Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wenger regrets missing out on defender, calls for defensive focus

Arsene Wenger says he’s pleased with his transfer business in January but admits he didn’t get everything that he wanted.

It was confirmed yesterday by West Bromwich Albion that Arsenal failed with a late bid for Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans as the Gunners looked to reinforce their leaky defence

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Everton, Wenger admitted that he is concerned about the number of goals being conceded and that his squad will have to solve the situation by focusing more on the pitch.

“Yes [I regret missing out on a defender], because our defensive numbers are not good enough,” said Wenger.

“That’s where we needed some possible strengthening because we have to improve our defensive numbers.

“If we want to go in the top four we have to improve our offensive and defensive numbers.”

He added: “I believe we have to find an internal solution to our defensive problems. That’s everybody putting more effort in.

“Overall, I’m happy with the way things went in the transfer market.

“[Did I get] Everything? No. But what I wanted to do, we have done. I couldn’t do everything, I wanted to do more.”

Arsenal have shipped 34 goals this season; the same number as bottom club West Brom. Wenger knows that if his side are going to close down an eight point gap on the Champions League places, his side can’t afford to take their eye off the ball as they did in Tuesday’s night’s 3-1 defeat at Swansea.

“It’s not a lack of effort [from the players], it’s a lack of focus in vital moments of the game,” he noted.

“I feel that sometimes we do it well and sometimes not. It’s always difficult. For example, at Swansea we had 75 per cent possession, you always think to attack, to attack and you forget to defend when you lose the ball.

You’re so much obsessed by wanting to win the game that you forget sometimes the balance.

The league is divided in two now [between teams with] 30 per cent possession of the ball and 70 per cent possession of the bal. There’s two kind of teams, it’s a 70: 30 league now.

“The 70 teams doesn’t always win, they lose many games as well against the 30 teams.”

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Let’s get Manolas in the summer instead, Evans would not fix our defense anyway



Makes no sense. The squad has 6 CBs (Kos, Mustafi, Chambers, Holding, Per, Mavro) in the first team. If 4 at the back is the preferred strategy then this is far far too many. If 3 at the back is the preferred strategy then add Monreal as an added option and we still have a lot of numbers. What we dont have is numbers at wingback. There is no backup for Bellerin and the manager seems to have decided that Kolasinac cant play in a back 4. We also dont have any proper defensive midfielders (except maybe Elneny). We also… Read more »


At RB we have Bellerin, Maitland-Niles and Chambers. At LB we have Monreal and Kolasinac, though I’d agree on getting in a LB if Wenger things Kolasinac is not cutting it. Per is retiring, Mavro isn’t ready yet, Kos seems like he doesn’t have much left in the tank. Chambers and Holding are decent, promising defenders, but I think a proven CB who can organize the defense is an absolute necessity in the summer, along with top class GK and DM additions.

Oblak – Manolas – Diawara would be the dream.


‘We need to put more effort in’ but ‘It’s not a lack of effort [from the players]’.


We need a good/great CDM, can’t believe we weren’t trying to find one and another good CB wouldn’t harm.


Alex Song’s available….phahahaha 😐


At this point I’d even take song, in case of msjor injuries. Also can he be any worse thsn xhaks at the moment. I hope he sorts himself out because with more focus and confidence he could be a good player. Also needs to desperately work on his dribbling


I actually think Song was better for us than Xhaka has been so far (which isn’t saying much really!). They have the same major faults of carelessness, drops in concentration and so on, but at least Song was more athletic and a better defender.


He also had a long pass he actually used, put RVP through on goal many times from 30-40yards out of nowhere, xhaka gives us nothing.

Pace NO
Defensive positioning NO
Creativity NO
Tackling NO
Set Pieces NO
Fight NO

Just a guy who lets midfielders run off him. Complete lack of effort unless his eyes are also a NO


Xhaka hasn’t delivered. Yet. Neither has Kolašinac, Mustafi or Lacazette. The days when Arsene used to unearth treasure are long gone. Get the man a new metal detector.


