For the umptenth season, Arsenal’s title hopes capitulated just as their campaign was coming to an end and just as the Gunners had silverware in their sight. Through all the endseason madness,t hrough all the dropped points, through the breaking of water bottles by Arsène Wenger and through all the frustrations by the fans, the blame has always been piled on the defenders.
“The defenders are not good enough for Arsenal” or “Wenger needs to buy experienced defenders” or “Arsenal need a defensive midfielder in the mould of Claude Makelele, one who doesnt roam forward.”

It is true that some of Arsenal’s defenders have weaknesses. Djourou is vulnerable when he is facing a pacy forward and his turning makes my grandmother look like Cristiano Ronaldo. Koscielny’s slight built means the Premier League’s bully strikers such as Drogba have fun when he is marking them. Clichy loses concentration and he is easily pulled out of position forcing the centre backs to cover him up most of the time hence leaving the goalkeeper exposed. But show me a defender who’s all perfect. Tell me whether Terry and Vidichave no failings. Tell me their pace is as good as their power in the air and I will tell you Denilson is as good as Xavi! And apart from Clichy, show me any member of our first choice back five(including Song) who is poor in the air. none! Can you say the same thing about Manchester United with Evra, Rafael and Carrick? Or Spurs with Ekotto, Sandro and Corluka. No!

People talk about Song roaming upfield but I ask, wasn’t Makelele a box to box midfielder, what about Flamini, Vieira? Would you trade Song for Sandro, Obi Mikel, Lucas, Carrick or even Busquets? In my opinion, the only holding midfielder at par with Song in the Premier League’s Top 6 is De Jong (no wonder their names rhyme, they must be made of steel). And still on our Cameroonian terrier, people have to stop referring to him as a defensive midfielder, he’s not. He is a holding midfielder! Someone will ask “then why don’t the other teams ship in goals like we do?” The answer is simple: the other teams defend like a unit. Watch Manchester United when they have lost the ball. The whole team including Rooney retreat and start tracking the opposition, shielding the defenders and shepherding the danger away from their goal. When Barcelona lose the ball, all the players press the opposition to retrieve it.

Then watch Arsenal play, you will see Jack Wilshere and Alex Song running around tracking their opponents while Arshavin, Nasri and Fabregas relax to watch the proceedings. Walcott and RVP, on the other hand, will be waiting to latch on to Fabregas’ defence-splitting pass. This leaves the goal completely exposed. Arsenal’s attacking football means that they need more personnel to push the ball forward. This leaves them susceptible to speedy counters. Now, tell me whether Vidic can keep a high line and then break to chase after Ronaldo, Nani or Walcott in a counter attack (the image is choking). And you can bet that two weeks after Vidic’s purchase, Wenger will be roasted by the media for falling prey to the gullible Ferguson’s ploy of selling him a defender whose playing years are past him.

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0 responses to “Are individuals really to blame for Arsenal’s defensive frailties?”

  1. mick says:

    I agree with your conclusion but your analysis is not correct. Arsenal do in fact defend in open play very well, the proof is we conceded fewer goals from open play than any other team. Our big, big problem is defending set pieces from corners and free kicks in our half of the pitch, we conceded more from these situations than nearly every other team. Find the solution to this problem and our goals against will improve tremendously. In this regard our tendency to concede silly free kicks in our half last season was a huge problem and needs to be addressesd as that was like inviting the opposition to have a free go at goal, an invitation they all too readily accepted. So yes the answer is not so much personel more a question of defensive organisation.

  2. venky says:

    you completely forget about set pieces, thats our Achille’s heel and thats why we neeed a Samba

  3. juris tanko isa says:

    wenger can decide to pursue his targets without noise has is his tradition. however he should be fast before the good ones are gone. gooners 4 life

  4. Arsenal1 says:

    We actually have a pretty good defense now because we concede less goals from open play than almost any other team. Yet teams make us look like school boys during set pieces. Imagine if we had samba or Cahill to defend Ariel threats and Enrique to cover for the inevitable leaving of clichy

  5. TrueWisdom says:

    Wtf. Vidic to Arsenal ???

  6. subatomicman says:

    Arsenal NEEDS to practice defending corners and set pieces MUCH more than they do.
    Former EPL player and current Fox Soccer Channel analyst Warren Barton said, on TV, that he knows for a fact that Arsenal do not practice defending set pieces and corners during their training sessions. I don’t know if it’s true, but it sure looks like it!

  7. 037 says:

    Spot on! Vidic would be worse than Squillacci in an Arsenal defence.

    I agree with the analysis.. The problem is about “the way” we defend set pieces, not necessarily the players.

    Samba is around the same height as Djorou. Koscielny is 6 foot (not much different from Cahill).

    If Koscielny has grown to adapt the EPL, he’d be good for first choice next year.
    Squillacci doesn’t look the part, so another CB would be good for cover, while we nurture Bartley for first team material.

  8. drugJankie says:

    Arsenal suck horseballs mixed with pig dick.

  9. drugJankie says:

    The reason for arsenals defensive frailties is that they suck cow balls

  10. chris says:

    > Wenger has backed good technical players before he has backed good defenders …. which for example, Clichy is certainly NOT. Nor was Senderos, nor is Djouru.

    > Wenger has never organised them, drilled them into a tight defensive unit. There seems no leader who calls them up or drops them off – in a disciplined offside line.

    > Wenger has never protected the defence via the rest of the team. Never (since Vieira) the right holding midfielder (eg. Denilson !) Seldom wide players who track back knowing what they are doing (eg. Arshavin, Walcott ??)

    But hey let’s look on the bright side – Wenger will ” never sacrifice his attacking principles !!”

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