.

But Arsene never really gets the credit for creating that impregnable back line and it’s still routine to read comments to the effect that all his trophy success was down to the legacy of Gorgeous George (the famous-back-four bit of the legacy that is, not the brown-paper-envelope bit).

Since then his defensive signings (or home growns) have included the likes of Clichy, Eboue, Gibbs, Gallas, Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal and Jenkinson.

Admittedly there have been mistakes, like signing Mikael Sylvestre from Manchester United and bringing back Sol Campbell.

But there were mitigating circumstances. Sylvestre was signed as an EPL experienced utility squad player who could cover centre back and left back – but a really unfortunate spell of injuries meant he ended up playing more often than anyone would ever have wanted – including Arsene Wenger.

Campbell, ditto, was meant to be a squad player but the same injury crisis thrust him into the front line (where, even as an aging player, he was far from shabby).

But most of Arsene’s defensive choices have been very good players.

I know some of you will be already reaching for your keyboard to tell me how rubbish Vermaelen is, or that Mertsesacker is too slow, or that Gibbs is too injury prone. But rhey are all good players who have been doing their best during a period of intense transition and upheaval for Arsenal.

For the past two seasons the defence has been playing without the support of a recognised defensive midfielder and with an ever-changing succession of callow or careless goalkeepers behind them.

That, along with Arsene’s preferred style of attacking play, has led many to conclude that our back line is poor and that this is because of the quality of the players. Who chooses the players? Arsene! Therefore, case proved: he’s can’t find good defenders.

But I happen to think there’s nothing wrong with the personnel. We just need a bit of stability and a run of results to restore confidence and make us seem hard to beat again. (*NOTE: since I wrote this Post, we have had two away wins and two clean sheets, so I fervently hope a corner has been turned).

I would prefer to see us have a more traditional defensive midfielder in the team (which is not to knock the excellent Mikel Arteta – it’s just that I feel he could do a better job further forward and a more defensive-minded midfielder would be a boon to our defence). But that’s just my opinion.

I also happen to think that some of Arsene’s defensive “flops” (including Squillaci, Cygan, Senderos and Djourou) are better players than the fans have realised. It’s not so long ago that we were raving about Djourou marking Drogba out of the game when we beat Chelsea at the Emirates.

So, to conclude, do you think Arsene is unfairly judged on his record of signing defenders?

Who do you think his bad choices have been?

And who are his good ones?


71 Responses to Arsène is Rubbish at Choosing Defenders

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “NOTE: since I wrote this Post, we have had two away wins and two clean sheets”
    You mean a Rocky post is not freshly baked?
    That’s it, I’m off to pen the match report for Arsenal v Utd 2017-18.
    Off to read properly

  2. ROCKY (et al) – keyed from a laptop in a Phnom Penh hotel (1st leg of my year-long holiday).

    Before reading today’s obviously superb offerin, ol’ mate, ol’ buddy

    “MONOLOGUE” – part 2
    Before you offer your long-awaited response to my initial post of some days ago…
    …a teeny bit more from me, some of which is necessary reiteration.

    Note: my comments don’t refer to all stats ‘per se’; only to the ‘standalone’ stat which is pretty well meaningless; pretty well pointless.

    Gooner In Exile says ; (March 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm)
    “btw on Big Als stats… stats shouldn’t be used to judge players but they are handy guides to look at to see if a player did as well as I thought during the game. Thought “Arteta hasn’t given the ball away” can then be backed up by stats, thought “Ramsey always passes backwards” can be refuted by the stats where it appears he passes forward as much as Arteta.”

    And that’s fine by me, GIE.
    Fancy working as my ghost writer? I was considering RED ARSE, but he’s never around when you need him…

    Was the BBC ‘standalone’ stat cr*p relating to this season or last?
    If this season, it’s not up-to-date as the 56% stat quoted doesn’t tally with my figures (see following text).

    I repeat from my original “monologue” :
    “In the Premiership (ignoring one game when Koscielny was subbed in just 3 minutes) Koscielny has started 10 games.
    Played 10 games. Won 4. Drew 4. Lost 2. Goals conceded 14. Clean sheets 3.”

