What’s Arsenal’s best centre-back pairing now?

Ollie Irish

30th, July 2009


Arsenal’s central defenders, at time of writing:
William Gallas
Philippe Senderos
Mikael Silvestre
Thomas Vermaelen
Johan Djourou

The Kolo Touré-shaped hole is large, but despite the Ivorian’s undoubted class, he never played particularly well alongside Billy Gallas; the two didn’t get along off the pitch and that showed on it. Because when you talk about central defenders, it’s important to talk about partnerships, not individuals. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are fine players in their own right, but together they’re even better. By contrast, the Gallas/Touré axis was less than the sum of its parts.
So while many Gooners would have rather ditched Gallas and kept Touré, the fact is Gallas now has the chance to form a solid defensive relationship with a new partner.
Gallas/Vermaelen would seem to be the most obvious partnership, but that’s a lot to ask of the Belgian in his first season. And of course there’s the possibility that Arsene Wenger will bring in a new central defender before the new season begins. Brede Hangeland maybe?
In Wenger’s shoes, who would you play at the heart of a new-look Arsenal defence?
I would have to go with Gallas/Vermaelen, hoping that the former Ajax player hits the ground running.

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  1. Kipp says:

    Well there is no other option, who in their right mind would leave out vermaelen or gallas for the others? Senderos i never have rated and it’ll take a vidic like season for me to believe. Silvestre is past it, Djourou is a defensive midfielder.
    Arsene is all for raising players from youth, but he has to be ruing not getting Kompany due to price fear. He’d be immense for Arsenal

  2. Ollie says:

    Yeah, exactly. Gallas / Senderos could do a decent job though. Vermaelen really won’t have any time to settle in though. One mistake and people will be on his back.

  3. Goonerboy says:

    They looked stunning yesterday.

  4. Goonerboy says:

    They looked stunning yesterday.

  5. Nick Galea says:

    I think Wenger will have Gallas-Vermalen first choice – why else spend £10m on an unknown defender.I cant judge him yet but think Djourou and Song can compete with him for a CB spot.None are great tho so wish we buy Hangeland who will solve our height problems…second choice would be Upson.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Vermaelen is far from an unknown defender…
    I think it has to be gallas/vermaelen. But i dont believe thats a good enough partnership for a team in the top four.

  7. gooner red says:

    I think that Arshavin and Nasri as a CB pairing fit
    the Wenger mould perfectly – technically gifted – under 5ft 4ins and completely bloody useless at defending corners and set pieces.
    Bring in Hangeland !!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Has everyone forgotten Gallas only has a year left on his contract? there are rumours of him departing for France on a free next year. I’m totally mystified by Wenger’s long-term strategy here. He gets rid of a die-hard Arsenal defender, replaces him with an EPL novice (who is too short) and perserveres with an ageing french back-up, a defender with the turning circle of an oil tanker who cr@ps himself everytime he claps eyes on Drogba, and someone who seems to be a little bit too injury prone for my liking.

  9. Ollie says:

    LOL at Gooner Red!

  10. Anonymous says:

    “despite the Ivorian’s undoubted class”
    Erm… Toure has been pathetically bad for three years.
    Gallas – Vermaelen looks MUCH better.

  11. Colin says:

    I would put Vermaelen & Senderos would be a strong pair with Gallas as a sub for them.

  12. Ollie says:

    @ Anon: you may have heard the old saying about form being temporary etc.
    Toure has been average by his high standards since he contracted malaria in Africa. Before that he was nothing less than world-class.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “Before that he was nothing less than world-class.”
    He really wasnt. It is nice to think that malaria was the reason for his decline because it makes us remember him so fondly, only stricken down by a virus, but he was terrible before it.

  14. Kip says:

    Wenger don’t disappoint us this season..,,sign Huntlaar & Hangeland and that would be perfect for Arsenal.
    Arsenal for life

  15. arsenalwaps says:

    Wenger knows what he is doing.
    Vermaelen & Gallas 1st (Both have plenty of experience.
    I dont think that the AJAX captain would be a shit player)
    Senderos & Djourou 2nd (These two have worked together for years)
    I think it was a clever move to sell Adebayor and Toure with the african cup of nations coming up and these two players would be out anyway.Now we have the money in the bank. The transfer window is open the end of August so we have plenty of time.
    I believe we could play a 4-2-3-2 formation against teams like Chelsea,Liverpool,Manu tightening up the back
    Bendtner-Van Persie
    The team looks good to me.
    Subs Eduardo,Rosicky,Vela,Gibbs,Denilson
    If we sign Huntelaar / Hangeland aswell we are sorted.

  16. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I reakon the pairing will be Gallas & Vieira

  17. Anonymous says:

    good line up but i think youll find that is 12 players

  18. DT says:

    It’s Gallas and Vermaelen. Obviously. This is a waste of everybody’s time. WAATP -1 “good website” point. That leaves you with -1348984

  19. dan love says:

    mate i cant believe u made a team with 12 players

  20. wllmhll says:

    Vermaelen & Gallas will be the pairing for the first game i reckon

  21. Goons_with_Guns says:

    Nice one,arsenalwaps, like this formation: you should be in Pat Rice’s shoes!

  22. sammy says:

    ipersonally think vame/gallas combination will do the magic for Arsenal,but wenger shop please buy a very good DM a player like flamini who can win balls on the field of play. Gunners 4 life.

  23. machine goooner funk says:

    i saw vermaelen/djourou play the other night and they looked great. however i’m sure that le boss will play gallas with the first XI and not djourou but djourou’s athleticism and height/youth/speed puts him a cut above right now and given a little slack could really blossom for us. gallas is still class but not world class, also senderos should be kept as cover especially b/c he has such potential even though he has stumbled when given chances in the past.

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