A new look attack with the same old defence? Ch-ch-ch-changes could be on the way.

His teammates congratulated Thomas after he managed 90 minutes without falling over.

Morning, Earthlings.

Lukas Podolski has signed up, Olivier Giroud and Yann M’Vila are widely reported by folks ‘in the know’ to be headed our way very soon. With Robin van Persie’s contract still playing out like the third Lord Of The Rings movie, it certainly appears change is on the way at Arsenal.

We need change. I’m not one to bash players, or throw wild, idiotic abuse around in the hope of courting controversy. I like to think of myself as a realist. I don’t see a everything-is-fine perspective through red tinted spectacles, either. Arsenal concede too many soft goals, and there are elements of our defending – collectively and as individuals – that need to be worked on.

Sagna, Gibbs, Koscielny and Vermaelen are very good players. I look at those four guys and I don’t see all that much weakness. However, countless times in the previous season, Arsenal have allowed opponents to score because of poor positioning and silly mistakes. If you take Spurs’ first goal in the 5-2 (still makes me smile!), and Norwich’s equaliser at the Emirates as examples; both could easily have been prevented by simply having players where they should be on the pitch – the Norwich goal saw Kieran Gibbs on the halfway line as the ball was played through the full back area he ought have been. Arsenal had just gone 3-2 up at the time. To be that far away from your area of responsibility is criminal.

I think the problem is a team thing. We can defend as individuals, but not as a team. Too often our back four are left exposed by a midfield that neglects to cover runners, or by Alex Song’s continued desire to establish himself as the new Platini. Too often our defenders saunter up field and leave gaping holes for teams to exploit. If someone vacated their position to support an attack during his time, Gilberto would fill in. We lack someone like him, and we have done for a while. Would Tony Adams have allowed anyone to just wander off? I doubt it.

To remedy the problem, Arsenal should invest in a solid holding midfielder. Yann M’Vila is ideal, but there are other options who could do a job. I wouldn’t mind Nigel de Jong, personally. If you add a greater level of communication and positional diligence from the back four, then the team would look a great deal more solid. Our wingers should be encouraged to track back and hunt for the ball.

I’m no huge fan of Barcelona, but their ethic without the ball is something I greatly admire. As much is made of their ability in possession, it shouldn’t be underestimated how their success stems from their determination to win the ball back. They hustle as a team.

We already have the players with the ability. All we need is to add a few elements here and there. If we could fix the defensive blunders, I truly believe we could mount a serious challenge for the title next season. Buy hey, that’s just me and my opinion. The comments below await a few of yours. I look forward to reading some.

Thanks for taking the time to read today, you delicious rascals. You can keep up with my blathering on Twitter @_ArmchairGooner

21 Comments

  1. Babatunde

    I think you’ve said it all.. Buth we still need a deffensive mildfilder who can help when the likes of K.Gibbs over lap.. Wenger please do something to that pls…

    Reply
  2. Jzeez

    I think is a vry good ideal,we need a solid holding mildfielder like m’villa and another solid center back…..

    Reply
  3. DW

    Great read and I totally agree with your assessment. The team is full of great players and really good defenders on an individual basis but can’t string it together as a team. I would honestly prefer De Jong over M’Vila( Overrated in my opinion). What I would like to know from you is what do you think will change if anything now that we have Bould as the new number 2? Will he be able to bring the defensive work Ethic this team needs? Also Arteta has shown what can be done when players try to be defensively aware of how the game is flowing. Your team is sometimes lacking in that!

    Reply
  4. Youssef

    We conceeded 49 goals last year. if we take out le 8 goals of MU and 4 goals against Blackburn where the team was stragelling and all the other teams were just loosing by 1 goal or 2 we would have conceeded a total of 40of 38 goals.
    What I mean is that 1,11 goal per gamewere conceeded since the team was set up. and if we compare this ratio to other teams we would be 3rd. I wanted to clarify this point.
    Now, yes we really need a proper DM and if Mvilla is in, we would definitly improve our defensive ranking and thus can challenge for title.
    Gooner 4 ever from Morocco

    Reply
  5. Scott

    I said a hundred times last season that we play our best football when there’s plenty of movement off the ball,whether we are in possession or not.
    It’s simple.
    That’s why we always looked a little better when Yossi played,as the one thing he never lacked was enthusiasm.

