Sunday, April 21, 2024

Adams still worries about Arsenal defence

Despite Arsenal only conceding one goal so far this season, Tony Adams thinks Arsene Wenger still has work to do on his defence if the Gunners are to start winning silverware again.

There’s no doubt that our former captain is well positioned to recognise the importance of building a side on solid foundations. In 1991, under George Graham’s guidance, he was part of a defence that conceded only 18 goals on the way to the title, while under Wenger in 1999 the famous back four/five was only breached 17 times.

Identifying a shift away from a more conservative style – hardly difficult seeing as we let in 49 goals in the Premier League last term – Adams hinted that even after chatting with Arsene Wenger he was unconvinced by the Frenchman’s willingness to change his emphasis on the attack.

“They don’t defend as a team now,” Adams told the Evening Standard ahead of this evening’s Champions League game with Montpellier.

“The problem for me in the last seven years is the defensive vulnerabilities as a team — the goalkeeper, the back four, even the central midfield players, the mentality of the team. I don’t think they are a team that are set up to do what Chelsea did last year in the Champions League and I don’t think Arsene wants to.

“I don’t want to put these current players down because they are fantastic. But we used to train constantly with [manager] George [Graham]. We worked at it. We went out there and did it every minute, morning and afternoon. It used to drive us insane but on a Saturday you would know it inside out.

“Year in, year out the team with the best defence win the league and we saw the team with the best defence win the Champions League, so it makes you wonder why a lot of teams aren’t focusing more on defending.

“It’s a European thing. I have said it to Arsene  — ‘your full-backs are playing like wingers’. Teams were exploiting it at the Emirates and it was a massive flaw. Arsene would say, ‘I know’. I think he recognises that’s a problem. Whether he does anything about it . . .”

In fairness to Tony – a man who the boss labelled ‘a doctor of defence’ when he arrived at the club – watching the current crop concede sloppy goals must be like a dagger to the heart. That he speaks with such passion on the matter is a sure fire sign he is not mischief making, but just eager for his (they will always be his) side to get back to winning ways.

There’s little doubt that he will take encouragement from Steve Bould’s influence in recent months. That being said, while Wenger is cautiously optimistic about the influence of Adams’ former teammate, the boss has also made clear that the decision not to return to a ‘shut up shop’ philosophy will consequently see goals conceded.

“He’s doing his job very well. I believe it’s a bit early to speak about our defensive record, because we’ve played only four games,” Wenger told earlier this week.

“Don’t forget that the basis of our team is a very offensive philosophy. So sometimes, if we concede goals in the future, it will not be Steve Bould’s fault. It will only be a consequence of the way we see football.”

A balance certainly needs to be found. Finding it though is easier said then done.

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Koscielny to the rescue again

Please shut your gob Mr. Arsenal.

big black clock

Words can’t explain how frustrated I am to see if you’re being sarcastic or not.

If you’re serious, then I just wanna say if Tony Adams himself can’t express his opinion about the club, then nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can.


He’s so negative all of the time, and it comes across as really bitter. Sure he can say what he wants, but his comments are never necessary or helpful.


I think he was going with the hype that Is of the arsenal defence right now much so that he forgot who the fuck tony fucking adams is


His name doesn’t mean he can talk bitter rubbish and still maintain the level of respect he had as a player. EVERYBODY knows how great a player he was, but, as is so often the case with footballers, unfortunately he’s not actually such a bright guy. He can say what he wants, but I don’t think his comments are worth much.


In this media-driven world, why can’t intelligent people (like Tony Adams) realise that their comments will be taken in the wrong context almost all of the time… not all viewers will be fortunate enough to read arseblog who justifies each and every comment into what the real meaning might be…

Cygan's Left Foot

Davi, I don’t think you ever seeing Mr Arsenal play for us. After 19 years of distinguished service to the club he is allowed to say whatever he wants. Can you blame a man that BLEEDS Arsenal being “Negative” after we have not WON any thing for 7 YEARS???. He sees once a great club becoming a FEEDER CLUB and you want him to keep his mouth shut????. I hope you won’t tell me Arsene The French, Stan The Yank and Ivan The Nobody care, gets hurt when The Arsenal lose and support The Arsenal more than Mr Arsenal!!!. Those… Read more »


Couldn’t wait to climb out of your cage, I see, CLF. Must be hard after those recent successes.


