Here we are with another week of Arsenal’s worst XI and today we look at the centre back position. Now there have been over the years some truly awful centre backs so this will be some decision to make. So, without further ado, have a read of the selected dross and make your choice:
Was Cygan really that bad? OK, he could defend but he was prone to making some shocking errors. Signed by Arsene Wenger in 2002 for £2m from Lille, he was bought in as a commanding defender.
Believe it or not the Frenchman actually has a Premier League winners medal in the 2003/04 season as well as two FA Cup wins. Was he really that bad? Well the song from the terraces may clear that up ‘He’s bald, he’s s**t, he plays when no ones fit’. He certainly deserves to be on this list.
Ian Ure arrived at Arsenal with a reputation of a good defender, he left as a poor one. Singed in 1963 for £62,000, Ure had European experience surely he was good. Well his inclusion may be harsh, clearly the management saw potential in the Scottish centre back and he was hit with injuries. But it’s his performances in the League Cup finals in both 1968 and 1969 that led to his inclusion, having not played well and making a mistake that gifted Swindon Town’s goal.
For a player who had looked good elsewhere, Arsenal just was not for him. He still made 202 appearances for the club and admittedly Arsenal were not the force they were to become, but for Ure, there is no escaping this list.
It has always been a surprise that the signing of Squillaci failed to work out. He arrived as an experienced defender, one who had played international football. He was exactly what the club required, and for £4m it seemed to make sense.
However what soon became clear, was that Squillaci was not good enough for this level of football. He had no pace, didn’t seem committed and made error after error that propelled him onto this list.
He stayed at the club for three years making 28 appearances. How he lasted three years was simple, the club couldn’t get rid of him and he had no intentions of leaving.
What can we say about Gus Caesar? He has a whole chapter written about his in Nick Hornby’s book, Fever Pitch, he came through the Arsenal ranks and he was quite simply one of Arsenal’s worst ever players.
What Caesar lacked was confidence, but he was a nervy player, and one who would make high profile mistakes. It was an injury to David O’Leary that gave the English man his chance in the 1987/88 season. But from the off you could tell that this was not for him. He lacked assurance when one on one with an attacker and none more so in the League Cup final against Luton Town. With Arsenal looking comfortable at 2-1 with seven minutes remaining, Caesar struck. His miskicked clearance from his own penalty area allowed Luton to score. A game we eventually lost 3-2.
He was a terrible player and you wonder just how Caeser managed to play 50 games in an Arsenal shirt. He was quite simply a liability whenever he played. Thanks for the memories Gus.
One of Arsene Wenger’s worst signings could well be the big centre back. Signed in 2000 for £1.35m from Skonto, he was brought as the club were struggling at the back. In fact it all started so well for Stepanovs, playing regularly and looking, well a defender. Or so we thought. Arsenal faced Manchester United next and were soundly taken apart by a rampant United 6-1. No player played well but Stepanovs was shocking, suddenly he couldn’t defend, he couldn’t pass, he couldn’t turn, in fact he was so poor that day that he was hardly ever seen again.
How he managed 31 matches for the club is astounding, and as we know, Ray Parlour and some of the other Arsenal players are the reason Igors was signed at all. Even Parlour couldn’t believe it when the Latvian was signed by Wenger. Deserves his place as one of the worst centre backs ever to grace an Arsenal shirt.
It was never going to be easy for Blockley having been signed as the player to replace double winning captain Frank McLintock, in fact Blockley was on a hiding to nothing. With the team struggling for form the centre back was made something of a scapegoat by the Arsenal faithful. Of course making a howler against Sunderland in the semi final that saw Arsenal knocked out didn’t help.
The club were struggling in the league and the English man was struggling in defence. It didn’t help that Bertie Mee claimed that signing Blockley was his biggest mistake.
He lasted three years at the club before being moved on to Leicester City where he began to revive his career.
For Jeff, well he had lost his self belief and looked so devoid of confidence that the last thing he needed was supporters and management on his back. But he still managed 62 appearances for the club, but you may be hard pressed to find a decent run of form for poor Blockley.
So there you have it, our worst centre backs to have appeared in the famous Arsenal shirts. Next week we will have a look at some of the worst midfielders to have graced the famous Arsenal turf.