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- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
- Team News: Arsene Wenger offers update on Ramsey & Giroud
- Arsenal boss confirms defender could leave in January
- 4-2-3-1 v Boro: Iwobi & Cazorla out? My Arsenal starting XI
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury concern + Sanchez update
Revealed: The Reason For Arsenal’s Shambolic Defence
As we continue to dissect the painful defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, some interesting news has come to light that may explain the inexplicable defending that was on show on Sunday (and several on other occasions this season).
If we go back to August, you may recall that our defence began the season looking rock solid. In fact, we kept three consecutive clean sheets and only conceded two goals in our first five Premier League games. It was like we were under George Graham in the early 90′s again!
Fast-forward 6 months and the defence is barely recognisable to the one that kept out Stoke, Sunderland and Liverpool during the first three games of the season. While we may only have conceded 32 league goals – just one more than run-away league leaders Man Utd – these figures don’t quite tell the whole story.
Our defence has been embarrassing at times in recent months and the biggest worry is the number of basic individual mistakes. Sunday’s game typified this with Monreal, Mertesacker and Vermaelen all making schoolboy errors for the two goals.
While many fans, myself included at times, blame the players for not being good enough or blame the lack of protection from midfield, BBC journalist David Ornstein suggested another theory for the demise of our defence.
Ornstein was speaking on Radio 5 Live on Monday night when he claimed that our impressive start was largely down to Steve Bould running defensive drills during training sessions when he worked on positional play, marking and all the other stuff that goes into having a well oiled defensive unit.
However, he also claimed that boss Arsene Wenger put a stop to Bould’s sessions after only a few games of the season, choosing to return to his more traditional methods involving ball-work and passing, and the defence has been on a slow decline ever since.
I seem to recall rumours suggesting something similar to this back in early December when reports claimed Bould had fallen out with Wenger over not being given enough time to work with the defence.
If true, it does go a long way to explaining not only our excellent early season form at the back but also why we look such a shambles now. The boss is known for being a control freak and not wanting to relinquish control and it’s been suggested this was one of the reasons he stopped Bould’s defensive training sessions. Which is quite remarkable if true and Arsene needs to seriously have a look at himself if he can’t do whats best for the team because of his own ego.
Personally, I don’t think the players are the major problem here. Whatever we think of him, Per Mertesacker has won nearly 100 caps for Germany. He’s NOT a bad defender. He’s either being played in a system that’s unsuited to him, being badly coached, or both. Thomas Vermaelen was superb when he first joined the club but he now looks a shadow of that player. He looks like he’s never played centre-back in his life at times. But again, he IS NOT a bad defender, he’s just completely lost his way due to poor coaching and poor team set up around him.
For this, we have to look at Arsene Wenger and ask why he doesn’t pay more attention to the defensive side of the game. Answers on a postcard please….
Do you believe Wenger stopped Bould’s defensive training sessions? Is this why our defence is so bad?