See that’s just the sort of gobby witless comment that some so willingly post on here. He won TEN major honours with Arsenal. His statue is outside the Emirates. His back is on the face of the stadium and he’s done more for the Club than everyone that posts on here will ever do, in their lives. If you read the full interview he still bleeds red and white. And if we had his spirit and attitude these last 7 years we would not have been ‘trophless’ in that time. Hopefully with his pal Bouldy at the helm we can… Read more »


My problem with his comments are that they are entirely defeatist, with no real view on how the team has changed it shape this season and that we are actually defending as a team. I agree we are only a few games in but a bit of credit even for his old pal Bouldy could have been nice. I think he is a legend and will always be, but no need for some of his perpetual negativity really….

Koscielny to the rescue again

I’m no disputing that hence the use of his proper title. But criticism just for the sake of criticism is really pointless and serves nothing. Are there problems at Arsenal? Of course, but if one is not even willing to go the route of Steve Bould for instance and work from within the club then what is he constantly banging on about?
It get’s tiring, all the negativity…


If he expressed concerns about our defence previous to the very recent improvement, he’d hardly be alone, would he? His criticisms aren’t out of nowhere, nor are they rabid or unconstructive. I do wish people would be more open to opinions they may not agree with. There is a tendency for people to shoot down any criticism, no matter how mild or how valid, and I think that’s something that’s got to stop. You can support the club fully yet be critical. Obviously when somebody comes along winding people up and being stupid or trollish then a backlash is merited… Read more »


Damn response on the wrong comment, above is what I said, but anywho … come on the arsenal

Dean '67

Forget his opinions, I think he’s a sour little man. Bould got the job, his arse wasn’t at all considered. Bound to say one or two harsh things now or then. But he did say it now when we have had a fucking amazing start, do the math there blogs, he’s counting on our defence in the future to collapse and them arise with an “i told you so”.

So Mr. Arsenal, trying alittle positivity perhaps?

Agent 419 ITK

You kniw what Bloggs, I was thinking about this earlier today (I have a lot of time on my hands)

The blog, its tone, balanced opinion, humour ..everything is mostly great and I appreciate it. But even if the community is ok, i find it really frustrating that normal, non-trolling commenters who have different views get treated with such negativity. I think it’s a bit of a reaction to what they see on le grove, but it is an overreaction IMHO.

I just wish more people read your post and just keep an open mind.


@Dean – I think you are right. Remember when he was criticising the Vermaelen signing? Went a bit quiet on that one, didn’t he.


419, that’s my point entirely.

The comment voting system is more so the community, the people who use this site every day, can self-moderate and rid articles of comments which are trolling or to wind people up. I think, perhaps, it’s something I should have made clear myself when I introduced it. Now it’s being used to show whether or not you agree with something.

And well written, genuine opinions on the club get down-voted too often just because they’re not happy-clappy.

Finding the balance is very difficult though and once again I’m considering the removal of the voting system.

Dr Baptiste

To be fair though, most of those daily users that use the up/down system do so while also adding a reason for their disagreement. I always open up comments that have been down-voted anyway, so I don’t actually miss the opinions.

While there are ‘happy-clappy’ users that down vote everything and the comments reflect this, the same can be said for the ‘doom-mongers’ that frequent this blog and only post 100% negative comments and shoot down anyone that disagrees and is more positive.

Agent 419 ITK

Maybe instead of a thumbs up / down we can see a “report post” option.
If enough people use it, then the post is hidden. The hope being that :
1-people will only flag trolling comments, and not a difference of opinion.
2- your help won’t be called upon often, as it will still be the community that will hide inappropriate posts.

Or maybe just putting a reminder after every story, or next to the commenting box, kindly inviting people to enjoy a healthy debate and intelligent discourse.

Finsbury Park Gooner

Have a vote on the voting system. I for one am a big fan.


Meh. If you don’t like what’s on the Telly, change the channel. We don’t need some strange cyber-football-blog democracy. If I think a poster is full of shit, I generally don’t read there posts in the future. (I.e. Cygans left foot).

