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Thierry Henry identifies defensive vulnerabilities in Arsenal despite dominant victories

Theirry Henry is very impressed with the current trajectory of Arsenal but is concerned with a perceived defensive vulnerability

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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry
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Thierry Henry has agreed with Jamie Carragher that Arsenal are the best team in Europe defensively but warned of a weakness when defending their own box.

Despite currently occupying the third spot in the league table behind Liverpool and Manchester City, Arsenal boasts an unparalleled defensive record this season. Mikel Arteta’s team has conceded the fewest goals and secured the most clean sheets in the division. 

Arsenal leads in various defensive statistics, including expected goals against, shots on target faced, and opposition touches in the opposition box. Their expected goal difference, a key performance indicator often associated with title-winning teams, also positions them ahead of their rivals in first place.

Speaking on Monday Night Football before Arsenal’s impressive 6-0 win over Sheffield United, Carragher acknowledged the defensive improvements that have strengthened Arsenal’s title aspirations. 

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta provides injury updates on Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli following 6-0 win over Sheffield United

“At times at the start of the season, I doubted whether Arsenal could win the league because of the lack of goals,” he commented. “Yes, they have started scoring goals now, but another solution is to be better defensively.”

Henry concurred with Carragher’s assessment but sounded a note of caution regarding defending crosses. “One of the things you need to do as a coach is see the team that you have,” Henry stated. “Mikel Arteta wants to play high, and I think Arsenal are at their best when they are like that. Players like Saliba, like Gabriel – an outstanding partnership – benefit from the way Arsenal play.”

However, Henry pointed out that teams playing a high defensive line, including Arsenal, can be vulnerable when defending crosses into their box. Citing instances from games against West Ham, Nottingham Forest, and Liverpool, Henry highlighted moments when the opponents capitalised on crosses from wide positions.

“Every time we are in those situations, we don’t often defend the ball well,” he observed. “Full credit for not being in those positions. That is why a lot of teams don’t get a lot of shots. But when we have to defend our box, we suffer at times.”

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