Having made two costly mistakes in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, listening to David Luiz talk about defending is a bit like reading ‘How to sail around icebergs’ by the captain of the Titanic. However, the Brazilian is forthright about the need for the entire team to improve.

The new signing gave away a daft penalty, then got turned too high up the pitch by Mo Salah which led to the third goal, but while he admits he has to do better himself, he says the overall mentality needs to be addressed.

Arsenal conceded 51 goals in each of the last two Premier League seasons, and the 32 year old was asked if reducing that total was key for achieving success and a top four finish.

“Yeah, we have to,” he said. “I think if you concede a lot of goals you cannot fight for the title so this is one main thing we have to think about and try to reduce and try to make the team stronger.

“It is not just about me, it is not just about the defenders, it is about the mentality of the team.

“I think the team already did great against Newcastle, did great against Burnley to understand the kind of game we were playing for.

“We were clinical in Newcastle with one clear opportunity we score and don’t concede. With Burnley, we were clinical to understand the game is always to play first ball, second ball, fighting, they try to score with free-kicks and things like that and we did amazing and today I think it could be a different game if we score but we did not and so this is about football.

“Football is like that. Every week is a new history and we have to try and learn and improve our game.”

We’ll have to wait and see what Unai Emery has learned about his team ahead of this Sunday’s North London derby, and whether we can find that defensive improvement.

Check out the brand new Arsecast Extra, including a big debate about the Liverpool game


This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL

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David, you have to improve your global mentality. When your coach says again and again before the game that he’d rather not play Liverpool… With such a mentality in no way you were going to get a good result there…

Papa Large, big shot in North London

I don’t see the logic in this. Coaches constantly downplay their chances in the media but the team talk isn’t going to consist of “we’re going to get pantsed and probably lost 4-0, if you can make it 3-1 we’ll go out for pizza after the game.”

I sit in the camp of we were a little unlucky against Liverpool on Saturday. To go to Anfield and lose 3-1 when they only scored one goal from open play is a little unfortunate. Especially when you consider that we did cause them a lot of problems and probably should have had a goal to show for our efforts in the first half. Liverpool hardly ripped through us constantly like they did last season. The only time they really ran at us and caused us a real problem was for Salah’s goal. However that was directly linked to the… Read more »


My thoughts more or less. I don’t get the we were torn apart narrative. We will only improve in time especially if we can make our PAL front three fluid. We were punished for not being clinical. Auba and Pepe were guilty of that. It’s almost like a mental block something but I believe it’s something that can be overcomed by winning more games regularly. We need to stop being afraid of these teams away from home.

Dave M

It’s a penalty, if you’re gonna do it you can’t reach out no matter how “light” you tug the shirt. Your arm is stretched and the shirt comes off the body and it’s so obvious. To get away with it you have to do it close to the player with arms not extended. Easy. It was too obvious not to give a penalty. As for the rest I mostly agree with. I think our biggest failing comes down to playing it out from the back without variability. Said it in a previous story. We played into Liverpool’s hands. We want… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Overcrowded center defence and repulsing opposing attacks and go for counterattacks when possible, isn’t that what smaller teams do against bigger teams all the time ? Whether you set the team up in a diamond formation or not, it is still the same parking the bus. Opposing coaches always tell their strikers: “Be patient, there will be errors which you can exploit”. The game lasts 90 minutes not 40. Remember the game we played in Barcelona with all our players in defence except the CF? It looked we could have qualified had Bendtner scored his opportunity but in reality we… Read more »

Dave M

OK arsene, guess we could give that another shot…


Reminds me of that time when “small club” Atletico Madrid packed the defence and played on the counter against us in the Europa League semi-final. People said such nice things about the way we played.

And then Atletico went on to lift the trophy.




They outplayed us.

We bought a lousy player who made (unexpectedly) two elementary mistakes leading to goals.

BUT we were peppered with crosses thanks to poor tactics and lack of change and we paid the price.

Nothing unlucky. Sure Auba or Pepe could have got goals but they did not.

On that note, Liverpool could have added more.

We were NOT competitive and I don’t see ANY improvement from last season frankly (against this end of opposition at least)

You’re frankly…having a laugh. Call a spade a spade.


