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How does the Arsenal shape up for the upcoming season?

1.30K   //    06 Jul 2013, 17:34 IST

Arsenal would be hoping for Steve Bould to transform the Arsenal defence into a cohesive unit, and improve their defensive record from last year.

The Arsenal defense has been the talk of many football fans for quiet a few seasons now. They have been continuously slaughtered by many writers and pundits alike but one can never completely disagree.

Arsenal conceded 37 goals in the previous season compared to 49 in the 2011-12 season. That does represent an improvement which is largely credited to Steve Bould.

Now taking a look at the defenders individually we cannot say that we have bad defenders at the club. What we can say is that we need them to be better. Let’s profile them individually:

Per Mertesacker

He is a tactical defender who needs a lot of help from players around him. On his own, he is good in the air and rarely loses composure. He is very reliable and hence has been the most used defender this season at Arsenal.

He does having difficulty dealing with direct runners who usually get the better of him with their searing pace. Next season, I expect him to be the mainstay of the Arsenal defence.

Thomas Vermaelen

The Verminator had a forgettable season. His mistakes cost Arsenal vital points and no Gooner can forgive him for error against Man Utd.

That being said, I am personally a huge fan of our captain. He is not a bad defender, just a very unlucky one. He does have the spirit in him to bounce back and convince Wenger why he deserves a place in the starting line up.

He is strong, fast and aggressive and had a handful of good games even though he eventually lost his place to Koscienly. I do believe he will have an amazing season and give Wenger selection problems.

Bacary Sagna

He was the most consistent full-back at the club for many seasons until a dip in form last season made many fans to ask for him to be replaced by Jenkinson. But he still remains our first choice right-back, and will continue that role well into next season.

Kieran Gibbs

Arsenal fans often pride themselves with the club’s Academy for producing players like Wilshere, Cole and yes, Gibbs.

He is very quick, tireless and definitely a first choice for Wenger. He does lack tactical nous while defending sometimes but he makes up for it with some inspiring attacking performances.

Nacho Monreal

He is currently behind Gibbs in the pecking order but he does make valuable contributions to the team. He lacks the flair and skill of Gibbs but he is very sound defensively and does a decent job for the team. It’ll be a very interesting match up between these two full-backs.

Carl Jenkinson

He is a Gooner and hence he is adored by the fans. He has potential to patrol the Arsenal defence for years to come. But at present, he will stay as second choice to Sagna .

Laurent Koscielny

He is the best overall defender at the club. Good in the air, committed, strong, fast are just some of his qualities. He did invite some ire from the fans for his recent comments about the club but that won’t stop him from being our best defender next season.

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