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.