So fucking what if they did out play us? They’re the better team at home. But we still could’ve won the game. Did you not learn anything from the baron years at the Emirates. We would quite often out play teams all the time. But we still lost shit loads to teams far worse than us. Ferguson, Mourinho used to do exactly the same thing to us for fucking years. They’d let us have the ball, they’d be camped in their half for the majority of the 90 minutes. Then any of the following; Rooney, Ronaldo, Drogba or some other… Read more »

Dave M

Difference is with mourinho he didn’t try and play the ball out from the back at all costs against possibly the best tactical and executed pressing game in world football. I don’t mind the tactic of being stout defensively and playing on the counter in these games (in fact I’ve been calling for it for years), but we desperately need more flexibility in how we tried to move the ball upfield. Emery even said we didn’t break through the Liverpool press as much as we’d have liked…no $hit mate – no one does! So adjust! But we didn’t we keep… Read more »


We have finally a front 3 if all fit and raring to go can give the top two a run for their money, the difference is behind them we are pants. pool have 3 no frills box to box workhorses whose job is simply too recover, retain and play in the front 3, the 3 are aptly supported by flying wingbacks whom are also covered defensively by the 3 in the middle. we have 1 defensive midfielder in torreira, now need to add two more, guendozi xakha, ceballos are all no 8s there to distribute and playmake, whos going to… Read more »


Yeah weird how a side renowned for their defensive solidity managed to succeed at a tactic that a side who have one of the worst defensive records in their country failed at…weird….

A Different George

Pulling the shirt of a player without the ball, to impede his movement, is pretty common, hard to see, and rarely results in a penalty. Pulling the shirt, from behind, of a player who has passed you and who has control of the ball, is easy to see and is almost always given.


Have you ever played competitive football?

If so you’ll understand what a big difference it makes someone pulling your shirt like that to stop you getting to the ball/put you off balance whilst shooting.

It was a stonewall penalty and stupid one to give away to boot, considering how obvious it was.

Using Football Manager as a reference?

Isn’t it a school night?

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

What will you do then if he does signed but then we got thrased by palace or wolves?

Nick Moir

Luiz is better in a back 3, start him alongside Chambers and Pap, especially with Nacho man about to leave!


Yeah, this is a reasonable/rational option given our personnel, but I hate it though. We lose so much dynamism when we play that way, it’s all about wing backs to the byline and crosses/pullbacks. But given our centre back and even our full back situation it might make the most sense against strong opposition. At least until Bellerin/Holding/Tierney are fit.


Yeah I’m not sure this is the guy I want to hear this from, but he’s not wrong I guess.

But let’s not pretend David Luiz is the solution to our defensive problems. He didn’t get into the side on merit, he got in based on his experience and familiarity with Emery. He’s not put in performances that merit him keeping his starting birth since. Chambers hardly put a foot wrong all pre-season and was solid against Newcastle. He deserves a start in the NLD.


There’s something very satisfying in seeing that text format/font change between successive apostrophe marks.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

We’re already seeing why David Luiz found the Lamps turned off at Chelsea and feared enduring obscurity by coming to Arsenal.


It’s nice for the people with agendas against Emery and David Luiz that this Liverpool game came early. Keep crowing lads At the end of the day David Luiz has won the title in 3 different countries and has a CL medal. It’s also the same David Luiz that kept Laca and Auba quiet in the Europa League Final we just lost – but that doesn’t fit the narrative about him. Calum Chambers is a fine player, but there’s a reason we had to send him out on loan despite the fact he cost 16m pounds, which was a massive… Read more »


Oooh of course it’s the “agendas”, because anytime anybody has a criticism of anything it’s suddenly part of some deep seated hatred or nefarious “agenda” ?. Guess we’ll have to review our Luiz bashing policy at the next haters meeting because clearly you’re on to the conspiracy. Look, Mustafi is a world cup winner, Gael Clichy is an invincible, Bergkamps never won a European trophy or award and Gary Oldman s never won an Oscar, talent isn’t always measured by success. Fucking look at Lichtsteiners resume, that guy had it all, except the ability to play football at the highest… Read more »


David Luiz is an Arsenal player now.

I feel like I need to point that out because some of you are so invested in tearing certain our players down.

