The comments section has been quite active throughout the day and there's definitely a debate of sorts going on. Some of the readers have been talking about old and new and whether Arsene has done an adequate job in replacing the last team with the new team. So let's take a look at the teams and player's Arsene's had and how the current crop compare.
David Seaman, Jens Lehmann and Matty Almunia
So who was the best goalkeeper out of the three? I’d have to say big old Dave without a doubt. I’m sure most of you would agree. Seaman in his prime was an immense player. He only made a few mistakes is his whole career (all of them highly publicised) and if ever a keeper saved us points during a season, it was the golden oldie himself. Lehmann was his successor and in his first season was outstanding – remember he was the only keeper to go a whole season without losing a game. Both Seaman and Lehmann maybe stayed a season too long and this was apparent in their falling from grace. Finally, when Almunia joined us – an unknown goalkeeper plucked out of “La Liga Secunda Divisionio” [replace with correct spelling]. One of his early first team Carling Cup was against Man United, if I am correct, where his fumble in the first minute or so cost us the game. He’s been a steady keeper and not done anything majorly wrong. His performance against Sp*rs was probably one of the most questionable, but his recent captaincy also showed his desire and leadership quality. What’s your verdict?
Nigel Winterburn, Ashely Cole and Gael Clichy
Should Flamini have been included, well not really based on his position, although he did play admirably in our Champions League run in 2006. Should Sylvinho be included, maybe because of his goal against Chelsea… But in reality, let’s compare the three above. Winterburn obviously was part of a formidable back four, probably the best defender out of the three, but you’re looking at Winterburn at a time when he was about 7 years older than Clichy, so is it fair to compare? Of course it is. Clichy’s work-rate and desire stands out as his qualities. He’s been incredible, shown immense stamina and courageous running. Clichy’s spirit is what’s it’s all about. I’ve never seen such emotion from a left back. He’s currently strained from the pressure of losing and he’s made a few mistakes recently. The one thing about Gael is you know that you he will learn from his mistakes. I felt so sorry for the guy when he scored the own goal on the weekend because you know he was trying so hard. Winterburn or Clichy? (Cole is disloyal, money grabbing **** so is automatically excluded).
Lee Dixon, Lauren and Bacary Sagna
So, as I write this, I swear I am missing an awesome right back. Okay, so Lee Dixon, whom we used to love, the no-nonsense Man City supporter. A fierce defender and deft crosser of the ball. But as Lee Dixon has started his media career, he’s lost some of his old shine. So over to Lauren. He was a player’s player. He was pretty good going forward, and did take a nervy penalty that equalled a win against Sp*rs. Sagna is the current right back and there is something very solid about him as a player. He’s rarely puts a foot wrong. He has a cross on him, can also get stuck in and is a good header of the ball. The major worry nowadays is that the player is becoming increasing injury prone. Ah, the awesome right back I forgot was actually Eboue – yes, he was awesome for one season, 2006 and then last year and this year, he’s regressed into the player that was at Beveren. No, Luzhny was surely the awesome rigt back?
Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Steve Bould, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Senderos, Stephanovs and…
The centre back list just rolls of the tongue and there have been some great centre backs. Again, who am I missing? Tony Adams and Martin Keown stand out as a great partnership. A simple no nonsense approach to defending. Ball in the air, first one to head it wins. If in doubt, get it out. Take the ball, and if it takes it, take the man too. Campbell and Toure were pretty good together too, and there’s a theme forming here. A tall no nonsense defender, with a slightly more ball playing one. Sol at his prime, was awesome. He literally defended everything. I remember times when it felt that he was a one man wall. But he lost it mentally when his abilities started failing him… which brings me to Senderos. He’s a pretty damn good defender and at the start of his career, when his place in the team was debatable, he excelled next to Toure. But as the place became his, youthful energy turned into the inconsistency and mistakes. He was shipped off to Milan and Gallas and Silvestre have now taken the mantle. The jury is still out…
Okay, I wanted to do the whole team tonight, but it’s taken me about an hour whilst watching house to get this far… so let’s just discuss the back five…