Arsenal have conceded 37 goals this season in 26 games – four more than Newcastle who are only a place off the relegation zone.
Their potency in front of goal has kept their top-four hopes alive but Upson thinks the backline needs sorting.
While appearing on BBC’s Final Score show, Upson’s fellow pundit Paul Ince said: “They think it is just all about football. The defenders just want to play football, they don’t want to defend.
“The first port of call is to defend, to stick your head in and do the right things.”
Upson said: “It’s about recruitment as well. Arsenal need to go and recruit those players who are willing [to do that].
“The club haven’t had an appetite to go and get a player in who wants to defend.”
Ince then picked up the mantle and described Arsenal as a ‘nice’ team – but one that lacks a cutting edeg.
“They’ve always been a nice team,” Ince continued, “When I played against them there was people like [Patrick] Vieira, they were tough, they were aggressive, they were hard to beat.
“Arsenal have been a nice team and that’s why they’re okay at home but when they go away it is a completely different mentality and they struggle because I don’t think they’ve got the players to do it away.”
Arsenal ended a run of three away league defeats with a 2-1 win at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Emery was a relieved man afterwards and he told Sky Sports: “Their coach said yesterday they need to run a lot, and we spoke in the season that we need to show everybody we want these three points, and run like they are running and also more.
“We struggled every minute of the 90 minutes, and I think we controlled the match – but maybe I want more possession. It’s a good result after a lot of matches not winning away.”