    Played 10, Won 4 = 40%, not 56%.
    If the BBC is up-to-date then presumably they work their figures out in much the same way as Lady Thatch worked out hers : 4 million unemployed = 3 million unemployed.

    Final, final note:
    I think, and certainly hope, you didn’t take my original post tooooo personally Rocky (Gunner N5 also). It was never intended as a personal ‘dig’ to either of you. I could just as easily ‘shoot down’ others on this site who take far too much notice of the wretched ‘standalone’ stat, aka the ‘bare bone’ stat.
    The ‘standalone’ stat needs knocking on the head once-and-for-all. If only because, when all’s been said and read, the ‘standalone’ stat is the lazy persons’ stat. Would you not agree? 🙂

    Yours in waiting, Digger Al 🙂

  3. Dick Swiveller says:

    Couldn’t agree more, although there’s a part of me thinking that Vermaelen is unable to curb his aggression and may not be as useful as I once thought.

    It’s just another facet of confirmation bias (the only thing you need to understand football fans imo), people can’t understand what’s wrong with the team so they jump to the easiest conclusion, the players aren’t good enough, and then start seeing all the defenders as utter crap.

    Also, whilst Squillaci *technically* isn’t crap, his performances in England have shown an inability to adapt that for all intents and purposes turns him into Stepanovs.

  4. Manthan says:

    HI Rasp,
    Thanks Mate for uploading the Post, Sorry I was not availble on that day but thanks for all the response… I found out some error on my post after reading and will try to make better next time 😉

  5. Rocky
    “I also happen to think that some of Arsene’s defensive “flops” (including Squillaci, Cygan, Senderos and Djourou) are better players than the fans have realised.”

    They’re possibly even worse than the fans have realised.

    Otherwise, a faultless post. And stats-free too!

  6. Manthan says:

    RL Great Post Mate,
    Everybody does mistake while buying new player, some players may become sucess and some may be failure… But I dont blame arsene for wrong buys we had some good defenders For e.g. Clichy who went to MANC now… No one knew about kozz when arsene bought him now he is showing its potentail… He bought Jenks,Squillaci,Gibbs(Youth),BFG..,.Out of all this only squallici was sflop

  7. Peter Gordon says:

    I personally think it’ll be hard for any defence put together by Arsene to do well presently. Why? Because of that dreaded offside trap we always empty. Mertesacker’s slow. Why risk having him as the last hope of defence and running back trying to catch an attacker who’s broken free? That’s a situation we all pray against. The best defences in Europe have no time for that defensive tactic. It’s pretty childish.

  8. Manthan says:

    Coming to djouru he never got proper match time to prove himself, I don’t say he is good but he never got chance to prove he is good or bad he never played whole season due to injury or he was down to pecking order…. Kozz is slowly becoming sucees, TV had bad season but we can write him off he is very good defender, BFG is slow but his ability to read game is terrific, Jenks we all know how much talented he is, Gibbs abd Monreal are also real deal… SO noway we can tell arsene is bad in buying defenders… We cannot judge our defending talent as per current season because first of all we are playing 4-2-1-3 Formation which is very attacking and if you want to follow the same formation we need a a good Strong DM, Artetat is good but he not strong. so given dis fact we are conceding cheap goals this season….

  9. Rasp says:

    Great post Rocky. When you put it like that, who can argue that the Invincibles back four was anything but all Arsene’s and the best we’ve seen including GG’s …… but then they did have 5 or 6 better players in front of them who could (and did) always outscore the opposition, so maybe that is a factor.

    I don’t think AW is any better or worse at choosing defenders than any other position on the pitch – except goalkeepers! Sticking with Almunia was a big mistake which could have been rectified at a cost of £3-4m and probably cost us a prem title or two.

    If we followed any other team we would be able to quote a long list of players the manager had bought who had been a failure – every team has them. Is Arsene’s record any better or worse than the average? – probably better I’d say.

  10. Hakeem Chatur says:

    I completely support this. At the end of the Spurs defeat, Adams did recall in his analysis how George (Graham) had always told them that the offside trap was just a trick to have in their pockets, not one to be employed the whole match. When there’s a serious threat from the opposing side, what the defence to do, is drop back as fast as possible while keeping it’s shape and guarding the keeper. There’s an English/Spanish, a German, a Belgian, a French in the starting backline, so communication can not always be expected to be a breeze, and it’s completely necessary if the offside trap is to be used successfully.

