Arsenal's defensive crisis!

Last updated : 16 March 2003 By Nicosia Gooner

However, everyone seems to be blaming Cygan, but whose fault was it that we lost possession on the edge of our penalty box which enable Blackburn to score? Ray Parlour who everyone is demanding that he should play in centre midfield alongside Vieira, tried to walk outside the box with the ball and Duff took it away from him for Gillespie to cross in the middle.

As for the 2nd, Dugay runs through the middle unchallenged and Cygan is facing him by himself with Gillespie on his left, all alone; can you imagine the scenario if Cygan had dived in and Dugay had just simply past the ball to Gillespie instead?

Yes, he did kick the ball for a corner when Taylor was behind him, but how many times have you seen Sol,, Adams or Keown do something similar? The simple rule is, if not sure kick it in the stand!

But then, why blame anyone else when Cygan is an easier target?

By the way, I have to say that Van Bronckhorst had a couple of nightmare games in Cole's absence; unfortunately for him, he had to face two of the fastest wingers in the premiership (Gronkjaer and Gillespie) and in addition, he did not get any help from his team mates. What we also have to remember is that our other two options for left back are Juan and Luzhny and they are also out injured, especially Juan who is out for a year.

Has everyone forgotten that for most of the match we were playing with only one player (Lauren) from our regular back five?

Of course, many fans keep going on about Mathew Upson; this is a guy who in the last three years spent most of his time out injured. Unfortunately he was a cursed footballer and every time he made a comeback, a bad injury soon followed. For the first time in 3 years, he managed to get some games under his belt while on loan but of course he became too inpatient; he started talking to the newspapers and the threats that he would leave, followed. What became obvious was that he wasn't an intelligent player; does it take Einstein to work out that Keown at 37 is in his last year? Was he really worried about Cygan? Why couldn't he wait for another 4 months i.e. until the end of the season before he decided to move? Is he better off playing for Birmingham?

Wenger of course is also blamed for allowing him to leave; but don't we know from the past that Wenger doesn't stop “non world class” players from going if they are unhappy? Players such as Petit, Overmars (although the money did help on this occasion), Hartson and Merson come to mind!

Many people on this side keep going on about the “World Class” defenders that we should have in the squad, in addition to Campbell and Keown; apparently, we should have them because we are Arsenal. How arrogant! What world class defenders do you know that are prepared to play second fiddle? If they are so great then they will play first team football for any of the top clubs. Don't you think that Wenger would have bought them if they were available?

So, he bought Cygan, a 28 year old; I remember the day well, because many of our fans crucified Wenger and have not given the guy a chance, even before he kicked a ball for us. Of course he isn't a top class defender; but is he crap? I think not! Has it occurred to anyone that he may have been bought as a short term solution? i.e. until the player that he is looking for becomes available? Wenger has a reputation of waiting until the player that he wants becomes available, so why not this time?

I remember other players that were crucified when they first arrived; the worse case was of course none other than our friend Pires, a player that now is considered to be one the best players in the world. I remember when I was receiving continuous abuse for trying to defend him; it seems nothing has changed. Of course I am not trying to place Cygan in the same category as Pires but if players such as Pires needs time to settle in, why not Cygan. Do you remember how long it took Stam to settle in? Do you remember the abuse he received?

I challenge anyone to name the “World Class” reserve defenders for any of these teams: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax or even closer home, Liverpool and ManU.


Most of you are too young to remember but perhaps you should ask your dads or older brothers / sisters to tell you what a real bad centre half is; ask them if they remember players such as Ian Ure, John Roberts, Terry Mancini, Jeff Blockley and to a lesser extent Andy Linigan.

Who would I go for in the summer? Well, here are my choices in order of preference:

1) John Terry of Chelsea but this is very unlikely because Bates would rather die than allow any of his players join Arsenal.

2) Gallas and in this case, if the rumours regarding the £7.5 clause in his contract is true, then I would say we have an excellent chance; he is a proven premiership class defender who will be France's centre half for year's to come.

3) Mexes is another player than I have been very impressed every time I watched him and he has made it very clear that he would love to play for us.

4) Chivu is my final choice; he looks a great defender but I have only seen him play more as a sweeper rather than a typical centre half. What I am really saying is that I have not seen enough to know whether he is as good as the ones above.