George Graham reckons that Tottenham have the best defence in the Premier League, although he claims that there aren’t many teams that are good at defending these days.
It was during Graham’s reign at Arsenal that the Gunners were labeled ‘boring’. However, despite not playing the most attractive football under the Scotsman, we conceded very little. We knew how to defend, unlike most clubs nowadays, the ex-coach claims.
“I was great at organising the defence and my ideal team was Milan,” he told the Guardian. “They were the best defensive team I’ve seen – and the only side that played offside better than us.
“The trouble is we have very poor defences now. There are few clubs in England that are good going forward in possession and good at defending. But I like Tottenham. They’ve got the best defence in the league. And I really rate [Mauricio] Pochettino. He’s quality and I like the way he goes about his business. He doesn’t go over the top because the club is more important than him. I love their intensity at Tottenham.”
During the 1992/93 season, when the Gunners went 12 consecutive games with neither side scoring or conceding more than one goal, Arsenal let in just 38 goals in 42 games despite only winning 15 and coming in 10th. In fact, the only team that conceded fewer goals that term were Manchester United (31) and they won the title.
Therefore, Graham probably knows what he’s taking about when he says most teams can’t defend anymore.
Graham was also in charge of Spurs from 1998 – 2001, so him praising their current team isn’t really surprising considering Arsenal aren’t exactly giving him much to compliment at the moment.
Since Arsene Wenger took over, far more emphasis was put on Arsenal’s attacking style of play and while some of our defence from the George Graham era stayed on and were therefore reasonably solid in the early years, as time’s gone on, we’ve become weaker and weaker at the back.