If we were to say, Seaman, Adams, Keown. Or Schmeichel, Bruce and Pallister, or Cech, Terry and Carvalho, you begin to see the bigger picture. Rather than a back four, there is a triangle of solidity, something, that over the years has proven the difference in claiming a Premiership title or not.
For Arsenal, beating Chelsea 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium was quickly forgotten about when they were unable to hold a Wigan Athletic side that had been reduced to 10 men. Defensive frailties will cost and will cost dearly.
Obviously the North London team are not out of the title race at this early stage but one wonders whether their current defensive triangle has the metal to make it to the very top and put their names alongside Arsenal greats like Seaman, Adams and Keown.
Arsene Wenger has scoured the transfer market in the last 18 months and acquired, what he believes to be a group of players that can add calmness at the back. Thomas Vermaelen is certainly one player who can make a very big difference, regardless of whom he plays for, he is a quality signing.
Unfortunately, with the former Ajax centre-back injured until the New Year, Arsenal do look very prone to leaking goals. With Vermaelen out, there seems to be an edginess in Arsenal’s defending, players like Squillaci and Koscielny are a far cry from what one would call “solid” and they will need to change fast should they wish to remain Gunners by the end of the season.
A positive from the Chelsea game came in Djourou, who did well considering the threat of Didier Drogba and the likes of him being partnered with Vermaelen in the future does look tasty.
This then leaves the goalkeeping question to answer. A question that Wenger must surely lose sleep over from time to time, of course openly he will back all his goal keepers to provide them with the confidence they require, and, no matter how hard it might be to sometimes say it, there is some very good potential in Fabianski and Mannone.
There are perhaps two or three top quality goal keeping options that Arsene Wenger will likely explore during the summer but he will have to move fast and there will be competition for them involved. The obvious choice comes with Schalke 04’s Manuel Neuer, a quality international who will add real solidity to Arsenal’s defence.
The defensive issues at Arsenal will continue this season, and their attackers will have to score a lot more goals to keep up in the title race, however, with patience, and with a high quality signing in the keeping position, a solid triangle of Neuer, Vermaehlen and Squillaci could be the foundation that Wenger and his attacking players need to clinch their first major trophy in five years.