Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Arsenal don’t like it up ’em; Arsenal are too nice; Arsenal need some more characters when it’s not going well.
I could go on but I get the feeling you’ve heard all of this before. Arséne Wenger’s teams in the recent past have been built on technique, fluidity and expressiveness with the ball at their feet. Mesut Özil is a perfect example of an Arséne player. The issue has rarely been about what Arsenal are like in possession but when the opposition has their turn to attack and cause Arsenal problems.
Arsenal ended the 2017/18 campaign with 51 goals conceded over the 38 games, a number which is considerably higher than the team above them. 24 goals more than champions Manchester City.
While the Arsenal defenders had many difficult moments throughout the campaign, it would be unfair to lay all the blame at their doorstep. I cannot count the number of times we witnessed a simple long ball over the Arsenal midfield that resulted in an opposition striker running one-on-one with an Arsenal defender, causing said defender to attempt a last-ditch tackle before the next long punt forward. Arsenal’s defensive issues are akin to a casino player. Jumping on the latest game at dreamzcasino.com, rolling the dice and hoping you come out on top.
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Wiih football, it’s a little different. The law of averages suggests that your defence is going to get it wrong from time to time resulting in a very good opposition chance on goal.
Granit Xhaka was often the only midfielder in the vicinity but defensive actions are not his strong suit even if he did improve in the latter half of the season.
Francis Coquelin, the only natural defensive midfielder was sold in January to Valencia while youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles was busy earning his stripes in the unfamiliar left back position.
New boss Unai Emery looks to be addressing the midfield issue by adding bite to his Arsenal squad. Firstly the imminent arrival of Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira looks to be a shrewd piece of business. The 22-year-old has been a revelation in midfield, impressing not only with his excellent technical qualities but more importantly for his ability to nick the ball away from attackers with his quick and aggressive style.
The aforementioned Ainsley Maitland-Niles has signed a new contract after positive discussions with new manager Unai Emery, and it appears to be clear that his future lies in midfield, even more so with the recent additions in defensive positions. Maitland-Niles’ game is based on aggression and speed, something he mentioned himself in an interview after his new contract.
With the manager likely to introduce a pressing style off the ball, the likes of Maitland-Niles and Torreira would fit in nicely along with the high energy Aaron Ramsey.
Finally Arsenal could look like a team that teams fear playing again and not just down to the quality on the ball but also the bite off the ball.