Who Arsenal are buying suggests Mr Emery is going to continue to target the cups, not the league

by Tony Attwood

As we know from keeping tabs on player transfer rumours in recent years the mongers go on mongering inside and outside the windows, irrespective of how many players we have in each position.

They are also (as in previous years) talking up more and more stories without any regard to either the 17 rule (the limit on the number of non-home-grown players) and the overall squad “25” rule.

So to make sense of what we have and haven’t got I thought I would undertake the task of listing Arsenal defenders and where they can play.  A pretty simple task of course but still one that seems beyond the bounds of most of the bloggettas and their chums in the mainstream.

To make it easier I am restricting this list to players who are naturally centre backs or who can play centre back if called upon so to do.

Holding:  44 games so far.  Age 22.  Centre back

Monreal: 212 games so far.  Age 32.  Left back / wing back, centre back.

Mustafi: 72 games so far.  Age 26.  Centre back

Chambers: 83 games so far.  Age 23.  Right back, centre back.

Mavropanos: 3 games so far.  Age 20.  Centre back

Koscielny: 324 games so far.  Age 32.  Centre back.  Injured until 2019.

Sokratis: Age 30.   The Star says this signing will be confirmed today.  Centre back.

So that gives us five centre backs, assuming Sokratis comes in, but with one of them injured until next year.  In addition we have two full backs who can play centre back.

Surely that is more than enough for anyone – even with the idea of having two solid teams to divide up the Cup games and the League games, and taking into account Koscielny being out.  (I certainly hope he does come back, but you never know with such injuries).

Or does it mean, as some have suggested, that as soon as Sokratis is confirmed then Mustafi will be off?

I would normally say that four players for two positions is enough and that with Monreal and Chambers as back up already it might just be considered that we could get rid of one player.

But let us consider for a moment that we keep all of these guys – who would be our normal two for the League and who for the Cups?

Certainly Movropanos, Holding and Chambers will all be hoping to get games in the League Cup and the easier matches in the FA Cup and Europa group stages.  As for the bigger games that would give us Sokratis and Mustafi as the regulars at least until Koscielny returns.  Monreal is still available but as he gets older I think the idea will be only to use him in his prime position at full back.

Unless, of course, the manager decides to play three central defenders on occasion, in which case there would be a need for a bigger number of players, particularly if he is also doing more picking players for particular matches.  Given that we had such a differing home and away form last season, could he be thinking of keeping the attacking style and spirit at Arsenal Stadium while having three central defenders for many of the away games, with the wing backs having more emphasis on back than wing?

Now I think this emphasis on two teams – one for league and one for cup could be what is coming, given Mr Emery’s record thus far.  If we look at his trophy list we find this…


  • UEFA Europa League: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
  • Copa del Rey runner-up: 2015–16

Paris Saint-Germain

  • Ligue 1: 2017–18
  • Coupe de France: 2016–17, 2017–18
  • Coupe de la Ligue: 2016–17, 2017–18

That is one league title and seven Cups in the past five years. 

It is quite possible to suspect that the Arsenal board are thinking that given that Manchester City has access to the wealth of Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the City Group of football clubs spread around the world, Arsenal’s chances of overtaking them in the League is not that great – at least not for a few years.  Therefore the ship can be kept afloat, as it were, by going after the three cups in which Arsenal compete.  And what better person to have in charge of the club than a man who collects Cup winners trophies even more assiduously than Mr Wenger?

So I would say that when looking at the defence, and indeed when looking at the whole team, Arsenal will be looking at having a very strong squad playing in the cup matches, rather than using the cup games as a chance to give the kiddies a run out.   

That doesn’t mean no chances for up and coming youngsters, but perhaps fewer chances than under Mr Wenger.


Number of players tipped to be signing for Arsenal this summer reaches 101

Does the FA need more anti-foreigner regulations to help England do better? The evidence.

Telling Chambers to leave, admitting Fellaini was a lie, selling Monreal. It’s all in the drainpipes today.




10 Replies to “Who Arsenal are buying suggests Mr Emery is going to continue to target the cups, not the league”

  1. Need to specify if players are capable of playing Right Center Back or Left Center Back. If you did that you would notice that only Kolcielny and Monreal can actually play the position. With Holding seem to be in the process of learning the position under previous management.
    We have to assume or at least hope that Sokratis will be able to play the position.

  2. Sokratis is in the country to finalise today and Torerria has stated that his son will signing a contract with Arsenal as soon as the Mexicans exit the tournament, pending a medical. So fingers crossed we will see a screen ahead of the defence before long. Ot o pmy to be expected that the combtive midfielder will be given an extended perior of rest, following Mexico’s World Cup participation, even into the 2nd stage. Although with Neymar having broken the deadlock on 51″ could be he is due to complete that deal quite shortly.

    Ospina continues, Danny has appeared and is fit, Monreal has now departed, and these players can consider themselves available for contractual negotiations along with former Arsenal no:1 Petr Cech.

