We hear about it every game! Not enough steal, weak on set pieces, defense isn’t good enough. While some of that may be true we also have to look at the tactics of our defense and what kind of goals are being scored against us.
Sagna has been our best defender by far this year with only 1 blemish on his resume after getting in a little tussle with Zabaleta of Manchester City was red carded. I don’t know how many times he’s saved the defense from disaster this year but the number would be quite high. Clichy has had an up and down season this year having to compete with Kieren Gibbs for the position. Clichy was questioned often and early by the Arsenal Fans putting in a few shaky performances. He reads the game very well though and anticipates passes even better. While many think he is at fault for many goals that have killed Arsenal this year, much of it is the Center Backs not doing their job which forces Clichy into a bad position.
Defensive Tactics – When the ball is on the wing, it is the job the right or left back to step to the ball and defend as well as they can. When a player has the ball from the 18 yard box in, it is the job of the Central defender to step to the ball while the outside back slides in to cover up any holes. Far too often we have seen Kocielney and Djourou hesitate in stepping to the ball which either creates a troublesome shot, or opens up runs because Clichy knows Kos or Djourou should be stepping to the ball but while he moves to the center nobody steps and a winger starts making a run. Therefore, if Djourou and Kos DON’T step Clichy HAS to follow the runner so he’s no longer in line with the rest of the defense….see the problem??? That may have been a little confusing, but I’ll tell you one thing, Vermaelen knows when to step!
While Djourou has had a breakthrough year, and Koscielny did quite well for his first year in English football we still have too many holes in the defense that needs to be taken care of. Personally I think we have the defender in the team already with Bartley, we won’t see him for at least another year. So we really need to buy someone to cover this hole and Squillaci isn’t it! Many have suggested we buy PSG defender Sakho, but he is left footed and plays left sided defense and we have Vermaelen for that. Others are saying Vertonghen because he has played with Vermaelen already. Vertonghen is left footed also and I don’t know what those guys do in Dutchland but he has a ridiculous left foot just like Vermaelen. He is a very good option for Arsenal as he is too footed and strong in defense and I would not be opposed to this signing. My favorite option though is German and Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker. He would solve our set piece problem and he has a lot of experience that could really be beneficial to the team.
There is a good chance of a new defender coming into the team and we’ll be praying that Squillaci doesn’t see many more games in an Arsenal shirt. I would be happy to see Song playing center back with Vermaelen for the last game which would give us the best chance to beat Fulham. We need this win to have a chance at Instant qualification for Champions League.