A Really Poor Season
The Arsenal defence. One of the greatest enigmas in the Premier League era. This team went a whole season unbeaten, yet have conceded the most goals of any team in the top 6 this season (26).
Even Liverpool have conceded fewer goals this year, a team who have been ridiculed for the last few years without any let up from opposition fans for their abysmal defence.
This has to be in part down to a decline in goalkeeping ability at the club. While Petr Cech does so much for the defence in terms of organisation and aerial presence, his shot-stopping and decision making have gone downhill this season.
This year has seen Cech concede 1.24 goals per game. Last season he conceded only 1.06 goals per game, and in his first season with the club he conceded fewer goals than he played games with 0.91 per game.
His performances have certainly been lacking this season, but he hasn’t been helped at all by the back five in front of him.
The Whole Defence
One defender who has been in excellent form this season is the German centre-back, Shkodran Mustafi. He has played 12 games in the league for Arsenal, and has racked up 7 clean sheets, at a rate of 0.58 per game.
The closest defender to him is Nacho Monreal, who has hit 0.47 clean sheets per game. Monreal has been injured in the last few weeks, and the team has certainly suffered as a result.
Koscielny is an excellent centre back, and has been our most consistent performer, pretty much since his error in the League Cup Final in 2011. But this season he has been on the wrong end of a number of amateur mistakes.
He has put together 0.44 clean sheets per game this year, which is a superb return, but in comparison to previous performances, should be better.
Bellerin is another player who has been getting a lot of stick from Arsenal fans for his games this year, and his 0.43 clean sheets per game certainly don’t help his cause.
In short, the Arsenal defence has been below par this season. Considering their defensive displays in recent years, that is certainly saying something.
The only hope can be that the team makes serious amends, without the use of a £75m Dutch centre-back.