Search

Arsenal exclusive: Wenger doesn’t need big signings to compete for title

11:31 21 May 2012

Lukas Podolski

Lukas Podolski

EMPICS Sport

Change in playing style is key, not new players, says former Gunner Stewart Robson

Former Arsenal star Stewart Robson says Arsene Wenger does NOT have to spend big in the summer to mount a title challenge next season.

But he believes if the Gunners are to make up ground on the two Manchester sides, hard work on the training ground at London Colney coupled with a massive shift in the club’s playing style are the two key factors to make that happen.

Arsenal finished the season in third place – sealing automatic qualification to the group stages of the Champions league for a 15th consecutive season – some achievement after their worst start to a league campaign for 58 years.

But in the process, a porous defence leaked 49 goals in 38 Premier League matches – the worst ratio of goals conceded since the 1983/84 campaign when Don Howe’s struggling side shipped 60 in 42 Division One games.

And that, says Robson – a member of that side 28 years ago – is what is holding the current Arsenal outfit back.

“It is not about buying new players,” Robson told London24. “Look, it’s always nice to get new faces in – and we have done already with the signing of Lukas Podolski from Cologne – but this is more about working with the players we have got and making some big changes to how we play.

“If we are to challenge, if we are to improve, then it is all about Arsene Wenger needing to get a clear, coherent, defensive strategy drilled into the squad.”

Robson believes Wenger’s new No2, Steve Bould – a three-times title winner at Highbury as part of the Gunners’ miserly defence of the 1980s and 90s – could play a key role, but only if he is allowed to do so.

“Steve Bould was a great defender and can bring much to the role on the defensive side. But we do not know what influence he will have as Arsene Wenger’s right hand man,” says Robson. “If he is given scope to make these changes he could really make a difference.

“What is clear is that they simply have to get that defensive game right. We have the players there to improve and make an impact next season – but the style has to change. Until that happens they will only be a good team, not a great team.

“This team needs to start consistently defending well, getting in the habit of keeping clean sheets. There is no point in full-backs bombing forward if there is no strategy when we lose the ball.

“Steve Bould may have ideas and Arsene Wenger will do. If Steve has some influence they have to work together to marry their two philosophies and make them compatible.

“The fact remains that even if Arsenal went out right now and bought the four best defenders in the world, if they keep their current style they will not make any real difference.

“We need to defend more from the front, we need to be disciplined and to make sure the defence always has cover in front of it. These are the fundamentals that title-winning sides have. You don’t see poor defences win leagues. We have the players to do it.”

Robson, now a highly-respected pundit, believes there is much to build on after one of the strangest seasons in Arsenal’s recent history, which saw the Gunners hammered 8-2 at Manchester United, but score five past Chelsea and Tottenham and be the last side to beat champions Manchester City.

“Considering where they were last August, after Old Trafford and then losing at Blackburn, Arsenal have finished in a great position, no doubt about it,” adds Robson.

“But, frankly, I am still disappointed overall. They recovered well but it is all about winning trophies and Arsenal haven’t won one again – this is another season with no silverware and it is frustrating, especially with the talent we have at the club. That has to change. Next season Arsenal must be serious contenders.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

07:30

John Simpson wants Middlesex’s County Championship title triumph to be the first of many after they wrenched the crown from Yorkshire in thrilling fashion.

Yesterday, 15:41

Goalkeeper Megen Lynch is expecting a physical battle when Spurs Ladies host C&K Basildon on Sunday and says her team-mates will have to earn the right to play the football that has taken them to the top of the league.

Yesterday, 12:00

Ex-Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand is tipping Marcus Edwards to be “the next big thing” at White Hart Lane, and possibly at international level too.

Yesterday, 10:30

Stevie Eskinazi admits it may be hard to top the satisfaction of helping Middlesex to County Championship glory in the rest of his career.

Yesterday, 09:00

Harry Winks believes Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy is ideally suited to his talents – and he is itching to get more opportunities to play alongside Tottenham’s internationals.

Yesterday, 07:00

Hampstead are setting the early pace at the top of London Division Two North-West – and head coach Peter Breen believes his side will hit another gear if they can maintain their momentum for the next fortnight.

Wed, 17:10

Teenage speedster Brandon Abraham narrowly missed out on his third Rookie Trophy in the final race of the British Super One Series.

Wed, 17:05

While most cricket fans inside Lord’s and beyond were entranced by the exciting spectacle that unfolded on Friday, there were also some voicing outrage.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now