    Reply
  6. Zinc

    We have the players but of defensive system is terrible, the hope is that Bould will have influence on how we approach football defensively, just a touch more organisation and we’d concede far less.

    Reply
    1. reallycrossross

      Just because Bould was a defender doesn’t mean he is the defensive minded coach you think he is. Take a look at the u18’s in the last 2 seasons … they play the same game as the 1st team!

      I do agree though that the defensive side of our team play is the hole that needs to be filled. All 5 of the defensive positions (DCM included) need to work in a more co-ordinated way. Last season can be put down to them having no consistent playing time together due to injury, but this must improve in the coming season or we won’t be challenging.

      I am really unconvinced by M’Vila but agree with you on de Jong. de Jong in a tenacious and experienced player, I’m sure M’Vila has a bright future but we need an experienced DCM imo and longer studs for TV5’s boots!!

      Reply
  7. yusuf

    i dont think our defender has problem arsenal lack team work at times

    Reply
  8. Graham Williams

    What you said in your article is on the money. With Steve Bould we can now improve defensively as we did when Martin Keogh was shaping our defense.

    Reply
  9. Pete

    Well said. Mobility is key to our game. If people don’t slot into vacated holes left by a defender charging up the field, we leave ourselves badly exposed.
    Defending as a unit. Knowing when and where to press the ball is critical.

    Reply
  10. okaka

    i fil so much dsapointed wen i lokd bak at asna histry. dat players lik theo is rfusin to xtend hs contract for a club lik asna.its usless. lok Rvp wat has he don for asna? wen last did he played a good futball for asna? my only problem is dat asna dnt buy players? if nat yl shld asna b hangn on on theo n Rvp. ds guys re not xceptiona player. let dem go if dey want.

    Reply
  11. Dom

    An article that makes sence. Our defence lacks a leader, you may say that’s vermaelan and sagna are those players but they are not, the acquisition of Steve bould as our assistant manager could be a great way to solve the leadership issues we have at the back, they don’t talk to each other I have noticed whilst playing so we have to remadee this problem.
    I am praying that arsenal sell djourou because he is a liability, he makes to many mistakes in a mistake ridden defence so it’s logical to move him on.
    Even if he stays we need to bring in a centre back who will be that leader for us, psg’s sakho seems to be available he is at the level where we should be looking at. I don’t think right back needs sorting because we have in my opinion the best right back in the world plus 3 players in yennaris, jenkinson and coquilan also kocialny can play there. Left back is a problem for me, santos isn’t good enough and Gibbs needs a full season fit before he can be relied upon. I’m not sure who will be suitable it has to be someone who is a team player who isn’t to bothered whether he is picked or not similar to James Milner but a left back. Theses players are very hard to come by but when you have them on your team you are garranteed to be successful.
    M’villa is the only option for defensive midfield for me, he is exactly what we need.
    This summer our main focus should be on bringing in someone who can play in the pires/rosicky/Nasri role we need someone who can operate on the wing and come in to link up with the play in the midfield. Lucas moura should be a prime target now after failing to secure hazard, gotze and eriksen, dzagoev in my opinion is a big gamble I’m not sure he’s a risk worth taking.

    If van Persie leaves then we shouldn’t just stick with giroud, it would be foolish if we did. We must replace like for like ability and rating wise and they will have to have the attributes to come straight into the team and score, similar to what Torres did for Liverpool, the obviouse choice for me is cavani, he is the new Henry in my opinion his combination of pace, skill, power and finess is totally worth the £30 million which should secure him maybe a bit higher no more than £35 million. You may say I’m dreaming but arsenal will spend on the right player we have made bids up £25 million for gotze and hazard last summer and £20 million for m’villa so I don’t see why we wouldn’t look to spend a similar amount.