I said it before, Calum Chambers is a fine player. He wasn’t sold in the summer, and the coach showed confidence in him by starting him in our first game. So why are you acting like he’s been banished to the reserves? He was on the bench at Anfield ffs.


Yeah, he’s been one for all of one month. Maybe it’s reasonable to look at the 20 odd year career he’s had until now and draw some observations from that on what kind of player he might be? You can analyse a player without “tearing them down”. Where has all this puussyfooted nonsense of “OH DUUUDE YOU CAN’T, LIKE, SAY NOT POSITIVE THINGS, MAN, THAT’S LIKE, NEGATIVE VIBES, BRO, WE’RE LIKE, NOT MEANT TO DO THAT”. This relentless positivity you want people to exude at all times is just not realistic. It’s like you’re trying to make football discussion forums… Read more »


Everyone’s an SJW when they disagree with you aren’t they? I don’t talk here the way I do when I watch games with my mates because I’d be banned. But let me be blunt because apparently you don’t respect people who simply state an alternative point of view. I’m not impressed with your whiny, reactionary points of view, and your agenda against David Luiz is pathetic and transparent. Making reductive, sneaky-ass comparisons to Squillaci and Silvestre, meanwhile you took offence at me saying “Calum Chambers is a fine player”? It was a compliment! But I wasn’t positive enough about Chambers… Read more »


Arsenal player did not prevent Mustafi, Granit or Ozil from being criticised and much of the criticism is valid. BUT where they are wrong is they then prefer to ONLY see bad things in certain players and give others a pass. Luiz has merits. BUT he is not the clever signing many prefer to imagine. He will have his liabilities and it does not improve us. Because we really just need a no nonsense player at the back. And we failed to do this bc we preferred to prolong an over the hill Koscielny (he id us a favour we… Read more »


Looking forward to trying Holding and Chambers together – maybe League Cup or EL – as the future of our defence, with Tierney and Bellerin.

Max Fischer

So am I. I remember them starting together against Liverpool to open the season a few years back (and it not going well), but I believe their progressions make them a capable duo now.


Holding seems very sympathetic, brave and English. He reads the play well, but is rather slow, and no Messiah for the hungry, longing Arsenal fans waiting for his return.


Here we go, people now looking to the future, something about a transition year (again), Saliba being the next Van Djik. Living in fantasy.

We need solution now.

This league, a couple of games shedding points and it will be difficult again to hit top 4.

Thankfully, the only silver lining is Spurts bottled it to Newcastle and United to Palace.

BUT we cannot continue to rely on that sort of luck.

Patrik Ljungberg

BUT we have heard this before. Broken record…

Tony Hall

Erm no David, after being responsible for conceding two goals at the weekend you have to …

Keeping it Monreal

Papa and Luiz definitely have their merits but it makes me very nervous having two nut jobs at centre back. Especially with VAR


Sokratis is excellent. Neither does he play nastily. Several of his bookings have been on the harsh side.


Sokratis guilty of unnecessary shirt pulling which prevented GUendouzi (ironically) from challenging Matip for the first goal.


I mean, we did sign a player who was considered to be Chelsea’s most susceptible to making silly mistakes so, what did we expect?


well, at least they replaced those mistakes with zouma


You mean that guy who gave away a penalty himself? Luiz was definitely at fault yesterday(twice) but he’s way better than Mustafi in every aspect. Chambers is a solid option but I can’t fault Emery for going with experience and ability on the ball against a high pressing team. He has his share of bad games and yesterday was one, but he does add positives and overall I’m okay with one bad game out of 10-12. If he makes mistakes more frequently a la Mustafi, bring on Calum Chambers.


How is he better than Mustafi?

He made two unforced errors.

One a tug on a shirt and the other too tight ona player for someone of his ‘experience’.

his worse performance for us (ironically when Unai switched us to back 4 half time), Mustafi only made two mistakes as well but equally critical.

BUT we are talking about a much more experience player here.


Tug on shirt was hardly unforced and being roasted by Salah on a turn isn’t either. Look, those were clearly mistakes that ideally he shouldn’t have made. But Mustafi’s problem is that he is taking it to the next level. He is gonna make one, even when is not under much pressure. We know what we have got in Luiz, we expected that he is gonna make those mistakes.


