What is wrong with Arsenal’s defence?

Arsenal’s defensive system

You must admit that Arsenal have, arguably, one of the worst defensive systems in the English Premier League. As much as Arsenal fans like to think we may be close to solving the problem that we have had for so many years, we  are clearly still far off. With 49 League goals conceded last season, it’s clear to many that something surely isn’t right. But what is the problem? Is it tactics, formation, training or the defenders themselves? Or is it the fact that our best four defenders (for each position), only play, on average 12 games together in a season that holds on average 50+ games.

I am of course talking about our best back four of Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs. In my opinion that back four looks pretty solid apart from Gibbs, who is definitely on his way to being a top defender, IF he can stay match fit. The problem is that, apart from Koscielny, those players spent a large amount of time on the treatment table last season.

Our defence is currently Sagna and Jenkinson as Right Backs, Gibbs and Santos as Left Backs and then we have Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Djourou, Squillaci (soon to be sold)  Miquel and Bartley. Now honestly with those players, only four of them are starting quality ( Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny and Mertesacker.) Again only Koscielny made it through the entire season.

What does that tell you? For me that says that our defence isn’t good enough and conceding 49 league goals just goes to prove it. I’m not saying the players are bad, sure we could do better with backup defenders, but the starting defenders are actually pretty good players. The problem is, is that they can’t stay fit to play most of the season together.

Now, there’s not much you can do if your players just don’t stay fully fit for the most of the season. All you can do is prepare for them to get injured and  what I mean by that is, buy good back up defenders who can be of equal or slightly less quality of those starters. I personally think we should sign ONE versatile defender so we don’t have to buy lots of good defenders, for all of them just to sit on the bench or reserves. It’s also equally important that we don’t sell any more defenders after Squillaci (if we sell him at all), otherwise the defensive strain will become even harder.

I will follow this post with some ideas about which defenders could be useful acquisitions for Arsenal.