At the start of this season, the thing that most Arsenal fans were talking about, other than money grabbing Dutchmen, was the new and improved defence. The appointment of the former Arsenal defensive rock of Steve Bould was hailed as a move of genius and had reformed the usually somewhat shaky Gunners back line into an immovable object.
At the minute, however, it all seems a long way away, as Arsenal have kept just one clean sheet since beating Liverpool 2-0 at the start of September. The failure of QPR to score last weekend was not so much the result of great defending as of last minute blocks, luck and poor finishing.
Arsene Wenger knows that the Gunners need to get back to the early season form, and he knows that the players are capable of it. He stopped short of having a go at the defenders by claiming that the attacking players in the Premier league have got better and so it is harder to stop other teams scoring, but you can bet that he and Steve Bould are doing everything they can to get the defence working well again.
“When you are 4-0 down in 37 minutes, you can’t say all is well on that front.
“You have to give credit, as well, to the offensive quality in the Premier league, and to the offensive quality of Reading the other night. It is not always about your weaknesses, it is about strengths as well.
“It is not only down to work, we worked last year as well. People forget that last year we were the team with the least shots against us in the league.”
Just like strikers, defenders need confidence and that comes from clean sheets and good performances. With individual errors creeping in, Arsenal’s defence has lost it’s confidence but can soon get it back with a good display tomorrow against Manchester United.