  11. The font says:

    Kos for me is as good as it gets speed. controlled aggression when he plays. transition from defence to attack is the best we have had proberley the most underrated defender in the premier league

  12. gunners78 says:

    Love the post. I do think Arsene has gotten a bad deal on his defensive selections. The players are good they just lack confidence. I would personally move Vermaelin to defensive midfield. I think he is better suited there.

  13. Dick Swiveller says:

    Peter, one of the best defences in Europe contains Van Buyten. A man with the turning circle of 1 1/2 Mertesackers. The reaspn why it works is because the team in front of him work hard and he makes up for the deficiencies of those around him, as they make up for his. It’s no coincidence that we’ve been working harder and more intelligent in our pressing and possession and we’ve kept two clean sheets.

  14. Dominic says:

    How quickly some people forget. Look where we were in the league before Arsene took over. His training and dietary changes prolonged the careers of the back 4. On top of that he replaced them with a group as good if not better.

  15. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Love the thought that a particular tactic can be called “childish”

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great start to the week, and plenty to chew on. Thanks very much.

    Many good points and many cracker lines as usual.

    Mistakes Arsene has made for sure, but who hasn’t. However, the same man who put the Invincible Defence together is no fool when it comes to defending.

    Ultimately what matters is where are we now. Well, the LB position looks in good shape, and so does RB. The GK issue is clearly something he is addressing, otherwise Sz wouldn’t have got the boot.

    That leaves the CB pairing. Given that over the past few seasons he has consistently tinkered shows he is aware improvements can be made here.

    Much has been made of the role and relationship between AW and “Got no hair, we don’t care”, and many observers have put a lack of understanding between the CB’s as a root cause.

    Post the Totnum game “chat” inspired by Mert, perhaps this is being tackled by the players themselves.

    Time will tell, but the signs are good.

  17. Morning all
    AW choices of defenders have been poor his current crop are average.
    Clichy just an average defender had a few good games but he would fit well into a team like stoke.

    Eboue, good engine but gets troubled when he marking any class player he would fit well into a team like QPR.

    Gibbs, hard to judge as he’s injury prone.

    Gallas what a waste of money he was after a big payday and then pissed off to the Spudz.

    Sagna I liked him but this season he give the ball away every game he would fit well into a team like Newcastle.

    TV again last year he was a rock in the defence this year he is like a cock in defence don’t understand why.

    Mertesacker another DUH type player he’s about as fast as a drunken tramp over 30 meters no one wanted him when he left Germany odd ? He would fit in at a club like Aston villa .

    Koscielny,he’s ok but he’s prone to a lot of mistakes but he’s not my fav .

    Monreal difficult as I’ve only seen him play twice but he looks quite good.

    Jenkinson. Don’t rate this guy yes yes I know he’s an international but some games he looks lost like a school boy looking for his puppies.
    Much love
    Sheep Hagger ™

  18. Morning all, good of Mr Rock to point out the fallacies of the glib statement “Wenger can’t do defense” that we get trotted out. What I will say is that Wenger is better at picking midfielders and attackers.

    So what do you do if you know you have a weakness in one area of your job ? You ask for help from a specialist or someone who knows that area better.

    Therein lies another (potential) mistruth – Wenger doesn’t delegate defensive duties to anyone as he is autocratic.

    As usual, unless you have access to what goes on behind the scenes at London Colney we can only speculate on the basis of what we see on a match day, and this may shed little, or no, light on the matter.

  19. kelsey says:

    I said yesterday more or less what Chary has just posted yet when I look at the league tables it gives me a different slight on things regardless who is playing.

    At home only Swansea in 9th, and Newcastle in 13th have conceded more than us (2) and Villa in 17th and QPR bottom (3) yet away we have conceded the least in the whole division.

    Does that make sense ?

  20. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    Swansea, Newcastle, Villa, Wigan, Reading, QPR have all conceded more goals at home than Arsenal.

    Manure, Man City and Chelsea have conceded less goals than Arsenal away.

    Not sure I understand your facts or your point?

