How Arsenal's new-look defence are turning their season around
Arsenal moved into joint fourth in the Premier League on Saturday with a convincing 2-0 victory over Leicester City in the early kick off.
While the club may end up moving down the league table by a position or two when the rest of the league plays their games, it was undoubtedly another stellar performance fuelled by the club’s new-look defence.
Although goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe were what put Arsenal in front, it was remarkable goalkeeping from Aaron Ramsdale and defending from the players in front of him that truly put Leicester to the sword and claimed all three points.
The win at the King Power stadium means Mikel Arteta’s side have conceded just four goals in their last seven league games and finally look like a team ready to challenge for a top four finish.
Foundations built on smart, defensive signings
The real turn around in Arsenal’s season came after the disastrous 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in late August.
That day Arsenal started with a back five of Kieran Tierney, Callum Chambers, Jacob Ramsey, Rob Holding and Cedric Soares, along with Bernd Leno in goals. Fast forward two months and only one of those players is still a starter in Arteta’s squad.
Indeed, the club had bigger plans for its defence, signing Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the summer transfer window. And in one form or another, each has gone on to add something new to Arteta’s side and help the Spanish manager turn his club’s season around.
Prior to Saturday’s test at Leicester, only three clubs had conceded fewer goals than Arteta’s new-look Arsenal in the last five Premier League match days. They’ve now conceded just four in their last seven games.
Where they were once abject in possession, inaccurate in front of goal and comical in defence, the London club now look well-drilled and capable of nullifying some of the best attacking players in the division.
Arsenal may not reach their goal of finishing in the top four this season, but if they do they’ll do it off the back of strong, defensive performances thanks to the players signed in the summer window.