Arsenal, defensive

Arsenal: Defensive questions have no easy answer – Pain In The Arsenal



August 31, 2019
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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: David Luiz of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 17: David Luiz of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Arsenal’s defense is yet again the subject of intense scrutiny, and while there are a lot of positives sprouting up, it’s still not easy to solve it outright.

After going all last year harboring zero confidence thatArsenal‘s defense could keep us in a match, there was optimism going into the summer transfer window that we would find solutions. In a sense, we did. Or at least, we tried. Landing bothDavid Luizand William Saliba, the defense has a lot to look forward to.

But with Sokratis still always on the brink of a yellow card and Luiz proving to be just as error prone as some expected, the choice of who to start on this defensive line going into crucial matches like the North London Derby is not an easy one.

On the one hand, I completely understand why Unai Emery went with Luiz and Sokratis first. That’s experience, whereas we didn’t have it before. But it isn’t proving as stable as we might have liked.

The other options areCalum Chambers, the Fulham player of the year; andRob Holding, who would have kept the role all last season had he not sustained a season-ending injury.

There’s logic to both sides of the spectrum here, starting the young English duo and starting the old, temperamental duo. There’s even logic to starting a mix-and-match, Sokratis with Chambers, for instance, which kept our first away clean sheet in over a year. Which directly contrasts what has happened since Luiz took over for Chambers.

Whatever the case, the key thing for Emery to do is go with the hot foot. Go with the player that is impressing the most lately, and that’s why I still think that, despite the logic behind it, deliberately benching Chambers was wrong. You don’t sit the hot foot, especially if it’s a like-for-like switch. You stick with what’s working.

Going into Tottenham, I’ve heard every argument under the sun for keeping it Sokratis and Luiz and nothing has convinced me that this is a good idea. Chambers worked one time. Luiz didn’t two times. That’s the most simplistic way to put it. Luiz is going to have so much use this year, and I look forward to what he will be able to accomplish, but short term, Chambers is smarter. And that’s that.

Now, as for what Emery will do, naturally I have no idea. But I can hope.

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