Let’s be fair mustafi has, 25 games unbeaten with him and then quite a few motm performances.

Yes he can be total dog shot at times but he is only 24/5

Jay Song

I am sure they know that we are light in CB and CDM. We need to sort it out proper in the summer. If possible GK as well. Come on Mislintat


Interesting observation about how the game as a whole is unfolding. Even with big payouts from TV money for each and every club, allowing even traditional lower teams to purchase well established internationals over champions league teams. Guess it shows how much money is skewing the game and the split in wages isn’t in parallel to the 70\30 split. Think this highlights the effect of commission demands, deregulation of agents and the fact that most clubs have to wait until the very top clubs have finished their business. Each window is the same, wait for PSG, Barca, Madrid to make… Read more »


The danger we face now is that City is getting close to joining their ranks under Pep. This summer we really need to go hard after rebuilding the squad (and new manager IMO) as another year or two of this will leave us in a very precarious position. The TV money really has been a huge blessing (that’s how we can make Ozil the 2nd highest paid player in the PL) but a real curse as well in that fees have blown out and Wenger really seems to have had sticker shock the past few years. When Wenger was still… Read more »

David Hillier\'s luggage

With regards to the TV money, I actually think it’s the other way round. The league’s cost control measures mean we can’t go more than £7m over our total wage bill unless the money is coming form non TV deals (commercial revenue, ticket sales etc all of which is pretty stagnant at the mo). The TV cash means we can pay that bit extra in transfer fees for Aubameyang, however his wages are in effect the result of selling Walcott and Coq.


The popularity of the league has meant that commercial revenues have been rising as well (add in that Man city has what was initially a very off market deal for the shirt and stadium which now looks about fair in the current environment. Just to put this in perspective – Juventus wage bill for 2017/18 (PL will have gone up since this was put out) is roughly 130m pounds, which would make them the 5th or 6th highest wage in the PL. Bayern has a wage bill of roughly 158m pounds – which puts them well below city, Chelsea, united,… Read more »


Agree on the new manager at the end of this season, and i do think there is one in the offing. I’m not going to mention who, but i think AW already knows(has been told) he has to relinquish his position. This became apparent to me in that one interview, i have never seen him so dejected in an interview before, even when we have lost.

Northern Gooner

Apologies if i’m getting the wrong end of the stick here, but i fail to see how the likes of PSG, Barca or R Madrid have affected our transfer activity. We have no player who might be of interest to them nor are we interesting enough for any of their players. The likes of Sevilla, Atletico de Madrid, Leicester have shown that you can achieve big things with a “limited” budget. Good scouting is crucial to that, as well as a good team structure, I think we are found wanting on both. As long as we keep blaming this, that… Read more »

Eric Blair

You can add Dortmund to that second list and we’ve now nabbed their head scout, so you could argue things have changed.


well you,ve only got yourself to blame , no one else


So what about the gazidis, the mislintats and the fahmis.. they dont share the blame? Not everything is black and white

Danger Mouse

Ronaldo- you sound like my mother.


Do players “lose focus” because they’re not playing for the manager anymore? Are they not coached properly?…or are they just shit?
Wenger has to take all responsibility….and admitting he was after a defender undermines his relationship with his defence.

Make Arsenal Great Again

If you did your job well, your boss won’t look to replace you. Playing without focus and making ill-disciplined mistakes is down to a lack of personal responsibility. The boss can’t control that for you. The boss has us own fault because he is not making these people accountable. If you keep making school boy errors, you should be watching from the stands. Next time you get your chance, you’ll take it a little more seriously or be shipped out. The board is also at fault because they are not holding the manager accountable. If he doesnt produce, you should… Read more »


That’s the last decade in a nutshell. Once there’s a culture of no repercussions, it eventually filters down to performances on the pitch. There’s no getting around it.


