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Are we more defensively secure now?

Are we more defensively secure now?

Many supporters feel that we have carried a degree of defensive frailty for some time. The absence of a central defender that fits the oft quoted image of someone 'big and ugly` (for some reason it is always necessary to be ugly as well as big) to deal with high balls and the alleged incompatibility of Toure and Gallas are cited as causes for concern. These concerns have been heightened by the lack of a specialist defensive midfielder.

During the summer Wenger said that he needed to do something defensively and while it is far too early in the season to be saying too much he clearly thinks that we have improved. He tells the club`s website "We have defended very well. It has not been noticed yet but we`ve only conceded those two goals from two corners. In open play we are quite solid. That, for me, is a good response and a good explanation for the team attitude in the squad."

So far this season we have not conceded in open play. In nine competitive games we have conceded 2 goals from corners plus a questionable penalty against Kiev.

It is a curious fact that the best defensive records are held by those who attack the most hence our home record defensively was only bettered by ManU last season. Away from home we didn`t fare as well. Clearly the pattern of the games away from home are different but Wenger is keen not to forsake attack for defence if he can help it.

"What makes me happy at the moment is that we have a good combination of defensive balance and offensive efficiency," said Arsene. "Sometimes when you work on defending better you lose a number of goals.

"But at the moment we are combining the two and it means when everyone puts the effort in we still can be very dangerous going forward."

Arsene`s comments suggest that he has worked on defending better this season. It is too early to claim it has been a success and even though we haven`t conceded in open play there have been times when we have come mighty close to it. In any game the weakest opponents will still have opportunities but if we can maintain our current improvement then perhaps some of the defensive concerns many have will be allayed. At the same time Wenger will have proved that you can defend without big ugly central defenders or hard tackling ball winning midfielders and that good defending can indeed take more subtle forms.

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Date:Thursday September 25 2008
Time: 4:06PM


Good article. I saw that piece on the official site and what struck me was the phrase "defensive balance and offensive efficiency." For the first, I have my doubts -- however, for the second, what I've noticed lately is that we have become more efficient. Goodplaya coined the wonderful term "de-hlebbing" to describe what's been going on with the team, no more cutbacks, Theo playing more direct, etc. The midfield is a different animal and it's fascinating to watch.
25/09/2008 16:16:00
i stil cnt vouch for our current defensive partnership of gallas and kolo
25/09/2008 16:19:00
yea finish school i graduated in WengerStyles today now i can stay up all night to watch my beautiful soccer...ill miss that modern history teacher that think livo is good, but ill pay him a visit after after arsenal win the league and the champions league @ the end of the season...WengerStyles
25/09/2008 16:28:00
Although Gallas and Toure still scare me as a partnership sometimes, they are beginning to gel a bit. I also think Djourou and Song can both fill in admirably. The Gaffer is right, we don't NEED any more help defensively, though cover is always nice. I could see Silvestre fitting in well with Gallas at the back sometimes and using Toure in the DCM role.
25/09/2008 16:31:00
"de-hlebbing" love that one. I cant say we have been tested much anyways.
25/09/2008 16:33:00
BTgunner..take it from me, we are never going to see Toure in the DCM role.
25/09/2008 16:35:00
It still worries me when it comes to set plays. What's it going to be like when we play Stoke, and Rory Delap's throws? That game could be 5-4!
25/09/2008 16:47:00
The official site just put up an announcement that Clichy and Silvestre are available for Hull and that Song faces a fitness test for the game (he was injured in the CC). Check out this terrific article praising AW:,17033,8689_4189551,00.html . Also, check out this hilarious video, couldn't help but remind me of Arsene's dressing room (tho AW's approach isn't quite the same):
25/09/2008 16:50:00
Yeah love that "de-hlebbing" bit lol! I'm still not sure about our defence, reserve judgment until we face tough, attacking teams.
25/09/2008 16:50:00
There's no doubt ever since AW changed his mind about a centre back that he's had a plan and the more defensive play employed by Cesc seems to hint at that. However, as much as we deride it with our sparkling brand of football, teams still like to play high balls and we don't have a defender who can cope with it. It is incredibly significant that the goals conceded have been from corners, the penalty in Kyiv came as a result of an aerial ball. Teams know where our weaknesses are and they are targetting them effectively.
Little Dutch
25/09/2008 16:50:00
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