  21. Haven’t arsenal got one of the least goals against them in the PL.
    Or did I miss hear that fact I may have as I’m getting older and parts of my body are failing me .
    Off for a game of four ball now with Knuckles he’s my partner .
    PS admin I’ve dropped a post in this morning if u need a post for the upcoming week.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    Here are the defensive stats in 2012/13 PL games started by the following.

    Szczesney, PI-20, GA-22, W-11, D-5, L4, Pts%- 63%, GAPG-1.1
    Mannone, PI-8, GA-10, W-3, D-2, L-3, Pts%- 46%, GAPG-1.25
    Fabianski, PI-1, GA-0, W-1, D-0, L-0, Pts%-100%, GAPG- 0
    Sagna, PI-16, GA-21, W-8,D-4, L-3, Pts%- 65%, GAPG- 1.31
    Jenks, PI-14, GA-11, W-6, D-4, L-4, Pts%-52%, GAPG= .79
    Gibbs, PI-18, GA-20, W-8, D -6, L-4, Pts%-565, GAPG-1.11
    Santos, PI-3, GA-3, W-1,D-0, L-2, Pts%-33%, GAPG-1.0
    Monreal, PI-5, GA-3, W-4, D-0, L-1, Pts%-80%, GAPG- .6
    Mert, PI-25, GA-24, W-13, D-7, L-5, Pts%-61%, GAPG-.96
    Verm, PI-24, GA-30, W-11, D-6, L7, Pts%-54%, GAPG-1.25
    Kosc, PI-11, GA-15, W-4, D-5, L-2, Pts%-52%, GAPG-1.36.

    PI=Played In
    GAPG= Goals against per game.

    Disclaimer: This is bound to upset some people but frankly IDGAF.

    Rocky, great post and I heartily agree with your conclusions.

  23. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, thanks for the stats – some surprises there, what conclusions do you draw?

  24. kelsey says:

    Red arse

    The point i was trying to make for example is that the bottom club have only conceded three more goals than us at home this season.

    You may think i am mad,which i most probably am but our home form in general has put us in the position we now find ourselves in.. Convert a proprtion of draws and loses at home into wins and we would be challenging for second as we speak.
    is there something about The Emirates that shows that we compared to the other top 5/6 clubs don’t win as many games there as we do.

  25. GunnerN5 says:


    My back five would be-

    Szczesny, Jenkinson, Monreal, Mertesacker and Koscielny – even though the stats would indicate a different group.

    I have been really impressed with the back five in the last two games but the jury is still out as to how long they can play that well – but long may it last.

    I also have it worked out by groupings of back fives – but to put it into a post that is compatible with word press is a big challenge, (I’ll give some thought to a simple presentation)

  26. GunnerN5 says:


    In a word it’s called “atmosphere”.

    The home supporters don’t seem (as a group) to realise the impact that they have on the team, and therefore the results. It would be fantastic if the home crowd listened to and learned from the away supporters – two very different groups of fans.

  27. Agreed Kelsey, a lot of what we blog about will be uninformed speculation (or spectrumulation) however there are sufficient contributions from our esteemed band of commenters that do actually explain some things I couldn’t work out.

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    (or spectrumulation)

    Chary, That just earned you two crumpets.

  29. ha ha N5 – I couldn’t resist that one. 🙂

  30. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5, my back 4 would be the same as yours. For the timebeing I’d stick with Fab2 in goal as the defence has been solid with him in place and it looks like he’s playing for a summer move away.

  31. Merseforever says:

    Fundamental thing that you are all ignoring is that Arsene ‘picked’ those defenders, whereas GG picked them and then trained them. We’ve all heard about how he used to make them line up with a rope etc. GG built that defensive rock over a number of years and hence it lasted a lot longer. Whatever you say about the Invincibles defence (and it was fantastic) it only really lasted 3 years, not the decade that GG’s did. So in terms of a purely defensive legacy, GG trumps Arsene every time.

    I think all of us forget what a phenom big Sol was. He was an unbelievable defender. Quick, strong, aggressive and intelligent. He marshalled that defence by himself. Cole, Lauren and Toure were phenomenal athletes. Cole could bomb up and down the wing and catch up with almost any winger or striker and Toure too was very quick. I wouldn’t say the famous back four were anywhere near as good physically as the previously mentioned defence. Yet they were as good because of better coaching and functioning better as a unit.