You’ll always have regrets if you try that last minute cheeky low ball bids +£1. Buy cheep buy twice my gran always says.
Anyway really hope the team is up for this one after that last shamefully poor performance. Fingers crossed jack is fit and can boss that midfield. Coyg


So we have shipped the same number of goals this season as the bottom club…. so we try to fix this by signing the main defender of that bottom club… Surely this was never going to be the solution anyway. Drop Mustafi, move Monreal to centre and bring Kol in at left back seems the best internal solution to me, or give Chambers a proper run in the team

David C

or put Elneny or AMN in as a central DM instead of Xhaka.


I think for now (since we don’t have a proper CDM) Elneny is pivotal to shield our leaky center backs.


But Elneny is average at best. We have needed a decent CDM for what, 5+ years now?


Evans isn’t a solution. Glad we didn’t get him. Our defensive problems are not a question of us having clueless defenders, but the lack of defensive cohesion all over the pitch (obviously mostly in our own half) when we come under pressure. Having 8-9 players “powerplaying” outside the opposition box for 70% of the game, just passing sideways and sideways, will always expose the few at the back if the ball is intercepted. It’s great when we’re playing offensive teams, as they don’t defend with their entire team, but when we’re playing teams that dig in, we’re too ineffective and… Read more »


We need to stay focused as a defensive unit for the 90 minutes. I don’t think someone like Mustafi or Holding is really lacking in ability, but to keep doing it for the entirety of the game is important. We need some help from our midfield. We can’t afford to have too many passengers when we’re on the back foot and require attentive tracking back. I think it’s time to remove Xhaka a little bit from the firing line. He tracks back somewhat and switches off at the last moment. Something that needs to be worked upon.

Bob Davis

I’d put Granit on the bench. His form has been poor for some time now. Give Elneny a chance to show what he can do.


You know what the lads need? They need to be sit down in a room with a tv on playing Phil Collins’s Against All Odds all day long. They have to focus on listening to that song or face the wrath of Mad Jens.


I would like to see a back 4 with Elneny used behind Maitland Niles and Wilshire. Elneny is conservative and consistent – we could do with a bit of that further back. Id go with Blogs that if Niles is good enough to play out of position in the Prem he is definitely worth trying in his favoured position


Wenger regrets…….. deciding not to sign a defender in January.
there sorted that out for y´all
p.s. its only 2nd Feb


Elneny is bang average. For all the talk about his 100% pass completion, how many of them were decisive. Arseblog bigs up this thing about him which is that he makes himself available for passes which is a really low bar. I feel the same way about Ramsey, he runs a whole lot but barring the season where he was godlike, he rarely changes the outcome of the game. I am a big fan of Wilshere and I really really like how he’s put his head down, pledged absolute allegiance to the club, taken a pay cut and looked to… Read more »


Agree with all of this. Yesterday I stumbled across the really cool Arsenal Albums feature on the official youtube channel. Basically Mesut Ozil sat a table and he’s presented with photos from his career (pre-Arsenal and Arsenal) and asked to talk about his memories and the game in general. Was recorded in Nov last year but if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. The one for Alexis is really good too. He picked out the 3-0 win at the Emirates over Utd as the best team performance he was involved in, that we started fast, pressed relentlessly, and… Read more »


“For example, at Swansea we had 75 per cent possession, you always think to attack, to attack and you forget to defend when you lose the ball” – not so much attacking mindset during that match


Even worse then that they did nothing with it. Crab passes are us

Lord Bendnter

That excuse was 70% pathetic and 30% lame


Arsenal, it’s not the numbers that are lacking in defence until they step onto the pitch without a system to work to or players aware on the need for cover.

Also, I see PEA is straight into the format and won’t play tomorrow as he has a virus!


Instead of regretting it he should have been organised earlier in the window and, you know, bought a freaking defender. Knowing that there are defensive problems but doing nothing to fix them is inexcusable.

Much as I love what he did in the past, his time is well and truly up and this club is going nowhere with him in charge.


