Szczesny: Arsenal defence not to blame

Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny believes the team's defenders should not be blamed for the goals conceded in this campaign.

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Fixtures such as Arsenal's 3-2 win over Brighton in the FA Cup or their pulsating 7-3 Premier League victory over Newcastle last year were just some of the games during which the Gunners conceded more goals than Arsene Wenger would have liked.

Although most critics deem the Arsenal defence the team's weak link, Szczesny told The Guardian that the Gunners' playing style was always going to leave them at risk of leaking a high number of goals.

"Over a long time I've honestly had enough of people saying Arsenal's defence is not good enough. People judge defence on the back of goals conceded but you have to have a look at the defending in general. If my back four are completely exposed against Chelsea - most of the time in the first half there it was four of my defenders against six Chelsea players - they were disadvantaged all the time," he explained

"Of course sometimes people make mistakes but very often the Arsenal defenders have been criticised too much. It gets to public opinion and once people give you a label of a dodgy defender, whatever you do they look at you closely and there is always something they will find that you have done wrong."

"It is quite hard when you are an attacking team like we are, Barcelona push so many players forward and sometimes get caught on the counterattack, but their technical abilities are so good they don't often lose the ball in the middle of the park so they don't concede as many as we do. It's a style of play that can expose your back four. Our fans want to see us attack, scoring goals, and then sometimes it doesn't work and people say: look at the defence. It is about balance."

One critique the Arsenal custodian did agree with was the lack of consistency Wenger's team have displayed in this campaign, but Szczesny dismissed suggestions that the situation was down to a lack of quality players.

"The players often show much more qualities in training than we do in games, whether it's down to what the opposition does, or us playing with the handbrake on as the boss likes to call it, it's hard to say," he remarked.

"Sometimes I look at our training sessions and think this team is as good as any in Europe. And sometimes it just doesn't work out for us in the game."

Desperate for the club to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea for silverware, fans yearn for the Gunners board to strengthen the squad, but the Polish international stood by his manager's long-standing investment in youth.

"You understand the fans' frustrations when you see other clubs spend massive money on exciting players, but I've benefited from the club's policy so I support it. Giving young players the chance to prove themselves at the club they were brought up, at the club they love, is the right way to go. In terms of bringing young talent through, there is no one else who can compete with us. Some clubs can't produce top-class talent so they have to spend big money," Szczesny stated.

"I came here as a 16-year-old boy and everything I know right now, I know from this club and the people who took care of me when I was young. I love this place. I feel I have something I want to give back to them. It gives me a lot of desire to do well."

Arsenal welcome Liverpool for their Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

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