Arsenal: The Holding Midfielder Debate - My Arsenal Blog

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Arsenal: The Holding Midfielder Debate

Posted on July 20, 2013 by Crippy Cooke

This summer has seen Arsenal linked with many attacking options, but little in the way of defence. Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue one of the most notable, but should Arsenal be stepping up their bid to find a holding midfielder?

Folllowing Alex Song’s move to Barcelona last summer, Abou Diaby was looked upon by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his replacement, but an injury sustained early on in the season ruled him out of action.

Mikel Arteta very briefly filled the void in playing in front of the defence, but the Gunners have certainly lacked a natural defensive midfielder in games. Somebody combative who breaks up the play and simply lays it on for a more creative player to thread balls through.

Many feel this could be the difference between Arsenal challenging for trophies next season, and had expected this summer to be a hunt for ‘the new Patrick Vieira‘.

According to the Metro, Bayern Munich midfielder Luis Gustavo has been linked with Arsenal, but there has been no further word from either camp. The Gunners have two players in the side who would regard themselves as holding midfielders, and one of them has already been loaned out to SC Freiburg – Francis Coquelin.

Their other choice, Emmanuel Frimpong, spent last season on loan at Fulham – making six Premier League appearances. While still very inexperienced, the 21-year old could well find himself given more game time next season as the hunt goes on.

With the form shown by Arsenal at the tail end of last season to snatch the final Champions League place from bitter rivals Tottenham, are they really in desperate need for a combative midfielder? Or are they content to utilise the players they have in order to adapt?

5 to “Arsenal: The Holding Midfielder Debate”

  1. arsenal-steve says:

    I am and have been at a loss to understand why Wenger has not siogned Etienne Capoue. He is positionally made to measure for this club and he a fine alpha dominating player to boot. Everything about him is Viera/Gilberto style. He is a quality player and could be signed for a relatively small fee. He is about 24 so has at least 6 years top football ahead of him. Wages wise he would not cost the earth. Ple Mr Bean, Arsene sign him. Sign Bernard too and make us so happy that we will forgive you.

  2. frank says:

    Arsenal play with a passer and a runner, just like MU. Carrick and Cleverly + Arteta and Ramsey.

    No need for a out and out DM at all, unless we need cover.

    Seems to be working too, given we had the second best defense in the PL, better than most of those playing with a “Destroyer type”.

  3. WC says:

    Arteta can do a job there but it’s not his natural position and he’s not the type of player to engage in mind games. However mind games are an important part of sport and the likes of Vieira and Gilberto were fantastic at it. Patrick had no problems coming in hard to let you know who is the midfield boss and who is running the middle of the pitch. Gilberto was the master of the small fouls, giving the opposition free kicks in useless positions while breaking up their rhythm. Arteta doesn’t do this, he’s reactive and chases the ball because he’s slow and not particularly physical.

  4. pizzy_05 says:

    Lovely title for an article, though a bit underwhelmed with the lack of research in the content.

    Arsenal fans continue the search for a ‘new Vieira’, obviously romanticising the glory days of the invicibles, and it is easy to understand why; since the same Vieira converted the spot kick that won us the FA cup in 2005 and lifted the trophy, we have been waiting for the next trophy we will see lifted. There is also the fact that Arsenal fans tend to think that a good defensive midfielder must be a hard tackling, punch pulling, pugnacious bully that will physically bully opposing teams in the middle. I strongly disagree with this notion, and Wenger seem not too worried over this issue too. In another comment, I will mention my points

  5. pizzy_05 says:

    I feel we are ok in midfield, especially with Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere and Diaby in the holding/water carrier/box to box roles. Coquelin’s loan move makes an addition imperative, but I can only see a Ginter-esque acquision happening; a young technically sound defender who is comfortable in front of the back four.
    Coming back to the defensive midfield debate, Arteta’s effort since his arrival shows that he is our best player by miles for that position, and he even ranks as one of the best in the league in that position. Indeed, Mikel Arts has taken to the defensive midfield position in our formation like a duck to water.
    Mikel’s stats for 2012/2013 season:
    2270 passes completed; 92% success
    109 tackles; 69% success
    99 interceptions (2.91/match)
    2 defensive errors; 33 failed tackles
    23 dispossesions
    5.3 long passes per match
    47% non-offensive (sideways and back) passes

    Beats Song at his best for Arsenal, at per with the best defensive midfielder for the season, that is, Carrick, in the top ten of midfielders across europe…
    Man, if it aint broke, dont fix it…

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