    Regarding the Emirates or the poison bowl as I call it. Horrible place to play and watch football. Our home fans are terrible, most of them just whine and the people there only know ‘by far the greatest team….’ I whine a lot, but I save it for after the match. For the 90 minutes I sing my heart out. The Emirates has got rocking on a few occasions, Barcelona, AC Milan and Spurs matches come to mind, but apart from that the crowd is lethargic and even worse poisonous. I think we’ve always had moaners and groaners at the Arsenal, but they seem to have remained whereas the people who make noise (ie young rowdy lads) have all been priced out. It’s up to us old gits to try and generate the noise we did 30/40 years ago.

    As a side note, can people (if they like) post some of the older chants they remember that they no longer hear. Trying to remember as many as I can to tell to my boys and nephews so they won’t die out, but I’m sure I have forgotten some of the stuff we used to sing!

  32. Red Arse says:


    I still don’t get your point. Only Manure have scored more goals at home than we have. The ratio of goals scored to goals conceded is very good, and that is only bettered by Manure, Citeh and Chelsea.

    Doesn’t sound bad to me.

  33. chas says:

    Nice one, Rocky.
    Perhaps Arsene isn’t rubbish at choosing defenders but just rubbish at organising them after they’ve been bought? 🙂

    The blind man shopping for sex aids line reminded me of someone’s Facepalm status (I think it was) that they had been queuing in the supermarket behind a woman who was buying only a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and a cucumber.

    I think kelsey’s figures for goals conceded home and away were pretty accurate.

    Interestingly (Big Al 🙂 ) we’re second in goals scored at home in the premier league. Does this mean the home support really give the team a boost when have the opposition on the rack?
    I’m impressed with Fabianski’s GAPG 🙂

  34. Good comment Merseforever – we really don’t make our home advantage count like most teams do.

  35. Red Arse says:

    Hi GN5, 🙂

    I take your point about the atmosphere at the Emirates, (tho’ I have only been twice) but as I just wrote to kelsey, the atmosphere has not stopped us scoring very well at home with 35 goals to Manure’s 39, with every one else trailing us.

    [probably best to ignore the fact that Manyoo are 24 points better off than us.] 😦

  36. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I’m not so concerned about Wenger’s supposedly bad choice of defenders, more the fact that those defenders either don’t improve or indeed lose what ever form they originally had. Vermaelen is a case in point.

    The failure of our back five to communicate with each other is obviously a drawback, it can’t all be down to language, both Vermaelen and Koscielny as well as Szczesny have been at Arsenal long enough to have learnt sufficient English to make themselves understood on the pitch, whilst Jenkinson and Gibbs have English as their native tongue.

    I can only conclude that the major problem lies with the coaching staff. Which brings us back to Wenger.

  37. GunnerN5 says:


    It’s goals against at home that is our main issue. Our goals against per game is 1.36 which is the worst in our PL history while our goals for per game are the third best at 2.50 per game.

  38. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Kelsey,

    I forgot to say to your question, earlier, that Manyoo have had 2 draws in the season to date, whereas we have had 8.

    It is fine margins, but if we had converted the 6 extra draws we got, to 6 wins that would have given us 12 more points, and we would be right up there in 2nd place, or if we had converted only 3 of those draws into wins we would be comfortable in 3rd.

    All ‘ifs ands and buts’! 🙂

  39. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all …. its that time again 🙄

    We need a post for tomorrow and more for the rest of the week so if anyone has the germ of an idea they can expand into a few lines we’d be very grateful.

  40. Merseforever says:

    Abramovich has apparently been arrested. Please let his assets be confiscated! Hopefully by the time the international break has finished Chelski are done! (Might be wishful thinking on my part).

  41. Raspers, I think Sheepy said he popped a post into the AA silo earlier today.

    As for me, if big & Dandy is not around to do the Reading pre match I can volunteer for that. In terms of players/subs I’m the Chamakh to Big & dandy’s Bergkamp.

