Koscielny? BFG? Vermaelen? Vote for Arsenal’s Team of the Decade Part 3: Centre Backs

As we continue to build Arsenal’s “Team of the Decade” from the last 10 seasons (2010 – 2019) it’s time to move on to one of the most crucial positions on the pitch – central defence.

If you have not yet voted in the goalie and fullback categories, you can find the links in the menu bar below.

Choose your TWO preferred CBs from the list and cast your votes accordingly. Results will not be revealed until the entire team has been compiled.

As a reminder, for simplicity we are going with a 4-3-3 formation so please make your choices with that in mind. Some players (such as Sol Campbell, who only had a handful of games in the decade in question, have not been included).

Centre Backs

Thomas Vermaelen

The “Muscles from Brussels,” our hard hitting Belgian, was not actually from Brussels, but the “Twerp from Antwerp” didn’t sound as good. Tommy V was with us for five seasons before leaving for Barcelona and was a mainstay for much of that time.

William Gallas

Scrapes in because he started 26 games in the 2009-10 season, but left the following year.  Undoubtedly a capable player, but perhaps his best years were at Chelsea. He’ll always be remembered (not favourably) for sitting down on the pitch and going on strike in the game where Eduardo’s leg was snapped in half.

Laurent Koscielny

There were doubts about Kozzer when he first arrived but in time he became a very successful CB for us. His predilection for throwing his face in front of opposition players’ boots, knees and elbows was an additional source of entertainment.

Sebastien Squillaci

Arrived in the same window as Koscielny, but The Squid never established himself in the same way and was on his way after only 38 starts.

Johan Djourou

I have a theory that big Johan could have been a top player for us, but his reputation went down the pan when he was forced to spend an extended spell at right back due to an injury crisis among our fullbacks (sound familiar?). He was just not cut out for that role, and although he generally did well for us when playing central defence, he never recovered from his dodgy time at FB.

Per Mertesacker

The BFG arrived as a seasoned German international and World Cup winner and very quickly made us better. A great reader of the game and an excellent distributor from the back.

Gabriel Paulista

Gabriel got 53 starts in two-and-a-half seasons. He looked scary enough to frighten opposition strikers half to death and was not a bad player, but failed to cement a role as a first choice CB.

Rob Holding

It’s been a stop-start career at Arsenal for Rob. He did have an outstanding game when we won the FA Cup in 2017.

Shkodran Mustafi

Currently out of favour after recent blunders, but it wasn’t always that way for Mustafi. When he joined we went on a long run of games in which we were unbeaten whenever he played. He was a pretty consistent presence in his first three seasons, with 37, 36 and 38 starts respectively.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Sok gets in in the last season under consideration here (2018-19) with 39 starts. Big, solid and brave, he has been a fairly reliable presence without (I think it’s fair to say) ever fully convincing the supporters that he’s the answer to our defensive woes.



34 Responses to Koscielny? BFG? Vermaelen? Vote for Arsenal’s Team of the Decade Part 3: Centre Backs

  1. Sorry Rocky, I got tied up doing other stuff.

    Thank you for the post, I’ll go back and read it now 😳

  2. RC78 says:

    Great read once again…thanks

    The list also shows that we didn’t really have world class CBs in the last decade. Koscielny had maybe 2 very solid seasons but then injuries and his partners in CB did not help him perform to his best and he was often acting like a fireman. He was solid but also made numerous errors initially. BFG did fine but he did not really help shore up our defense either. His partnership with Kos was the best we had in the last decade and I think it s great he has stayed on with the club but not a world class defender.

    Still, they are the best of the list. I am sure that if Vermaelen was not so injury prone, he could have been in the top 2 but the point is that he did not play enough for us.

    So far my team is: Cech – Sagna, BFG, Kos, Clichy –

  3. LBG says:

    Still have hopes for Rob Holding and Mavrapanos but injuries, Emery, and mind, have all been against so far. Shame!
    Kos and the BFG for me.

  4. LBG says:

    Interesting sideline.
    Players who have either come from Chelsea or gone to Chelsea from us. Would make an pretty talented team!

  5. RC78 says:

    LBG – for sure BUT history will show that players that left AFC for Chelsea won more trophies than those who joined AFC from Chelsea. Latest example is, of course, Giroud.

  6. Loved Koscielny, hated how he left us but had to vote for him.

    Our BFG gets my other vote, he brought stability with his wise head. As I’m a bit of a defending geek, I loved watching him play although it was a bit scary when we played a high line. For his FA Cup performance alone he has to be in my team of the decade.

  7. RockyLives says:

    Arsenal-Chelsesa Revolving Door Eleven:

    Diarra – Gallas – Luiz – Cole
    Rocastle – Fabregas – Petit – Benayoun
    Giroud – Anelka

    Pretty good line-up…

  8. LBG says:

    You beat me Rocky.

    Hollins Luiz Gallas Cashley
    Rocastle Fabregas Hudson
    Lawton Drake

  9. RockyLives says:

    This is fun.

