Defensive Shambles - Personnel vs System


Idea of this topic came from a post by @DavidHillier with whom I share this view on.

How much of our defensive shambles is really a personnel issue - and is it possible to fix this nightmare tacically without any re-enforcements?

Intrigued to hear what fellow Gooners have to say.

P.s. responses more elaborative than ‘sell Mustafi’ would be appreciated

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It’s both.



Definitely more player based than anything in my book but then again when you don’t have adequate cover you are always doomed to fail. We needed to bring in sok last summer but also move up whoever we have our eyes on as Koz’s replacement. If we have someone in mind to replace koz that is, but knowing us we probably have zero foresight because we suck.



Answer the question after properly reading it. Thanks

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In before Shammy responds with sell mustafi.



I’ll answer whatever I want however I want. Thanks.



Ah you suck



I’d go so far as to say Sol Campbell or Tony Adams would suffer as a defender in this system.

Such great defenders would still need a midfield link and this midfielder has to be pretty immense. The ability to get the ball from the defensive third to the opposition half in a matter of seconds (either with an incisive pass or by intelligent forward thinking running). Xhaka could have been that guy but he can’t even make a simple pass.




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With the amount of errors I see leading to goals conceded, personnel definitely is a factor.

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Well all - liderally all - of our conceded goals are from open play and it’s usually a case of more than one error compounded that leads to each goal. Some of the criticism is harsh but then we’re judging by league title challenging standards.

Many of our ‘team defending’ errors start in midfield or higher up the pitch so I’m loathe to always keep nailing Mustafi and his mates for it.

Some tactical errors have been extremely obvious in recent times, eg Kolasinac getting caught way too high and Xhaka or the left-sided midfielder in the diamond not being able to cover him. This seems to happen quite a lot

Mustafi loves to dive in and when it works it looks great but when it doesn’t it usually leads to a strong goalscoring opportunity for them, so that’s why I wish we had someone more rational and intelligent than him at the back



I’d like Arsenal to concentrate on developing a defence with the players we have. We played well against Chelsea and could have a real chance of keeping clean sheets on games but we look confused as to attack or defend. A simple rule is when we have the ball we attck, when they have the ball we defend. If we only work to that simple strategy the style will develop.

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It’s both but If I have to choose, It’s player based and not just defensive ones.

We have a poor attack which can’t reduce the strain on our poor defensive players leading to more mistakes.
Clubs like Barcelona, Bayern etc have so much attacking potency that opposition is always on back foot and hardly come through the match with more than 6-7 forays towards the opposite end.

We need an overall system of an effective attacking & defensive play from the front, which can only be built with superior players



Pretty spot on tbh. The composition in midfield has never felt right all season which ties into the fact formations have felt off too.

I thought we’d transition to resemble peak Emery Sevilla where two DM’s holding was the basis of both attacking and defensive transitions.

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I’d love to have superior players but we got no money to spend this season so we have to make do. If we could make our ground a fortress for our home games it would go a long way to giving confidents to the attacking players we have. It’s not perfect but let’s get a system in place and make sure we stick to it.

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Mentioned this in the other thread:

Lukaku, “We knew Arsenal would leave space when their full backs go forward. I think we could have scored two or three more goals to be honest.”

— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) 25 januari 2019

We can talk about personnel all day.

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Interesting. This is Emery’s tactic isn’t it?

Usually he’d like Xhaka to protect the CBs but Xhaka is bad at that and it’s on Emery for trusting him with that job tbh.

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really wouldn’t put much stock in this sort of bs banter… we all know we had massive issues in that game and the injuries cemented it. Xhaka at cb? Are you having a laugh?



Which is why the Per/Kos axis from a few years ago was a solid partnership. Kos was the frontfoot CB; aggressive in nature whereas Per was best placed as the reader and could usually intercept balls being played in behind us. Not the most elite pairing in the world however more functional than anything else.

All the CB’s we possess right now are all frontfooted or aggressive. We don’t have a Per in our ranks. Koscielny, Sokratis, Mustafi, Mavropanos and Holding.

I think we need to look for a different type of CB in the future. It definitely is a bit of both, personnel/system.

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It’s a combination of both, not sure what else I can add.