  42. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    The problem with the argument that goes “even if can pick good defenders he still can’t coach them” rather falls down with the Invincibles, whose defence seemed to have a vague idea of what it was doing.

    Merse’s comment about the longevity of the George Graham defence giving it extra status is a good one. Although I may be contradicting my own Post, I do think that the GG back 5 was my favourite Arsenal back line of all time.

    My head says the Invincibles were better (and the Post was written from my head). My heart leans towards GG’s men…

  43. Rasp
    I posted a post earlier if u need to use it in the week.

  44. Merseforever says:


    my rationale behind the he can’t coach them is this. After the Invincibles defence fell apart we haven’t seen anything resembling true defensive solidity since. In fact the general trend is that our defensive trend has worsened over the period since 2004.

    Again with the Invincibles defence, remember Sol. He was phenomenal. A better pure defender than even Adams (definitely not a better Arsenal player though, if you get the distinction). He marshalled that defence and organised itself. Don’t forget that him and Cashley both played with TA as well. Would have been an invaluable learning experience as a defender. The reason I hesitate to use the Invincibles as evidence of Wenger ‘coaching’ a defence is because of this. Campbell marshalled that defence, plus they were much better athletes than GG’s back four. They could rely on their pace and athleticism instead of the organisation, no-nonsense attitude, agression and nous that TA, Bouldy, Dixon and Nigel relied on.

  45. Merseforever says:

    Just want to add to the point above, that Sol was already a top quality defender when he arrived. That’s so why so many clubs were after him. Tone developed into one under GG’s coaching.

  46. chas says:

    Another point about the Invincibles defence is that we aren’t including the 6th member of it i.e. Gilberto Silva.

    The Invincibles also let in 8 more goals than the 1991’ers, while scoring 1 goal less.

  47. kelsey says:

    RA @ 3.05

    that’s exactly what i meant. You obviously don’t read my comments 🙂

  48. Red Arse says:

    It’s a great way to communicate, Kelsey! 🙂

  49. For those discussing the issue of best centre-back pairing(s), and as regards Rocky’s post today, and as regards this comment yesterday made by myself …”We might win a game 5-0 with Djourou and Squillaci side-by-side. What conclusion would you draw from that?”… you may find this following STAT interesting :

    In season 2010-2011 Djourou and Squillaci featured as a centre-back pairing five times in the Premiership.

    Birmingham (home)… WON 2-1
    Man City (away)… WON 3-0
    Wolves (away)… WON 2-0
    Everton (a)… WON 2-1
    Stoke City (home)… WON 1-0

    WON 5 … DREW 0 …LOST 0
    Goals For: 10 … Goals Against 2


  50. kelsey says:

    I am afraid I agree with Norfolk

  51. VeraCruz says:

    That’s a very interesting stat big al, personaly I never tought of djourou as a bad defender, he’s fast big and strong had some bad moments but doesnt have them? Just think he wasnt given enough support and was used a lot as a scapegoat not mentioning that he was used a lot out of position.

  52. goonerjake says:

    Great win and great goal in the next gen. I think we may get two maybe three top players from this young squad.

    The two are Gnabry and Eisfeld.

    Maybe’s Angha, Bellerin and Yennaris

  53. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all, fine post Rocky….I have to agree there has not been much wrong with the defenders we have signed, but there has been something wrong with the attitude of other players in the side towards the defence. The words teamwork seem to have vanished into thin air, and the players seem to look back and say “it’s on you”….they seemed to forget that without those same defenders overlapping at full back to help them at the top end.

    I also think up until this season most of our problems defensively were when we were asking the team to defend (set pieces/corners etc).

    GN5 I’ll get back to you.

    Jake did Akpom play? Quite like the look of him, as well as others you mentioned.

  54. Gooner In Exile says:

    Regarding stats posted earlier Kelsey is indeed correct about our home goals conceded compared to our away goals, and the fact that our away goals against is the best in the league (13). Whilst our home goals for may look very rosy in fact there are anomalies as three games have provided 18 goals (Toon, Southampton, Spuds). Take those games out of the equation and it is not hard to see why our goals against at home has caused us problems this year. 35 from 14 becomes 17 from 11. Our away goals for are not much better 20 from 15.