    Arsenal-ManU Revolving Door Eleven (a 4-2-4 formation with a bit of a problem at LB):

    Anderson – Ure – Silvestre – Mkhitaryan
    Graham – Platt
    Van Persie – Cole – Stapleton – Welbeck

    I think Arsenal/Chelsea would beat Arsenal/ManU despite the wealth of goalscorers in the latter line-up…

  10. RockyLives says:

    Some classy entries there – Hollins was a terrific MF and Drake one of the all-time greats by all accounts.

  11. RockyLives says:

    Arsenal-Spuds Revolving Door Eleven (bit of a cheat, I had to use George Graham in MF even though he was only at the Totts as a manager, not a player):

    Walford -Cambell – Young – Gallas
    Bentley – Graham
    Robertson – Cox – Adebayor – Brain

  12. RockyLives says:

    Right, no more revolving doors, I promise.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Rocky

    Will be very surprised if this is not close to 100% again for both BFG and Kos, who were my nominations. As RC said it has not been a decade for shouting about our defence (more shouting at it) and we haven’t been blessed with world class defenders, but BFG and Kos were pretty decent.

    Again if measured across a 30 year period rather than a decade I think only Sagna (from the lists and positions already done) would have a shout at getting in the team.

    Unlike Peaches I am not too Geeky about defenders, but more so about midfield and attack, so Rocky if you would kindly let everyone know they have another hour to vote and comment on our defence over the last decade, then we can swiftly move on to the fun stuff 🙂

  14. JM says:

    For the decade (from 2010 to 2019), in a 4-3-3.

    Laurent Koscielny (from 2011 to 2019) & Per Mertesacker (from 2012 to 2018).

    My team (continued):
    GK. Petr Čech (from 2016 to 2019, 4 seasons)
    RB. Bacary Sagna (from 2010 to 2014, 5 seasons)
    LB. Nacho Monreal (from 2013 to 2019, 7 seasons)
    CB. Laurent Koscielny (from 2011 to 2019, 9 seasons)
    CB. Per Mertesacker (from 2012 to 2018, 7 seasons)

  15. RockyLives says:

    Almost the same as RC, except he’s gone for Clichy rather than Nacho at LB.

  16. RockyLives says:

    I should warn that the MF positions (coming up in the next couple of posts) are going to be a real challenge…

  17. fred1266 says:

    Really why is mustafi and squillaci in the poll

  18. RockyLives says:

    In all the polls I have included every player who played any significant number of games for us during the decade in question.

    I considered giving fewer options, but then I thought it wasn’t up to me to edit or mediate the choices, even though some of the options are clearly very long shots.

    Having glanced at the results so far for the GK and fullback positions, you’d be surprised at the choices some individuals have gone for. Well, they surprised me, anyway 🙂

    Naturally you don’t have to vote for the players who seem surplus to requirements.

  19. RC78 says:

    Only Klopp won more points than Ancelotti since Ancelotti returned to the EPl. Ancelotti effect?

  20. LBG says:

    Everton wont finish in top six though. IMO

  21. fred1266 says:

    Gibbs over clichy for me RC

  22. Le Coq Monster says:

    The Revolving Door XI reminded me of……………………..Whoever`s idea it was to put a revolving door in the local dementia clinic was either a cruel bastard or a genius for getting the patients fit!

  23. RC78 says:

    @LbG – will Everton finish above us? Both Tottenham and Everton were behind us when Emery was sacked, no?

  24. pic.colo says:

    kos and the big fucking german

  25. Le Coq Monster says:

    Squillaci could have had sex with every inhabitant of Wuhan and still would not be able to pass anything on to his team mates!

  26. LBG says:

    I think (hope), we now begin a new chapter. Stop opposition scoring, win games have some luck and start moving up the League. Dont think we will make top four, but yes will be above Everton ( and Manure).

  27. Sue says:

    RC.. Haaland failed to score tonight, you can relax now 😀 Did you see that worldie from Can?? Wow!!

  28. RC78 says:

    @Sue – Dortmund will be tough to beat for PSG especially since Icardi is misfiring at tje moment and Cavani is yet to be Match fit. Marquinhos and Bernat are also a doubt 😥

  29. LBG says:

    Ramsey looking for a move from Juve, according to Italian media, despite his new four year contract.
    Very few do better when they leave the Home of Football.

  30. Sue says:

    RC.. What about Mbappe and Neymar? Going to be a great game for the neutrals!!

    LBG.. Doesn’t surprise me, didn’t play for very long last night, and they lost!
    I didn’t think he’d walk straight into their line up though. I wish he’d stayed with us!

  31. RC78 says:

    Ramsey needs to adapt to Saari football like Rabiot did.

  32. RockyLives says:

    Ramsey will probably end up back in the EPL. Chelsea?

    It would be sad to see from an Arsenal perspective.

    Apparently his first Juve season has been hindered by injury.

  33. Morning all, shall we see who’s up next ……………

    Just having a look in the cupboard

  34. New Post ………………

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