    Reply
  12. Vishnu

    Hope our new assistant coach will solve the defensive related problems. If we bring in M’vila or De Jong, that would settle the defensive midfield issues, and that will allow song to integrate with the attack, where he proves to be very good. Also with the acquisition of Podolski and possibly Giroud, we could be gunning for trophies once again….and I hope these signings could tempt RVP to stay at Arsenal..

    Reply
  13. allan

    ti is geart to see arsenal are serious about competing in epl
    however , wenger still must look hard at his golakeeper weakness as we have once again seen in poland ganme ..stelekelnburg .. neuer casillas .seaman
    also we need mvilla. and de jong and affelaly and ribbery
    and at theback we need maicon alves pique lucien .. quality to keep vermalean koschielny..getteing better

    without the above we will win games ..but struggle to win epl and cpl

    Reply
  14. bc

    sagna koscielny vermaelen gibbs,
    looks great on paper, unfortunately on grass it has not quite worked. What worries me more is what the team looks like with injuries and suspensions.
    Jenkinson Mertesacker Djourou Santos
    and suddenly its looking a lot more shaky. Then get a repeat of last season with your 4 first choice full backs out or like the season before your 4 first choice centre backs and you can see we really need a bit more, imagine
    yennaris koscielny vermaelen coquelin or
    sagna squillaci miquel gibbs.

    Reply
  15. protus nyongesa

    u’ve a solid point there man, we need to fix our defense before the start of the season. M’VILLA to mie this guy will offer us a solution to that department. the other area is full backs, if we can get someone like Bains on the left and try someone like kyle walker to offer a backup to Sagna am sure ARSENAL wil b a real threat

    Reply
  16. Charlie

    We lacked Arteta. He covered for Song. Whenever he was missing Song tried to play the same game but nobody covered for him. I don’t like to criticise Ramsey because he’s had so much criticism and he does have his positives but he isn’t as responsible as Arteta and he needs to develop that part of his game.

    Reply
    1. Abel

      Cant agree more Charlie

      Reply
  17. WC

    TV and Gibbs/Santos need to learn when to go forward and when to stay put. When both our left sided CB and our LB bomb forward the entire left side of the field is open for a counter or a long ball. People might like to slag off Per but he knows that he’s a defender first and an attacker last. He might be “slow” but he rarely moves out of the backline which is the much better option for a defender than trying to become an option in the attack.

    That being said we really do need Arteta because since his tranfsfer he’s quelled his attacking instinct and has played the deep lying role which is akin to being a DM with a wide range of passes. The stats show we’re more solid defensively when he’s on the field and our passing rate is more accurate when he is allowed to influence the fluidity of our game.

    Reply
  18. Steve

    Arsenal have been trophless for the last 7yrs due to poor defending! Its not because we dont have a messi or a ronaldo in our team! Everyone said no arsenal player could get into the spurs team….if they have such a better team than ours,why did we score more goals than them? The day we learn how to defend,we will win a trophy. Buying expensive players will not help us win a trophy,learning to defend as a team is the key. Look at juventus,no world class players,just a group of guys who play their roles. Notice how clichy now looks more solid in defence?? city work very hard on their defensive tactics,we need to do the same!

    Reply
  19. bongs

    Yes Arsenal are the 2nd best passing football team jus behind Bàrca!!
    Well lets look at what makes us 2nd best instead of being best:
    1st our prob is that we dont hustle to get the ball back! How does bàrca enjoy such great position of the ball? Bcoz they HUSTLE for it!!
    2nd we definitely dont need the best defenders life has to offer. Even bàrca doesn’t boast that luxury, but they make up for it by playing as a team!!
    I’m not saying lets turn into bàrca- but well we & bàrca are birds of the same feather. Why not be BETTER than what they are?!!
    3rd our passing leaves less to be desired for. *dont need to lecture u on that* >sigh< can we simply turn the passing into fast-forward PLZ!!

    Reply

Leave a comment. Go on, you know you wanna...