Arsenal’s Defence

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
May 5th, 2003 • 6:16 pm

Pete Gill’s opinion article at pretty much sums up my feelings about this season and Arsenal’s failure to keep their title. They have tons of attacking talent, and that’s probably one of the prime reasons why we like them so much — but the defence is just not strong enough. Sol Campbell is great, but you cannot rest your entire defence on the shoulders of one outstanding player. Ashley Cole is good, but only because he’s got great skills as an attacking defence player. from a purely defensive point of view, he’s not as strong as Campbell, and — well, he complains to the referees a bit too much :-). Viera is a great defensive mid-fielder, but, again, you cannot put the entire weight of defensive duties for the mid-field on the shoulders of a single player.

Granted, Manchester United’s own defence hasn’t looked so impressive either this year. They effectively won the title thanks to the physical presence and finishing talents of Ruud Van Nistelroy, period. Take him away from the team, and the rest look pretty average. (Yes, including Beckham and Scholes.)

Arsenal doesn’t have a Ruud Van Nistelroy on their team, someone who never misses a penalty and who is the ultimate poacher. So they have to come up with great goals instead and — well, this just doesn’t produce enough goals if the opposing team refuses to play, as many teams did this season against Arsenal.

On the other hand, blaming Arsene Wenger for arrogance and a lack of humility doesn’t sound very convincing. Alex Ferguson is just as bad, albeit in a different style. His accusations of rigging against the UEFA were just totally inappropriate and shameful. It all seems to be part of these “mind games” that the managers of top teams are led to play because of constant media scrutiny.

All we need now (well, once the FA Cup is over), is a good couple of months of complete silence and rebuilding, including serious steps taken to strengthen the Arsenal defence. Then we’ll see what happens next season.

One Response to “Arsenal’s Defence”

  1. Charles says:


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