We need a modification of the “no edit button” rule in my not so humble opinion. A lot of the time I come out sounding a lot stupider than I really am.

My name is CAZORLA

Frog, bang on. I personally scroll through to posters I think have valid and well expressed opinions, positive or negative. Cygans Left Foot is a racist, one trick pony poster, and while I respect his right to post shit, I feel no compulsion to read it or get riled by it if I do.


Part of the problem with greats like Tony is that the world and the game has evolved a lot since he used to play. Comparing how he did it to how it is done now is a little like comparing apples and oranges.
Watch classic games from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s to see how much things have changed – it is far more than just the tight shorts.
The question is, if you took Tony’s title winning team that only conceded 17 goals and put the up against todays Barcelona, how would they fare?

Hudson Hornet

Feeder club?

Tell us something we don’t know., Tony.


Adam has a point though. Thus far we have only played 5 games in total, its too soon to judge whether our defence is capable of containing attacking threats much more potent than those of Sunderland, Stoke, Liverpool (out of form), Southampton and Montpellier (out of form). You don’t just become an immovable object over night; especially with the last few years where the focus has been on attack. This is where Adam’s criticism makes sense. The team is defending well but it could still be better of course and the team should strive for that. I doubt he is… Read more »




What exactly did Adams say wrong?? Our defending over the last few years has been nothing short of a disaster. Remember the absolutely countless times we let 2 goal lead slip away?? Our defense has improved a bit. But yesterday’s performance was a little worrying. We were fortunate that MP’s finishing was just rubbish. Diaby doing fancy tricks inside our own box? And the worst thing is that minutes after that he does a really stupid backheel just outside the penalty box. We will find out how much our defense has improved over the next 2 weeks.


I think opinions should wait till at least January. One thing for sure is that I don’t want to see us play like Chelsea did in last season’s CL although their defence was breached endlessly even with the parked bus. A balance would be great though.

arsene's bottle of water

exactly, I don’t wanna compare with Chelski last season in terms of defense. Especially because their football was bloody turgid and mind numbing to watch.
Their display against Barcelona and Munich was due to Bus Parking tactics, the Italian/Di Matteo catenaccio philosophy, or in yet another way of saying it, to put it bluntly: the coward’s approach to playing football.

I want Arsenal to play the way we’ve been witnessing so far this season. We’re getting closer to the balance. The team still focuses on attacking, but only this time they’re not kamikaze while doing it.


He should worry about his ball sack getting, you know……. So looooong.


Lol fag


hahah proper.


He said a few harsh things in a certain media outlet. I am going to believe, because I cheered for him, that he means well. But when The Arsenal are called a feeder club, and that too by club legend it pisses me off.


Stop worrying to much mr. Arsenal it brings grey hairs and we dont like too many of those now do we? Just ask rvp.


Interesting from Adams. No doubt that defence was legendary. But I can remember sitting through some seriously dull games back in the day. “we used to train constantly with [manager] George [Graham]. We worked at it. We went out there and did it every minute, morning and afternoon” – fair enough. That was a side built primarily on defensive solidarity, and so often we had to rely on Ian Wright sneaking a late goal for a cheeky 1-0 to the Arsenal. Football has changed. When we’re on our game, we play fantastic football. Full-backs do attack nowadays, that’s just the… Read more »


“If you put one of George Graham’s teams straight into the PL now, I think they’d struggle.”

The team that won the title in 1991 losing only one game all season would still match up to anyone in the current EPL. And I mean anyone – City, Utd or Chelsea.


Yeah, played lovely attacking football too


So would the invincibles, so what’s your point?

Chelsea fc

Lovely attacking football?

What in blazes is that?


Fair point mate 🙂


(‘fair point’ was meant in reply to Rob67 “The team that won the title in 1991 losing only one game all season would still match up to anyone in the current EPL”)

Cygan's Anal Beads

You’re so stuck in your generation mate! In my day it was better! No whey!



