Arsenal, 5 Years of Shaping: Comparing this Year’s Arsenal to 2010, Part Three

Mandatory Credit: Paul Hudson via Flickr Creative Commons
Mandatory Credit: Paul Hudson via Flickr Creative Commons /

For the Final segment of comparing this title contending Arsenal team with the Arsenal team from 2010, it is time to compare the defense, which is without a doubt the biggest difference. Arsenal have always been praised for their vibrant and beautiful football and every year have been a top top club in the final third. Yet, what was holding the Gunners back all those years after the move to the Emirates was a quite horrendous back line compared to the other top 4 sides.

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The leader of Arsenal’s back line for the 2010 season was supposed to be Thomas Vermaelen, or at the time due to his great form, the Verminator. Perhaps if he wasn’t limited to 5 appearances the team would have achieved more, or anything for that matter, but a back line cannot rely on one player. Since 2009 when Vermaelen broke out he has gotten worse each year and continued to stay injury prone, but hey, he got us around 10 million from Barcelona for his services.

Without Vermaelen there, the central defense duties fell directly on the shoulders of a first year Koscienly and Johan Djourou; if that doesn’t strike fear into a top forward, then they must be a pretty decent striker. Koscielny showed flashes of what makes him such a world-class center-half today but struggled in his first year with discipline and decision making; coupled with this was Djourou’s overall performances, albeit not terrible but never top 4 quality.

Squillaci was our back up center back.

In regards to our full backs at the time we were in much better shape than in the middle of defense, Sagna was in his prime and so unbelievably consistent and reliable, with cult hero and hilarious teammate Eboue backing him up.

On the left there was a young Gibbs trying to break into the first team over Clichy, although Clichy moved on to win a title at City, I never rated him too highly. He had definite pace but lacked the grit to be a top full back in the premier league.

Finally, in between the sticks was a first year Szczesny who really did well for his age, but the fact that he was our best option said a lot.

Five years and way too many humbling defeats to top rivals and small clubs as well, our defense is in another stratosphere compared to the shambolic one of 2010. Arsenal, always known for their brilliant attacking, now finally have a respectable and reliable back line.

Koscielny has fully transformed into Bosscielny, easily a top 5 center back in the league. He is also the perfect complement to our vice(real) captain Per, the BFG. Their combination of speed, outrageous slowness, bravery, and brilliant intelligence has made their pairing formidable.

Backing them up are two very promising young players in Gabriel who seems like he could be a young Kos, and Chambers, who doesn’t seem too different from a young Per.

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Again, our full-backs are extremely strong, even stronger than 2010. Gibbs is still a very promising left back but still can’t seem to grasp the starting spot fully due to the brave, composed and sturdy performances of Monreal.

On the right is the most exciting again even with no more Sagna; however there is undoubtedly a young star in the making at the position now with Hector Bellerin racing down the right sideline. Not to mention, there’s Debuchy, an experienced international behind him.

If all of this wasn’t enough evidence that Arsenal have stepped it up defensively, then just look at the 6 foot 7 inch boss in between the sticks, Petr Cech. A goalkeeping legend who just brings an air of calmness and confidence to the back line, the best goalie we’ve had for over a decade.

Overall, looking at parts 1, 2, and now 3, this Arsenal side is much more balanced, talented, and simply better than the one 5 years ago, and it is firmly ready to challenge for the title. If all the offensive weapons don’t convince you, just look at our defense; compare it to that of 2010 and if that’s still not enough, look at Liverpool and United’s defenses this year…then laugh.

Next: The Comparison Pt. 2

Next: The Comparison Pt. 1

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