    Basically though goals conceded/gifted before we have scored have been our biggest problem this year and is giving the creative side of the team an uphill struggle to get level before we can think about going for the win. A massive difference to Swansea away where good defending allowed us to stay relaxed and wait for the goal to come at the right end of the pitch.

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:


    So, could it be that our poor showings at home could be down to the lack of collective defending, as the front 6 all believe that “at home” life is easy?

    ps I am just thinking aloud

  56. chas says:

    We do seem more vulnerable at home, especially on the counter.

    The changing rooms are far too luxurious too.
    Get them changing in the back of a Transit in this weather. That’d shake ’em up. Freezing skin and horse linament is what’s required

  57. Gooner In Exile says:

    Back of a transit 😀 , white horse oils were lovely stuff, I guess that isn’t used anymore?

    I had a dream last night we were playing Spuds in their new ground, it was tiny only had a 20,000 capacity. Least they know their limits 😀

  58. Gooner In Exile says:

    Merse you asked for some songs we don’t hear anymore here’s a few:

    Good Old Arsenal, were proud to sing that name…..

    You are my Arsenal my only Arsenal You make me happy when skies are grey….

    My old man said be a Tottenham fan I said ………. (Maybe not suitable for grand kids)

  59. kelsey says:

    Morning just a a caveat.

    Although many of Wenger’s signings were pretty much unknown to us and his reluctence to buy from within the PL the excuse being PL players are generally not value for money (and that was before the move) many in his own words take a good six months to settle in and generally he maybe right but I distinctly remember in recent years that Sagna’s settled in from day one.
    What I don’t understand is that we have bought a few players since the invinsibles who look a steal when playing for their former team or country and then Wenger plays them completely out of their natural position or alters their natural style of play to wengerball.
    maybe this accounts for the loss of form of some to an extent.

  60. Gooner In Exile says:

    I’d be interested to know what players Kelsey….I don’t follow continental leagues very much so when a new player arrives I have to go to YouTube to find out why we may have signed them. The only exceptions in recent memory Arshavin, Arteta and Podolski.

    It certainly is about finding the right players to play the managers style.

    Would Gareth Bale make us better? Probably not as he would not be able to play the way he does for Spuds, same reason why I don’t think Barca will take him, Chelsea, United and Madrid seem to play in a style that would get most from him….although Madrid already have that man, Chelsea are trying to change to a less direct approach and United wont have £60m available.

    I see names like Cavani and Falcao mentioned as forwards that we should buy, what I have seen of them suggests we would have to work a new system to get the best out of them.

    The only thing I am hoping for this summer is a final clearout of unused players and unhappy players, which could easily include Sagna and TV5, then venture into the market to bolster the vacant spots and where we are weak in numbers. But I don’t particularly want “big name” signings instead I would like to see more players with the appetite of Jack, Jenkinson etc who can fit in to our style rather than be shoe horned in.

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi GiE,
    I am with you on the clear out of unused players, and the freeing up of wages, but simply don’t understand your position on “big names”.

    We need to move forwards, not tread water, or take the “step back”.

    We have the nucleus of homegrown talent, but it needs complimenting with two world class players.

    Absolutely no reason we can’t sign players with fierce work ethic (Jovetic/Cavani types spring to mind) that would take us to the next level.

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Talking of Jovetic, might make watching England/Montenegro worth watching. Scouting hat on.

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Chas
    “The changing rooms are far too luxurious”
    Just the start of my what’s wrong with the stadium list 🙂

  64. MickyDidIt89 says:

    watching worth watching…oh dear, I’m not getting better, am I?

  65. Rasp says:

    Morning all, neither peaches or I are about much at the moment due to heavy work commitments. Today’s post is another charismatic offering from sheepy 😉

  66. Rasp says:

    …… New post ……….

  67. Rasp says:

    All we need is for Jovetic to put in a motm performance tonight and he’ll be out of our price range along with Cavani

  68. Jamietheleftback says:

    Well put, I think we need these defenders, I think we should play 5-4-1

    LWB Nacho-man
    LCB Kozzer
    CB Adil Rami
    RCB Pepe
    RB Sanga

    I have left out Mertesacker and Verminator since Metesacker would be better on the bench and Verminator really has to go, he slips up and has passed his peak


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