”Chambers is a solid option but I can’t fault Emery for going with experience and ability on the ball against a high pressing team”

So why did he decide to go for inexperience for in our midfield over experience and ability? Surely Torreira would have been a better midfield option. Also, Lacazette.


He is right about needing to improve the way we defend as a team. He made costly mistakes at Anfield but he is generally a good defender who can play a bit too. I think our defense will feel safer with him around in the long term.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Mustafi is generaĺly a good defender who scores four goals by headers if you don’t consider his errors.


Except Mustafi commits bad errors almost, if not every game. Kinda hard to not consider them at that rate.


Which is not true. Because if you watch properly, he has some very good games for us, puts in a lot of blocks and stops, many critical and provides strength in the air most times (something we are again struggling with) Get away from the red herrings and actually watch the games. People tend to amplify certain games like Palace but Mustafi was barely featured subsequent games when we lost 7 in a trot including against Wolves next game when the pairing of Koscielny_Sokratis (many calling for this) shipped 3 goals. BUT also during the span of games, Mustafi did… Read more »


No shit, Sherlock!


Yeah Luiz was clumsy for the 2nd and 3rd, but as much as I hate to say it that Liverpool team looked like they were going to end up with at least 3 goals in that match anyways


Am I the only one who thought we actually defended well until we conceded the first goal from corner? The plan was to pack the centre of the park so Salah, Mane and Firmino have as little space as possible to dribble and combine, and let ther fullbacks put crosses in and deal with them. Apart from a couple of Liverpool chances, which they’ll always have, we did our job really well in that regard. Quick and/or long balls to Pepe and Auba to counter attack worked well too, as we could’ve scored a couple ourselves as well. Obviously, then… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Don’t you think we get good chances in every games playing other systems ? A lot of times we get even more chances. Why bother playing this system? We are a team that always get chances.


Yes but if we’re a team that always gets chances anyway, why open yourself up defensively away from home?

Especially when your opponent plays a kind of kamikaze-type football like Klopp does. He didn’t have Virgil van Dijk to cover his ass before, which might explain why he lost something like 5 major Finals in a row (one of them to Emery) before last year’s CL win.

Our tactical approach was fine, the problem was our execution, esp taking the chances that came our way.


I’m in the same boat as Kaius I think. The game plan was risky but we were executing fine for 40 mins and had 3 very presentable chances in that time.


We set up not to get beat down the middle, which had been their strong point at least the last three times we met. Although we were quite slack and defended too deeply at times, all the crosses by their renown fullbacks came to nothing. Exactly the execution, as one of our most experienced defenders made to rookie mistakes.

Teams need to play at Anfield like their lives depen on it. Only saw that at times on Saturday, and from only a few players.




Yes Luiz made costly mistakes, but those mistakes were born out of relentless pressure by the hosts. I’d have less sympathy if, as a whole, we were more competitive in the game. He also wasn’t the only one, Ceballos had a shocker with that pass across goal for example, but we got away with those.


You can’t compare Cabellos to Luiz. They both had poor games, but Ceballos has hardly played in the EPL. Luiz is a vastly experienced player who has been everywhere in the EPL. His errors cost us the game and were not the sort of mistakes that you expect from someone of his experience.


But that’s my point; Luiz’ errors didn’t cost us the game alone, our performance and approach massively contributed. When you sit off opponents for most of the game, and especially against teams of Liverpool’s quality, these mistakes are the natural result. We made a lot of defensive mistakes, but Luiz ended up being the guy that paid. If we dominated the game and then we lost because of mistakes out of nowhere, I’d be much more critical.


We all blame Luiz for the Salahz goals but what was Nacho doing just looking at the ball roll past him. No attempt to intercept. At least that’d slightly put off the attacker allowing Luiz to get in position. It’s this kinda defending mentality that Luiz is talking about.


Nacho was trying to cover for Luiz but he was caught too high and frankly he is an older player without the pace. BUT it doesn’t detract from the fact it was Luiz’s fault in the first place.

IF you are experience, you do not go tight and allow for all that space behind you.

There was similar criticism last season on Mustafi being too aggressive the season before and he adjusted to it.

