Chelsea 1 – 2 Arsenal. Awesome.

Surely by now you've watched the game, seen the highlights, seen Andy Gray analysis of the game. We've just beaten Chelsea 2 - 1 at the Bridge. Our season is extremely weird. We can't seem to beat anyone and then we go and beat Chelsea. It's crazy. I'm not going to focus on our inconsistency right now, let's enjoy the night.

So, we've just won at the Bridge, in a six pointer, which puts us 7 points behind Chelsea instead of 10 and instead of 13. As I write this, I'm in a sense of shock. Not at the game, but at the consistency of our inconsistency. The lads were brilliant today. They played with their hearts and it was a great game.

The game didn't start well and we conceded when Almunia threw a ball to no-one, inviting pressure. Players out of position and Bosingwa crossing for Johan Djourou to slide into his own net. But such is the character of the player, he just got up and carried on. He went from strength to strength and ended up playing a blinding game.

In the second half, three minutes, one person saw us go 2-1. That person was Robin Van Persie. The first goal came through good passing (triangles, triangles, triangles) and although Van Persie was offside, he finished really well as he smashed it into the back of the net. Three minutes later, the ball was delivered from Cesc to Ade who headed it down and Van Persie turned and quickly struck into the bottom right hand side. Awesome stuff 2-1.

Arsene kept his cool and only made one sub. He kept the formation the same and allowed the players who got us to 2-1 protect our lead.

The manager spoke after the game and said:

“It is a massive win for us because we recently lost two games unexpectedly, and to lose today would have put us 13 points adrift of Chelsea; that would have been too much. It was a test of character and we came here maybe without the needed level of confidence but we showed from the start that we have character and I think we were a bit unlucky to be behind at half-time.

“In the second half we slowly moved on top and started to win the fight in the middle of the park. From then when we had the ball we looked as though we could be dangerous. So I am very, very happy to now, after beating Manchester United, we beat Chelsea and I believe that brings us back. It is still far but not impossible. I have an intelligent team, a talented one, but we want to come back with humility and work hard. We have learned that we need that kind of focus in every game no matter who you play.”

It was a very important win today. A vital game in our stuttering season.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more insight.

In the meantime, relax and watch the re-runs!

———————————————————–

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, A Cole, Mikel (Malouda 69), Deco (Stoch 81), Ballack, Lampard, Kalou, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Bridge, Ferreira, Mineiro, Alex.

Booked:Terry, Ivanovic.

Goals:Djourou 31 og.

Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri, Adebayor (Bendtner 83), Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere, Gibbs.

Goals:Van Persie 59, 62.

Att: 41,760.

Ref:Mike Dean (Wirral).]]>

Match Preview: Chelsea vs Arsenal

Chelsea v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, Stamford Bridge
Sunday, November 30, 2008, 16:00
 
For the game tomorrow, we’ll have Adebayor, Nasri and Sagna back and that really does change the dimension of our team. With Ade and Van Persie up front and Vela as a super sub, suddenly the front line looks much stronger. With the addition of Nasri, there won’t be any need to rely on both Song and Ramsey, and with Sagna back, Djourou can revert to a more central position if required. The line up should be:
 
Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Silvestre
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Nasri
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Ramsey
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

Of course, if Arsene really feels attacking, he may start with Vela on the left wing instead.

Anyway, I’ll bit back tomorrow with more about the game, in the meanwhile I’ll leave you with those thoughts.

]]>

Friday Round Up

Sunday sees us take table toppers Chelsea in what should be an epic encounter. Despite our recent bad form, against the bigger teams we do have the ability to raise our game. With the game on Sunday, tomorrow would be a better time to guess the line up and look at our chances. Today's let's take a look at what's been happening in the lead up to the game.

Of course, Kyiv was Cesc's first game as captain and so far it's a 100% win record for the young Spaniard. On Sunday, it will be Cesc's first game as captain in the Premier League and there is no bigger match than an away game against a title rival, whilst you're 10 points behind them.