I don’t like whey protein either…


I seem to recall that certain Mr Wenger guiding us to the trophy in an unbeaten season with exciting attacking football in the modern game. A style similar to the fabled best sides of todays world such as I don’t know.. Spain.. barca? Hell, we even have that type of player already pulling the strings in midfield. two in fact, except one in a uniquely developed role. The season has just begun and our defense have improved immensely. Lets leave it until January.. and then the summer. I believe this is a team that can win a trophy this season… Read more »

A visitor

Adams criticised the current arsenal players for being “unprofessional-” which seems a bit rich from a man who played when drunk. A great hero as a player , a great example as a man who cleaned himself up and admitted his failings. But a shit manager and one reason is because he doesn’t know when to keep his gob shut.


It seems that this is already being rectified this season. You don’t see Mertesacker or Vermaelen (ESPECIALLY Vermaelen) up top this season, and you’ve got Arteta hanging back and we don’t have Santos on the pitch at all. (Gibbs/Jenkinson may be playing a bit too high?)

Thanks, Bould.


Vermaelen made two classic buccaneering runs in the Liverpool game that I remember and on Saturday he was instrumental in the final goal. As for Gibbs – he’s basically decided he’s a wingback now.

So basically: What are you talking about, Willis?

Smash Arsenal GH

I love Mr Arsenal (Tony Adams) he speaks his mind. but dont worry too much Tony this our season to SHINE.

Cygan's Anal Beads

It says so much about this man’s stock that he can make simpleton comments like these and remain a legend forever. Old Adams … he wasn’t blessed with brains or management skills but he sure could defend.


And he could down a pint in 4 seconds.


Let’s all do ‘the Merson’,
Let’s all do ‘the Merson’,

Le sausage

He is a legend and always will be…fair enough for him to voice his opinion but hopefully he will be pleasantly surprised. In the Bould Wenger we trust!

big black clock

I understand people disagree with his comments about changing the way we play, but that’s Adams you know. His vision of football is defend, defend, defend. He probably cries while hugging his Goonersaurus plush doll whenever we concede a goal.

Adams means well for our club, and nobody loves our club more than he does. So really, shut up and respect our greatest ever legend.


Out of interest, how do you know nobody loves our club more than he does?

big black clock

Playing for us for about 20 years, captaining us for 14 years and amassing 500+ appearances would be a start.

big black clock



When you read the whole interview in evening standard he seems bitter! Concetrating on the negative ahead of the Montpellier game, not even recognizing the influence of Bould (his former team mate) on our defence! Tony is a bitter soul!

In the same interview he calls us a feeder club, he says he won’t return to Arsenal while Arsene(the seller) of the star players is still there! I believe he expected to get the STEVE BOULD job this season


Spot on mate, he is obviously unhappy he wasn’t given Bould’s job.


He was in the running for a while


Re “We’re a feeder club”: Faaahkin ell… If it were up to him we’d still be at Highbury dealing with Liverpool-type problems: Paying £89m for donkeys just so we can be 17th, while teams that invest carefully AND have the money to back it up dick us over every season. I think it says a lot that he claims to have trained really hard to be the best and pissed it up the wall every evening down the pub – shows he has no long term view at all. Wenger knows Arsenal don’t have the funds to compete fully with… Read more »


“he claims to have trained really hard to be the best and pissed it up the wall every evening down the pub – shows he has no long term view at all”

Bit harsh fella, the guy was struggling with alcoholism. Whatever his views on football and the current Arsenal crop, the way he turned his life around is phenomenal and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Neither should this 🙂 An Alex Song through ball from Steve Bould, an RvP finish from Tone!!


Yeah, sure he was a fantastic player. Now boys, prove him wrong. It’s time.


Surely a bit of the TA interview is missing, namely:

“In fact, I´m so knowledgable about Arsenal´s defence, I wrote a poem about it:

This Arsenal doesn´t defend like a team,
But George´s did like a dream.
In League or in Cup,
Our arms would go up,
“Offside” at the linesman we´d scream…”


Now that’s a REAL Arsenal legend. Children take note


Sign him too, so he works with Bould!


Arsenal did not always have such a perfect defense under George Graham and Big Tone. In 92/93 for example (Donkey won the derby, what a crazy season!!) we conceded 38 goals in the league. In 94/95 (the year GG left of course) we conceded 49 in the league!!! 46 in 91/92. There is a perception that we were always so tight in defense and it simply was not the case.