    Granit will be hoping that the Swiss are able to navigate safe passage by the Swedes with the a now integral part of the Arsenal engine room getting a good test run pre-season title challenge.

    With Koscielny out for the foreseeable future and no assurity over his future fitness and competiveness at Premier League pace, Arsenal can consider themselves defficient in the defensive area’s even with the inbound Greek due to be confirmed.

    With 3 recognised 1st team centre backs in the shape of Koscielny, Mustarfi and Sokratis, supplimented by the likes of Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavrapanos and Callum Chambers, the idea of playing 3 at the back, seem sdistant, without at least one more addition. Utilising 5 CB’s over 2 games from August until January sounds risky, with Laurent out until then. Although if one were happy to revert to a back four if any one player should get injured, could afford you some room for manouvre, should you continue with Monreal, or another CB who could be deployed at LB or visa versa.

    I maintain that moving Sead to first choice LB at least for the now, and upgrading, modernising and seeking an alternative to a 32 year old who was left looking a litte pedestrian at times in bigger games last season and the one prior is prefereable and none driven by emotion. This is a business. It is with the wuestion marks surrounding Mutarfi and conjecture poured all over the Soyuncu story, that Diallo of Mainz looks like an increasingly sensible addition. However the news that Dortmund have earmarked this player as replacment to Sokratis could prove fruitful, with a pairinf of these two 22 year olds, being something I would have hoped for at Arsenal. With the prospect being possible, but becoming increasingly less likely. Same old ARSENAL?

    In Midfield, with the new talents of Toriera being well documented on the World Stage, the changes at Arsenal could well be in the midfield department, with a DM being the area I would most like to see addressed and maintained within any future formation, home or away, it seems a midfield 3 or 4 could be fleshing out.

    I dont see how you don’t play Ramsey in any first team, likewise, I don’t see how if you buy a DM, you don’t use the clearly required screen door, the final third hasn’t been a happilly manned in centuries and even the London’s East End White Walkers have found it all too happy a hunting ground in recent seasons.

    So that gives you 2 starters in midfield, and you arguably need to add, Ozil, Mikhitaryan and Zhaka, when did we start buying everyone with the hard names to pronounce, this team is way to anti-brexit chic.

    Well in fact if you try and deploy the raft of talent in midfield you get one very narrow 2-3-1 eith Mesut LWF and Mikhi RWF and Ramsey in that place he scores all his goals from, starting deeper and linking midfield to attack.

    You then say Mesut, Mikhi, can you handle that responsibiliy? The midfield 3 will collapse and RAmsey is responsible for droppping in with a lung bursting recover run (Wales Euros) and spearheading transition breakaways. the M&M’s are not to let the opposition full/wing backs, double up on our Wing/Ful Backs

    Lacazette is responsible for running cover for Auba and finding the net in Europe and Cups, giving the lead to Aubameyang, who proved near prolific in his short stay last season. Aclimatisation period 0.

    So that would give me an unchanging starting line up of:


    With a great bench developing, hwever with much of it depleted by World Cup drafting what will be available to start is likely a 7 taken from.


    But with Welbeck, Ospina, Lichtsteiner and Xhaka continuing into the 2nd stage and Iwobi, Monreal and Elneny having fallen only at the final hurdle during the groups, none will City

    With a multitude of players unavailable for selection due to their Worl CUp exploits and extended holiday period, this seems a n excellent time to test the squad balance without them. It will be interesting to see how the mdfield cope against Manchester City. It is certain that De Bruyne, Fernandiho, Jesus, Stones, Mendy, Walker and Sterling won’t be fit to start, it is unlikely they can select Silva, Gundagan, Kompany, Otamendi, Bernardo Silva, Aguerro or Danillo.

    Compared to the fact that we will likely be missing Xhaka and Torerria to start. Which without Elneny likely to be fit, we could see Ainsley play in a season opener against the favourites at Defensive Mdifeld. We could therefore see him partner Ramsey in the engine room, with the four advanced roles being occupied by Lacazette, Mikhitaryan, Aubameyang and one other.

    Ad this brings me to the midfielder thing. If you add Torerria, you improve the starting line up, but you can use all your midfielders of clear international quality and hae just the one certified striker on the bench.

    you only have one midfielder legt over even if you aren’t striking off World CUp representatives.

    Whereas you could alternatively end up with:


    with a bench of:

    +1 GK

    As far as I’m concerned, one format has 2 teams, the other has 2 made out f 1.5

    Ospina < Meyer
    Perez < Golovin
    Monreal < Diallo
    Welbeck < Suyunco
    Jenkinson < £££
    Martinez/Macey < £££
    Akpom/Brammal ( £££?

    Only keep the best in age for GK's

    We need to finish what we started, if we are losing Jack, then we are recovering funds everywhere sensible.

