Arsenal’s defense is a mess in a good way and a bad, so going into this summer, let’s just take these three guys off the table right away.
Arsenal‘s defense has shaped up in a way that can only be described as borderline magic. Mikel Arteta has taken two centerbacks notorious for poor defending—Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz—and built it into a top-three Premier League defense.
He’s taken injuries to every single fullback and found ways to keep clean sheets. It’s truly remarkable and has to be attributed to a change in defensive philosophy and tactics. Because nothing else has changed other than personnel thinning out even more than expected.
But that doesn’t mean we should just be content with the state of this defense going into the summer. Just because Luiz and Mustafi is working doesn’t mean it’s the best way to move this defense forward.
In fact, you could argue that the defense is about to be over-encumbered by a mass of bodies. Without injuries or loans, we have David Luiz, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Konstantinos Mavropanos, William Saliba, Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares, Kieran Tierney, and Sead Kolasinac. That’s a grand total of eight centerbacks and four fullbacks.
Time to thin the herd and focus on what’s important. But in doing so, we have to preserve some previous names. There are only three names that absolutely cannot be sold under any circumstances. Here are those three names.
(Note: I didn’t include William Saliba, as we obviously aren’t selling him.)
We start with No. 3.
3. Hector Bellerin
Perhaps controversial to include him here since he’s been in poor form lately, but the guy is coming off a serious injury and has proven so much in the past that we should never, ever doubt what he is capable of. Ever.
Bellerin is a world-class rightback when he’s healthy, and it’s just a matter of time before he gets back to that standard. We can’t do better than him with the financial restraints we’re undoubtedly going to have so do not sell under any circumstances.
On to No. 2.