I’ve heard of people who used to love turning into killers of those they supposedly love. This is what we have here. Like most who made the comments above, I was annoyed and saddened at the same time by Adams’s comments. How do you pick a time when the Arsenal faithful are starting to feel a whiff of hope to try and bring them down? This kind of cynicism is frightening. There I was was, rerunning pictures of Cazorla, Podolski and Gervinho in full flight. Am I now supposed to picture my club imploding just because Adams says so? No… Read more »

Master Bates

Good defence is awesome , just don’t park it , please don’t compare us to Chelsea Mr. Arsenal .It’s not that they had the best defence last season , they just didn’t bother to attack


I prefer the attacking football. The aim of the game is to win, not to not lose. The things is whether you are attacking or defending. You are not always guaranteed to not lose or win. There will always be gaps in a team, which the other can create, it’s the beauty of the game.


Tony is more than welcome to his opinion, i’m sure that Arsene agrees with some of it and disagrees with some of it, especially regarding the full backs playing as wingers. I should think Arsene wants to provide that width from the full backs and not from the wingers. I’d like to know what Tony would prefer us to do as opposed to pushing the full backs wide? Does he want us to stay as a back four the whole time? Why do we need to stay as a four when quite often the defenders are playing against one striker?… Read more »


Think theres a bit of an overreaction over his comments just because its not overwhelming praise. He’s got a point too, cast your mind beyond the last 4 matches and we conceded a huge 49 goals, and for the past few seasons our goals conceded has increased year on year. I do think we’re improving, and it has been an extremely positive start, but its too early to tell whether we’ve made a dramatic change this season, especially since most people agree it’ll be a steady process. Would’ve been nice to see some support for Bould though.

meh moody gooner

bad timing tony! its champions league eve ffs. yes he is entitled to his opinion but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
ps: lets win tonight!


TA 6 can say what the fuck he likes about his team, after 19 years and numerous titles he has earned the right.
Can’t believe some people would simply slag him off for daring to have an opinion.
Save the expletives like cunt etc for those that deserve it. Not arsenals greatest player. Witless idiots.

Bacary's right leg

I dont think the problem is much of what he said because yeah of course he can say what he wants the man is a legend after all.. but his timing is all wrong and that you cant deny. Its like why now have these things come out, also if you read the hole interview he does sound a little bitter but calling him a cunt is way of the mark for a man who deserves the utmost respect from the gooner faithful.

Bacary's right leg



I thought Arsene’s response of ‘I know’ was quite funny.


Yes, so much like Arsene, he always has something gentle to say. Almost sounded like: “There’s a good boy, now go get an icecream, here’s twopence son”

Eric Irish gunner

Arsenal to win 1-0 OG to get his first goal, come on the gunners


Tony Adams is our standard bearer. A heroic captain and probably the only captain, of any sport, anywhere in the world, to admit to wetting the bed on a regular basis. That is why he is our standard bearer.

Midfield Corporal

The non sugar coated straight talking of Tony Adams is what we have needed for many years. He didn’t worry about critiscing Dennis Bergkamp because he was happy to be proved wrong if it meant The Arsenal profited from it. I’d have loved to see what he would have said to Gallas or Arshavin, one thing I know is he’d have told them to man up and do your job for the club that pays your wage. I recommend every Gooner downloads Tonys desert island discs, a thoroughly interesting insight into a great great man. I once saw him having… Read more »


Well Gibbs playing as a Winger-ish player got us two goals on Saturday, so boo fucking hoo, part of the reason we love arsenal is that almost suicidal attacking play.


Lads it’s half time. What you think of the performance so far ?


I understand Tonys comments about arsenal to a certain extent and its true chelski’s defensive play won them the champions league last year! however the cl is a cup competition and therefore has a degree of luck to it.Chelski could have played barca 100 times and only won once. Arsene would also be quick to point out that quality attacking play has won barca/spain consistently everything there is to win throughout the last 4 seasons.

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I’ve always had my respect for Tony, but when he came up with that “Feeder Club” shit, I got pissed!
And what’s all these bull about him loving the Club more than anybody?
I believe if you’re a true Legend as we take you to be, you should have watched what you say to the media. Don’t let’s get carried away, the Press love publishing negativity about Arsenal.
I believe he should have known better!

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