Now this player makes a similar mistake and the same people critical of a much younger Mustafi like to invent excuses.


That would be said of Mustafi too by that measure.

You are holding double standards and inventing excuses for one player whilst being harsh on another.


Absolutely right.

Cebellos is a player getting use to this league and put in an awkward position with a midfield shape frankly a bit confused.

Luiz should know better.

Evang. Simon

I will judge the team at the end of the season…

Let the gaffer just get the right personnel to execute each tactics he wants to deploy….

We have enough firearms…



Why do fans seem to think that buying defenders will mean our defence improves? Surely it’s fairly obvious that a good defence regardless of personnel is down to the manager? Simeone built a beast defence through coaching. Emery has never shown that he can do that.


I think that’s a tad unfair. How long did it take Simeone to build his “beast”? Not a single season. The defence was never really given any priority under Wenger for years. Changes are being made since Emery took over – not least the removal of Mustafi at long last – and the majority of the bigger Summer signings were defensive.

That said, Luiz was poor at Anfield and needs to get his act together pdq. There’s obviously a lot of work to be done, but let’s give Emery and his staff a Simeone-like chance.


It should if you buy the right defender.

BUT this is a player who has had a track record of blowing hot and cold.

And those mistakes were elementary. Ask yourself what you would say if Mustafi made them.

Double standards much?

Timmy H

When will our fans learn? Luiz had a couple of poor moments against Liverpool but nothing positive can come from everyone jumping on the hate train at the first sign of trouble – which seems to be happening. He’s not the long term solution to our defensive predicament but he’s part of the team now, so get behind him.


“Luiz: We have to improve our defensive mentality.” No, David, we have to improve our defensive personnel and the quality of defensive coaching. I remember when the transfer window closed and I said that I was disappointed by our failure to sign a top-quality defender. As usual I got a million thumbs-down. On Saturday Liverpool brutally exposed the limitations of our defence. Sideshow bob was never good enough to play for us at centre-half and is, if anything, a downgrade on Kos. And we have a manager whose defensive coaching record is at best dubious. You can spend as much… Read more »


The funny part is think you got a million thumbs for being correct about something. No, people generally like your good football sense.

You get the thumbs down for being obnoxious and whiny about the most pathetic things, like being outraged that Ozil and Kolasinac had to miss a game because their lives had been threatened.


Hard to argue. If we get Bellerin/Holding/Tierney fit and still concede heavily, well that’s on Unai. We’ll see. And I suppose we can’t forget that 51 conceded was flattering to us last year due to Leno’s outstanding play.


I have to agree. And you are still getting thumb down by some people who refuse to see what’s in front of them. I said as well we basically panic bought a band aid at best, a liability given his track record. Too many people prefer to invent their own reality and make excuses for certain players whilst being extra harsh on others. Case in point Torreira. People like to blame Granit for everything but in a spell over Xmas he cost us 4 or 5 goals with give aways and getting fleeced in critical areas in midfield leading. Too… Read more »


Not “We”, David – “You”! Everyone makes mistakes but an experienced defender like you shouldn’t make the kind of errors (not once, but twice) that you did at Anfield. Buck up, man.


Again don’t know why you get down voted for telling the truth.

Some people just prefer to see issues in certain players and give others a pass.


just came to see if the comments were gonna be shitty. But it looks like we have some classy fans here still. well played people its good to see the majority still have class. ?

canon fodder

When Luiz played well against Burnley, we went over the top with praise and now that he had a couple of slip ups, he is being talked about in the same vein as Mustafi. Let’s not forget that apart from defensive mistakes, we lose matches when we miss obvious scoring opportunities. Auba and Pepe were guilty of this and Ceballos had a very ineffective game. When we win, we win as one and when we lose, we lose as one team. Looking for scapegoats after a loss has become a very Arsenal thing. When we lost in Baku, we were… Read more »

Flavoured Rice

Is he taking the fucking piss? All I want from him us to keep quiet and accept he messed up. Talk is cheap, and by god, can our players talk. Knuckle down and prove through doing that you are actually good enough for us


I think players need to do it on the pitch, not say it in the press. If they do it first, then talking about it afterwards doesn’t look daft, does it.

