It's Thursday… But By The Time You Read This, Surely It Will Be Friday

Thank God it's International week this week because the lack of Arsenal related activity has coincided with one of my busiest weeks so this year. Apologies for "one minute to blog" but you've all been there, no doubt. One thing we all hate about International week is the possibilities of injuries and to our luck, we've been struck done with injuries to captain, William Gallas and our in-form-ish striker Van Persie. The former struck with a thigh strain and the latter with a hamstring injury.

Of course, yesterday the story broke about Gallas recently admitting he's been out of form this season. He spoke to L'Equipe and said:

“I can say we have not seen the Gallas from 2006 this term so far. In a few matches, I have not been so good. With the French team in Sweden and Austria, I was not very good at some moments. I would close my eyes if I would say I am strong. That would mean I don’t recognise I did have a few bad performances, as recently with my club against Hull City. Maybe I feel a little tried. Do I experience the most difficult period since I joined Arsenal? We could say yes. Above all I miss consistency. One match is good, the other one is not so good. However, I am doing everything to get to my best again.”

There has been no doubt in my mind that Gallas is a better player than his performances this season have shown. In reality, I don’t think Gallas has performed at his best since he left Chelsea. When the pressure was on and he knew he had to play well to remain in the team, his focus and desire gave him that extra effort. Sometimes the difference between a storming performance and a lapse in concentration is 1%, the 10 seconds that a player switches off could be costly. Against Fulham, Bolton and Hull, those 10 seconds proved costly. Of course, I not saying he is to blame for every point we’ve lost, but you’ve got to consider moments in matches do cost points. I’ve personally been aggreived to see what I’ve seen of Gallas this season. Without the pressure and with the knowledge, as captain, he will rarely, if ever, get “dropped”, the question is does he have that extra 1%?

But for Gallas to admit this is a great statement of intent. The first stop on the road to recovery is the admission of a fallacy and now that he has, I expect him to move on and try his best to improve. Gallas was at his best along side John Terry and Kolo Toure was at his best along side Sol Campbell. One can look at the squad now and say Djourou is more Terry / Campbell like and maybe could do better, but substituting experience with youth does have it’s own pros and cons. If Gallas plays at an extra gear, we’ll see the real him. That could be a momentous “addition” to our back line. Maybe the thigh strain that he’s got means he has the time to reflect, watch the videos and will come back more focused. Maybe we’ll see a bit more of Djourou along side Toure and can judge for ourselves what we think.

Taking a look at the comments, this is a little bit of what you had to say, this is what one of our top commenter, Kieran Delaney had to say:

Glad Gallas agrees with everyone else. He’s not been terrible, but concentration and set pieces have room for improvement. But tired? After a 3 month holiday?!

Very true. France were elimated so early on in the Euro’s, Gallas has been rested and should have been raring to go this season…

And now onto the Cesc Fabregas situation. Of course, you all read what was in the papers, and as the majority of blogs, emails and comments suggest, this type of comment is pure to International week. Raj on the comments from yesterday, makes the point clear.

This news has recycled itself time and time and it’s starting to get boring. Fabregas is very committed to Arsenal, he says it enough and I thoroughly believe the man.

Cesc has dismissed several stories this summer and was the only player link with other clubs to be quick to dismiss such stories. He has maintained that his future is at Arsenal and has a long term contract. Of course, journalists have to do their job and the timing of such a statement seems bad to us, but is perfect for the press. Let’s draw a line on this for the moment, it’s not worth the mind space. A win against Everton would be the tonic to see us push up the league, we’re effectively fifth in the league, presuming Man United win their game in the league and we need to focus on the three points throughout the next month before we lose pace with the current leaders.

And Roy Keane, an Arsenal hater in every which way I can remember, has laid into our “young guns”. After securing a defensive, albeit well deserved point at the Stadium of Light, Keane has reflected on our team and this is what he had to say:

“The word on the street is they (Arsenal) have a group of kids coming through that will be absolutely outstanding. But you go on about the kids coming through but a lot of them have been bought from other clubs, not through the academy at Arsenal. It’s the same with Chelsea.”

Well, of course, at one point some of kids belonged to other clubs, but if you take a look at the likes of Wilshere, Hoyte, Simpson, Randall, Gibbs, (shall I continue), these are the next crop of players, and yes they have come through our academy. I don’t really think Keane knows the meaning of the word academy – literally all he has done since he’s been at Sunderland is buy, buy, buy. Buy foreign, buy anything, stock up the side. I think he’s done a decent job bring better players to Sunderland, but he’s spent more this summer than we have in the last five years.

In five years, when we have half the England squad playing for us, I hope Arsene recalls this statement and shoves it…. anyway… when we do sign the likes of the Walcott’s and Ramsey’s we sign them young and nuture them, teach them, train them and they become part of our academy and eventually into our first team. And if Keane can’t see that then he’ll end up only losing respect from those fans who actually thought he was finally gaining some sanity.

So, tomorrow or today is Friday and tomorrow is the England game… finally some football!

In other news, Fabianski has told us he is ready to wait for his chance, and I think he’s a very good player. He needs more experience, he needs the Cup games, but he has a lot of positives and definitely an asset.

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Anyone seen the news that Hleb has been sent back to Barca for treatment on his glass ankle? Means he is only 50/50 to play against England for Belarus. Fingers crossed!

    Roy Keane was a great player and seems like an emminently sensible man at times - so why can't he shut the fuck up?! The world cup debacle, leaving Trafford in a cloud and this thing with tropical countries - seriously Roy. Shut up, take stock and become a great manager, or keep talking up shit storms and get peoples backs up.