  3. Sorry Torreira is Uraguayan isn’t he, well, he’s marching on, at the expense of Messi!

  4. What is interesting is that Sokratis was given 5, Mustarfi wasn’t promoted to partner Koscielny, Sokratis was.As with Mohammed moving to 4, which I think is deserved. Keletchi goes on loan to Porto fir the aim to secure his work permit, along with Asano who stays in Germany to do likewise.

    Hector gets the nod, claiming the number 2 jersey, whilst Stephan will play his part I’m sure grabbing 12. Iwobi hasnt as of yet given his 17 up for Aubameyang, but there is time, with official regiatration not yet completed.

    wutg no GK assigned as number one, the only indication comes in the form of, Leno being listed first, before Cech with Ospina bringing up the rear.

  5. If Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been announced as signed by Arsenal as Gord has said above, it is another good summer incoming signing news being announced by Arsenal as 3 new signings have now been done thus far this summer window by Arsenal leaving one signing in Torreira deal left to be concluded and announced among the 4 signings the media has reported Arsenal will do this summer window.

    But nevertheless, after concluding Torreira deal, are these the only 4 incoming senior signings that Arsenal will do this summer window? The season could be long for the Gunners as they campaign on four fronts domestically and externally to win laurels for the club. And if Arsenal are to successfully challenged their 5 Premier League Title rival clubs to the PL Title win next season’s campaign more especially challenge Man City to the Title win irrespective of them having unlimited access to the sovereign wealth of the oil magnet billionaire, Sheik Monsour bin Zayed Al Nahyan to revamp whenever they want to in a transfer window. But notwithstanding, Arsenal should still further revamp this summer window by signimg a senior defensive player who can efficiently play in 2 positions as centreback/holding midfielder for the club. And also sign a top quality striker who can knock in at least 20 goals in all games for the club next season. So as to not totally relied on Aubameyang and Lacazette to be sole 2 reliable strikers to be knocking in most of the goals that Arsenal will score in all games next season..

    But to not win the PL Title next season for Arsenal by Unsi Emery. after 15 seasons absent the clb last won it but under Monsieur Arsene Wenger overseeing the Gunners campaigns for 15 fruitless PL Title win. But Unai Emery and his Gunners must make sure they win it for the club next season. Otherwise, should they fail to win it next season for the club, (God forbids) that failure if it comes to pass will tantamount to a heinous crime committed against the generality of the Gooners which will not be condoned nor be accepted by the Arsenal faithfuls. For, this none PL or CL Title win in 15 seasons under Monsieur Arsene Wenger, the former Gunners boss reign had seen him against his wish got forced out summarily by the Arsenal board from the club with a year stil to run on his contract deal. But will Unai Emery falls into the same trap of winning only the FA Cup during his time at Arsenal as the Gunners boss? Or us the Gooners will see a departure from that singular Title win but see the club win multiple Titles next season that will include the PL Title win?

    By the way, are Brazil trying to win the World Cup on an European soil again but this time in Eastern Europe where they will now meet Belgium in a quarterfinal match? They could.

  6. Too many new first choice players would most likely be counterproductive as they will take as much as a season to settle in.

  7. Oh Belgium. That’s the kind of performance champions put in. Brazil, lurking, Marcelo doesn’t have Ramos to protect him this time.

    Martinez has a very good plan B and a team fit to win this World Cup and bring favour in two years time when his contract extension is due.

    With players in all of Europe’s top league’s, and an abundance of riches to admire, and the endless options of battering rams to resort to, its a hard kife hey Roberto. I bet Thierry and the gaffer make a wonderfully odd couple.

    Two physical contests in quick succession oust the Ronin, Felaini, game winner. It’s no freak thing when both your subs work, in the way they were intended to.

    Same again.

    France v Uruguay
    Brazil v Belgium
    Russia v Croatia
    Columbia v Switzerland it is then.

    No really I couldn’t begrudge them another round. And then if Russa are the alternative? Losing to the Russians in this political climate, no what’s required is England to spark civil unrest affecting Brits who travelled and all following the Swedes going sold after they send the Swiss packing.

    100% boys Uraguay / Belgium

    Most convincing in the last 16 Brazil

    Collectively formidable Croatia haven’t surprised me at all. They like England, France and Belgium should be better in 2 and 4 years.

    Russia are well aware of the political climate and Putin will have been sure to remind everybody of the worries you may have in life, even out for lunch with your daughter. Such things can befall those who have ….

    Could England make the final? Yes, this half of the pot is rather easy. Although you could get there and find, Belgium, who would then have beaten either tournament favourites and those who best tournament favourites.

    Eden fashionably late as always and Kevin harvesting energy.

  8. Well articulated article but with the kind of front line Arsenal have already we can compete with any team in the world provided we have addressed the issue of defensive midfielder and two central back. Kos and mustafi have not up their game in just recently concluded season. I think the new coach is addressing the problems we ve been facing in recent seasons.

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