Going nowhere ? 3 trophies in last 4 years , already in one final , EL to play for , attracting world class players , a club which is financially strong and well managed , a sold out stadium now all paid for – is this what going nowhere means ?i beg to most respectfully differ … to win , the team needs to be united and have its fans firmly behind ….. Time for the Wenger out brigade , fed by the biased narrative of Piers Morgan , Arsenal fan TV and the tabloid media to reflect again and… Read more »


Gross. I cant stand Piers Morgan and I don’t watch Arsenal fan tv. So… you are actually happy with the way the club is performing? I see a team that can’t even win the coveted fourth place trophy, can’t win games away from home and keeps selling their best players to rivals. We are supposed to get behind the manager and support that? Wake up. Yay we paid for a stadium, here is your fiscal responsibility trophy.


For real. Good players come to Arsenal and after one year they are losing some thing from their game. This cannot be down to the player, for it has happened to many, and they end up wanting to leave. AW tries to change a player to something he imagines a player should be. This is not something one can force, but gradually implement along the way. AW tends to try to force it. It took me a long time, but i am fully aware that AW is now the weak link at Arsenal, and he has to go, hopefully at… Read more »


AMN or Elneny or both in front of a back 4 (or one of them in front of a back 5.
Let’s stop the Keystone cops defensive issues.
The management needs to give the players a framework , cause at the moment, at the back, it’s always panic/last ditch defending. Looks clueless and I’m sick of it.


Passing meekly in rainbows 30 yards from the edge of the Swansea box is not attacking. Arsenal are like a boxer, jabbing at their opponent. Their opponent is guarding head and body so very little gets through. They may have a lot of jabs but it’s not hurting the opposition. The opposition are all too fit to be exhausted like they were in 2005 after 70mins. The opponents only need to throw one or two mild uppercuts and arsenal are on their back. Attacking is risk taking, when boxer throws a punch, they expose themselves to a counter. We benefit… Read more »


“[Did I get] Everything? No. But what I wanted to do, we have done. I couldn’t do everything, I wanted to do more.”
Am I the only one who don’t get that? Have we done what he wanted to do or did he want to do more?

Fireman Sam

Think he means he got the core of what he wanted done (Alexis, Giroud and Ozil situations sorted out, PEA, Mkhi in etc) but also would have liked more (defender).

Chippys chip

At least we can all rest assured now we know arsene realises the defending needs sorting out. Hahaha…oops sorry just pissed myself


Trust us to try and buy a defender from the only defence in the league as shit as ours.

Peanut seller

The transfer window is one whole month, not a day. Only tried for a defender when the strikers were bought or sold. Comes across as very amateurish imho.

George Onyango

Wenger only bought Aubamayang to appease the fans. But will he turn to be a good buy?Too much hype over this guy. Let us hope he doesn’t turn into another Lacazette who is struggling badly.


We know they arent bad defenders beacuse number 1 they’re all international defenders for their countries and no 2 we’ve seen them defend well (better) for us. It’s down to squad balance and lack of penetration. Teams know we have no goal threat and will just wait until we make a mistake to counter. No team should concede 3 goals and score 1 with 75% possession.

Fireman Sam

I don’t know why we even bother talking about possession.

I’d rather hardly have the ball but win 3-1 Ryan the other way around.

Wenger seems too interested in possession. It’s a fucking pointless stat – there is no “possession trophy”. Just a sad bus home after away games, moaning “but… least we had the ball a lot”


It’s down to the manager giving no prominence to defending during training. Why else do we make the same mistakes week after week, season after season? If it were the players then they wouldn’t be picked for their countries. This won’t improve until he has gone.

Non Lord Danish

“I couldn’t do everything, I wanted to do more.” Worrying. Means he was blocked from spending more even though we’re breaking even recently? It has to, right?Cause except for the Evans bid on deadline day (which they knew was too late), no other known-about bids were made for defenders (or CDMs or CMs). Was a good window but we always leave something pending and that’s annoying.

David Hillier\'s luggage

Evens is out with a hamstring injury at the mo (we all know how long they’re meant to take…), knowing our luck if we had got him he’d probably do a Källström and not end up playing.


