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Mikel Arteta is Gradually Assembling Arsenal’s Best Defence in Over a Decade

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, defense

It’s easy to get over-excited by any positive defensive news at Arsenal because it’s been so bad for so long that it was becoming increasingly difficult to imagine that any improvements were possible. However, it now seems to be true that Arteta has managed to upgrade the Arsenal defense and fans are certainly excited.

Arsene Wenger thought he’d made a major investment in Shkodran Mustafi but to be brutally honest, he was an ordinary defender in an extraordinary German National team at the time of his purchase. Arsenal have been behind the curve for years defensively and their inability to solve a relatively simple issue has cost them time and time again.

There was a glimmer of hope last summer when Saliba and Tierney were added to the squad, but the Frenchman was immediately loaned back to St. Etienne and Tierney arrived injured, therefore Arsenal carried on leaking goals against inferior opposition and almost ended up being sucked into a relegation battle.

Exaggeration? I think not!

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, defense
(Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Arteta replaced Emery and somehow managed to polish the assortment of turds into diamonds to stop the rot, the signs of an exceptional coach. Think of a dysfunctional defender and then tell me he didn’t improve them  at least thirty percent, but he realised that new personnel was needed to avoid the same stagnation in every campaign for the last ten years.

Ok, so Arteta had the luxury of Kieran Tierney and William Saliba on the books, but he has managed to add Mari, Soares, and Gabriel Magalhaes, and already, fans are looking at the Arsenal defense with increased confidence. I haven’t mentioned Hector Bellerin because it seems likely that he may be sacrificed to facilitate incoming transfers, but my personal opinion is that I’d rather he stayed.

Having said that, Maitland-Niles has shown progression as a utility player and Soares is no slouch either, so Arsenal have options. Suffice to say that Arsenal’s defensive lineup looks robust and has the potential to be the best for many years, a decade at least.


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The transfer of Gabriel was a masterstroke because there were a host of interested clubs looking to sign the highly-regarded left-footed centre-back. It was a deal that was, apparently, sealed by the persuasive powers of Edu, Mikel Arteta, and a sea of social media messages from Arsenal fans which made him finally sign on the dotted line.

Gabriel is the vital ingredient in a defence that could last ten years or more and one which has all the potential to help Arteta pull Arsenal up by their bootstraps, to the top of the Premier League, and to the final of the Champions League.

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The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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