    Fingers crossed that Gallas actually starts playing 101% then.]]>

  • laurence

    < ![CDATA[When we signed William Gallas as part of the Ashley Cole deal I was amazed. I was amazed because it was surprising that Chelsea would let him go. One thing for certain was Jose Mourinho didn't want him to leave Stamford Bridge despite getting the signature of Ashley Cole.

    Jose Mourinho rated Gallas very highly and saw not just one player but three due to Gallas' versatility across the back line. I was very happy about the deal and to this day I still am. Gallas hasn't become a bad player overnight though if you listen to some Gooners you would think he is one of the worst players in the world of football!

    I believe that the stigma attached to Gallas being an ex-Chelsea player goes against him. Some Gooners hate Chelsea so much that every little wrong doing on Gallas' part is held against him because of this. He can't change his past, he played for Chelsea but he doesn't anymore. He plays for our club and is our captain.

    I think Gallas is our best centre back and is the right man to be Arsenal skipper. A lot of Gooners blame him for our defensive frailty's but its not just him at the back, there are three others. Kolo Toure is probably our weakest link at the back in his present form. The problem is we all love Kolo and rightly so, but this love leads to us being blind to his mistakes and believe me at the moment Kolo is making more errors than William Gallas.

    Gallas is the most experienced player in the Arsenal side and highly respected in the dressing room by all the players. The players look up to him as the senior figure in the squad and you can the influence he has over them in the pre-match speech that he gives.

    Gallas is far from perfect but is still one of the best defenders in the world. I'm happy that we have him here at the Emirates despite plenty of Gooners thinking otherwise.]]>

  • dean

    < ![CDATA[It’s time to give the youngsters a chance... and if they can’t do it then spend in January .

    After the Sunderland debacle, I’m fully behind that a few players need to be dropped? The only trouble is that now the international break has come upon us again, we have to play another waiting game to see who comes back unscathed. Also, the Sunderland game will be out of their minds, so there is no time for Wenger to have a go at and punish certain underachievers in the squad. But he does have over a week and a half to think of something to do when they return.

    I, like many, think the performance against Sunderland was unacceptable and I feel sorry for those of you who paid good money and traveled all that way to watch that. Players like Adebayor (who I think has his mind elsewhere), Gallas, hell - all the squad, must understand that nobody is undroppable and get this complacent attitude out of their systems. To win the league you have to win games like our last two and if you don’t it will cost you later on in the year. That is what happened last year when too many draws and two narrow defeats cost us in the end, on top of the injuries.

    Wenger keeps praising the youngsters, so why not give the likes of young Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs and Vela a run in the side? They will give more as they actually want to fight for a starting berth. At Sunderland, the only players that looked like they gave a damn were Cesc - who spared our blushes - Kolo, Clichy and Sagna. That’s not good enough. I know we had a legitimate goal ruled out but it happens to us so often we have to get used to it; maybe if we were a certain team in blue we’d have got the goal.

    The boss no doubt has to shake things up for the Everton game. With so many of our boys on international duty, it’s the perfect opportunity to try something different and freshen the team up. Leave Ade, RVP and Gallas on the bench and go with Vela, Bendtner, Djourou and Silvestre - who the jury is still out on. Give young Denilson a break as I think his display on Saturday showed he needs it. Also, give Diaby a go if he’s fit. Give it an hour with the new-look line-up and see what becomes of it.

    Wenger must not be afraid to leave out the ‘star’ names if they’re not performing. If this doesn’t work out then HE MUST DIP INTO THIS SUPPOSED £100 MILLION WARCHEST AND GO OUT AND SPEND IN JANUARY, certainly on the defensive and attacking parts of the team. A majority of the youngsters will maybe go out on loan, so the squad won’t be too overcrowded. I know we have Eduardo and Tomas to come back but, barring a miracle, they will need time.

    We could even take a gamble on somebody like - dare I say it - Thierry Henry. Wenger’s done it in the past with Kanu, Suker, Campbell and Wiltord - all of whom turned out great for us. At least it shows us, the fans who spend our hard-earned cash to go and watch the team that he’s trying to rectify the situation.

    But we all know Wenger doesnt have the guts to drop Ade or Gallas to the bench and i hope that this does not become our fall at this early stage in the season.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[are you even trying to be relevant dean?

    and laurence, no one here is saying gallas is rubbish, he's a brilliant footballer, but he is prone to serious lapses in concentration, a few of which have directly attributed to lost points.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[I too was really chuffed with the deal we got for Gallas. Though i have been a bit dissapointed, and understandably in my opinion. The reason being, i was thinking we had bought a player who although wasn't the worlds best - he was very safe and reliable.

    Its probably the biggest hole in the team. We are missing a Rio Ferdinand, or John Terry kind of core in the defence. Gallas doesn't have the presence or consistency of those guys. I'm not saying he is a bad player, he is still probably the best center back in the club. Problem is he isn't World Class, and maby that is required to win the premiership.

    Even Gallas lovers can't deny how much they'd love Rio Ferdinand in our team.]]>

  • Fo

    Rio has a bit more of an aerial presence, but just as Campbell and Toure made a good partnership, Rio and Vidic do too. You need one defender to always go for the first ball and one to mop up. Djourou is our man.

  • http://deleted Dan

    < ![CDATA[Yeah that make sense Fo.

    So who do you think should partner Djourou? I don't really see any of the trio being fantastic aerially.]]>