All attacking teams around the world have weak defences except those who use the high press upfield to cause the opposition to surrender the ball, which gives them room to immediately put pressure on you, I red a post one time about peps tactics at Barcelona, about winning back the ball in 5 seconds after loosing it.yes 5 seconds. As soon as the ball is lost, the. Closest players to the ball immediately form a triangle blocking the passing lanes. Arsenals problem is not on individual defenders but wrong system which arsene has failed to address. Check out what 32… Read more »


Arsenal let in 34 goals and wants a to sign Johnny Evans. West Brom like Arsenal, has also let in 34 goals. Evans is from WestBrom and he is being considered to solve Arsenal Problems when he couldn’t solve his. Just guessing pals.


I think Wenger is willing to bring in a starting center defender in the Summer, but can’t see him going big for a powerful def midfielder (which we all want him to do) with Ramsey, Xhaka and Wilshere already there for those one or two positions (assuming Wilshere resigns) plus he has AMN he said he sees as a future player there. I would like to see him give AMN a few games in the middle to show what he can do, but don’t see that happening this year unless we have an easy draw in the Europa League knockout… Read more »


Isn’t Ôstersund easy enough for you?

Lonely Loneliness

Say what you about Arsene. But I have never seen him rebuking or even be angry with a player. See how the other coaches like Mourinho, Pep, Klopp etc behave with their players.
Arsene may not be best anymore but he is a class act. Arsene is a Legend

Andy Mack

I’m sure he does ‘rebuke’ players in private, but never directly in public.

Andy Mack

Although our ‘goals conceded’ column would still be very poor, a few appalling refs decisions make it look worse than it should do…

Lonely Loneliness

We need to Play Kolasinac More. He is wonderful and I don’t know why he is not being utilized in his proper position.

I Didn\'t See It

“….failed with a late bid…” Transfer window was open all of January. Just saying…


His 70-30 comments are interesting. Watching the PL recently, I also have the feeling we are shifting from a league where historically it’s very open on the pitch, to a bus parking league. The matches among top 6 will be more interesting, while the rest of the time it will be who can break 10 men behind the ball.

Arsene Baggins

Can we play Kolasinic as a DM?

Ian Wright -

More lip service from Wenger. Waste of time even trying to analyse what he has to say.

Quite simply, we tried to get Evans on the cheap at the last minute. If we really wanted him, we would have gone for him once the window had opened.

Forget talking about balancing the books – we should still have money from selling the OX during the summer!


If Arsenal are trained as an attacking team, they need to learn how to defend in the opposition’s half. This requires closing them down early, much movement and reading of the game by the forwards and working to prevent the opposition from gaining a base for their own attack. If you look at Arsenal at the moment, we are too static, almost like we are playing by numbers, but i have seen Arsenal play like mentioned above to much success. Sometimes Arsenal seem to just give up too easily and this is shown by the body language of the players… Read more »


There are a number of issues and its not just defense which is responsible for our current problems. 1) Midfield – We don’t have a system. Its a bit free form at the moment. Some times we see BOTH Ramsey and Granit (particularly Ramsey) too high and in the penalty box waiting for the ball to be played. With Elneny too low last game, there was an empty space we called our midfield for Swansea to waltz into. BUT the midfield also needs to learn to track their runners into our box. It this Elneny is more diligent where Granit… Read more »


We did what we wanted to do this window not what may have been a better option for team balance or in mind of strategic implications. A midfielder I would have thought would have been imperative. I believe there may be potential on Max Meyer who is out on contract in six months so maybe that’s why we are holding off but its a risk. At Cback, we brought yet another untested younger player in in Mavropanos. We already had two in Holding and Chambers neither whom have yet to deliver fully on promise before the gaffer decided to ship… Read more »


Why don’t we get somebody who could coach defense instead?


Until Wenger (dictator) goes things wont improve. Apparently Steve (yes man) Bould doesnt have much say on training,tactics etc. Although Ancelotti would be a masterstroke signing,surely he will bring his own guys.What about a Viera with Sol as assistant.Couldnt be worse.

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