At Arsenal, it has been a running joke that our defending can be horrendous at times and that we regularly concede ridiculous goals. Part of that is down to being an attacking team, so our defenders are obviously more exposed, Arsene Wenger’s philosophy (or lack thereof) on defending, and the fact that we actually had one of the best defences the country has ever seen, when Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon played week in week out.
However, on top of that we have had some just awful defenders at the club.
There’s that old wives tale that Dennis Bergkamp faced Igor Stepanovs in a pre-season friendly and was so impressed he told Wenger that he was one hell of a defender, which was enough for Arsene to splash out on the Latvian, who was then seen as the long term successor to Tony Adams (Yes, I know!). The highlight of his Arsenal career was the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 2000, and things didn’t really get any better for him.
Amongst other defenders who have struggled at the club include Sebastien Squillaci and Pascal Cygan, both French defenders who were prone to mistakes at the back. And somehow amazingly, Squillaci was actually a French international…
To more recent times, and who could forget about the irrepressible Andre Santos? The Brazilian lived up to his billing, being a defender who didn’t actually defend. His positive outlook and style of play was welcomed at times but at others (when you know, he was supposed to defend?) it wasn’t so great. But with Santos you knew what you got with him, he was a free spirit and you knew he was an awful defender and he didn’t even try and make out he was a good one. And also, he scored a great goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when we smashed them 5-3, so decent memories.
Then we come to the man we all love to hate. How has this man won the World Cup? The conundrum is up there with how Wes Brown has more trophies than Alan Shearer. I guess you just need to be in the right place at the right time, and it’s not what you know but who you know. The best way I can describe Mustafi is that he was probably the kit man for the German national side but then they had a few injuries and he was asked for fill in for a couple of training sessions. Then, people kind of forgot what happened and he was just “there”, and then he managed to stick around long enough to “win” a World Cup medal. That’s really the only explanation.
Anyway, after all that it’s time to cast your vote. Who do you think is the worst Arsenal defender of all time? It’s a hard choice as the quality of candidates is so high (or should that be so low) but you can only vote for one!
Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.