Flavoured Rice

This is Arsenal. When have our players ever talked big before a game and delivered ? People have a short memory as we talked big before the Europa League final also.


Don’t see why you are getting down voted for speaking the truth.

Some people live in fantasy land. If this was Mustafi they would be having a hissy fit.

Flavoured Rice

I say what I think and it’s no concern of mine if the comment is popular or not. I’ve come to the realisation over the years that the standards of our fans has dropped dramatically.

There is no shame to losing to Liverpool, but there is shame in not having a go at them and approaching the game with a we are likely to get battered mentality.

I don’t really have faith in Emery; I’m just early to join the Emery out brigade. Come a few months everyone will be signing from the same hymn sheet I’m sure.


The way I saw it. For the second goal Luiz is dead whatever he does. Salah has received the ball in the centre of the box. Luiz either watches him slot it or commits a foul. New rules he won’t get sent off but probably concede a penalty, which still needs to be scored.
On the 3rd one no excuses. Horrible error, overcommitted can’t even foul Salah or he is off after the earlier card.


Making excuses much.

He’s too tight to the player.

Simple as that.


Since the Arsecast Extra link is on the page I am going to comment on that…. Great podcast! I wished more people would debate as you did! Sure, there is an obvious affection you have for one another as opposed to two that absolutely hate each other, but a polite discourse IS possible. No matter who you are.


No shit….you think so buddy?


Here come the excuses. 1) we were unlucky – Utter rubbish. We never had good control of the game. We rode our luck if anything and they could have had more. 2) Season is still young – Maybe but continue like that and similar results beckon Nothing has changed at the back, just an older version of Mustafi. 3) Something about Luiz being better in a back 3. Frankly I would have preferred we had Monreal and Chambers flanking Sokratis in the back 3 given the mobility of the opponents..and that isn’t saying much. Sure we were up against one… Read more »


The season is too young to be writing anyone or anything off yet.




I’m sure they said the same of Squillacci.

Experience man, a genius move, value for money.


Santori, from now on I have decided that you don’t exist.

How does that sit with everyone else? Wanna tag along? If you do it’ll mean Santori ceases to exist. I’m only a few seconds in but I can tell you already that it rules.


Some people still prefer to stick their heads up their own arse. Others would prefer to blame Granit instead of seeing what is right in front of them, a panic buy band aid that is not solution for us. Something about long term and a relatively untested teenage defender we paid over the odds for considered a great move. Wake up. We should have done proper business for the Cback. Instead we tried to do it on the cheap again, prolong and over the hill Koscielny(Thankfully tried to do us a favour), over pay for a teenager judged over a… Read more »


Frankly Luiz stupidity aside which cost us (lets be clear and not obfuscate)..tactics were wrong and we did nothing to change it. I mentioned hoping we would go 3 at the back because Liverpool will play from the flanks and bomb up their fullbacks. We had to stop them there. ……………………..Auba………………..Pepe………………………….. ……………………………….Cebellos……………………………………. Kolasinac……………………………………………………………….AMN ……………………..Granit……………..GUendouzi…………………….. …………Monreal……………Sokratis……………..Chambers………… …………………………………Leno………………………………………. 1) Nothing wrong IMO with Auba and Pepe up top. Some wanted Laca who protects the ball better but I feel in general Unai was correct to have two breaking in tandem (I mention after Burnley the last formation likely the one we would… Read more »


Once a clown, always a clown…


https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/49462678 I can’t stand McNulty but I can’t agree with him more. Some positives but largely liability Luiz and poor decisions by the gaffer. Many Arsenal fans need to wake up instead of making excuses for Luiz, blaming Granit conveniently. I thought midfield was resolute tracking players all game but if you need to pin individual error on any one, it clearly wasn’t Mustafi or Granit. We are still in favourable position but this can erode very quickly. What we need to do is get it right next game which will not be easy with Spurts. Hoping Unai will inflect… Read more »

Patrik Ljungberg

Where do you find the energy to recycle your old posts over and over again?

Go out and play.


Just play Luiz in a back three.


Well, looks like David Luiz is no fool! He caught on quick! Been here only a couple weeks and already sniffed out our defensive mentality issues…