Arsene is convinced that if we lose on the weekend we have no hope of the title, as he said:

“We want to get back into it and the only way to get back into it is to win the game on Sunday. We know that direct confrontations with top teams become vital when you are in our position. I believe seeing the other teams play, we know we can beat them and that is the only way to get back into it. We are written off. You cannot say when you are 10 points behind that we are favourites to win the championship, but you can say as well the only way we can get back into it is to believe we can. That is why we want to go into this game on Sunday by believing we can beat them because we know we can. That is all you want your players to do.”

Earlier this week, we appointed a new CEO called Ivan Gazidis. I don’t really know much about the guy. He’s supposedly got a good record in the contract negotiation side of things and has been involved Disney’s business for a while. Of course the mickey mouse jokes will come out now, lol, Arsene had this to say:

“I believe what is important is that again we have got a competent man who knows that to survive in the English league you need to love the game because this is a job for 12 months under extreme pressure. He has experience in the game and is at the right age to take over a job of that dimension. It is important for the club to get someone like that because we always relied on (acting managing director) Ken Friar, who had to do absolutely everything and that’s too much for one man, so he will take over the negotiation role from me.”

And quite right too. It’s about time for Arsene to concentrate on managing and not negotiating. It’s clear that it’s too much for one person to sort out so many different aspects of the club. He needs good people around him with their own passion and desire to achieve. Too many people will work “for” Arsene, but we want people to work “with” Arsene. A big difference. It means that it’s not Arsene vs the world and that’s something that Kroenke will bring to us and I believe he had a role to play in bringing Gazidis to the club.

I’ll keep it short for today as I plan to write a bit more on the match preview tomorrow. I’ll leave you with a little something that Chelsea boss Scolari had to say about the clash:

“Last season Chelsea were nine points behind United at the halfway point and even if you’re 15 points clear with five games to go, you’re not champions. You’re only champions at the end of the last game. This is the first time I’ll have played against Wenger – he’s been my friend for 10 or 12 years now. I met him for the first time in Japan and we are big friends. I like him as a coach. If I chose five coaches in the world as the best, he’d be one of the five. His team plays football, so it’s difficult to win. They play beautiful football. I watched their game against Manchester United and it was one of the best games in the Premier League. This game against Chelsea will be like that as well. This is one of the big games but we are not motivated just for a game against Arsenal or Tottenham. We need to play every game with the same motivation. We need to try to win.”

Mind games? Make your own mind up….

Til tomorrow.]]>

I'm back… Let's talk injuries…

Apparently, it's illegal to post a fixtures list without a license. That, my friends, is the crazy extent to which we live in nowadays, where my blog can get censored by a corporation demanding payment for publishing a list of fixtures that Arsenal are playing this season. It's crazy that my blog - which I run not for profit but to air my views on all things Arsenal, to allow a forum for people to discuss the current stories - can be censored. I have never advertised anything to my readers, nor do I intend to. I gain nothing financially for this blog, and I never want to. It's my way of sharing my thoughts and talking to you guys. However, I've been censored for displaying a list of fixtures, that helps me know who we're playing when. I could maybe understand this if I was pursue a business, but contrary to the freedom of speech, nowadays you've got to be very careful what you say, what you write.

So what can I do, except for taking off the fixtures list and waiting for the next corporation to tell me that I can't print the word "Arsenal" without paying the FA £100 everytime I do. Sorry for the rant, but it's border line ridiculous. Here's what the people who did this had to say:

The leagues have charged for publication of the fixtures since 1960.

  • Under UK competition law all sectors of the same market have to be treated equally – there is no defined carve out for “not for profit” or “blogs”
  • Therefore if the leagues want to continue to charge for use of fixtures to commercial sites they have to use the same rules for all sites competing for eyeballs on the web
  • There is no legal definition of “not for profit” but there is a registered charity status which one can apply for and we would honour a charity discount (10%)
  • There is no problem in mentioning past fixtures once they have been played, or league tables – at the moment the leagues allow free use of these.
  • You can also mention the next fixture provided it is in the form of an editorial preview article (you cannot string a series of future fixtures together in a pseudo article).
  • You cannot show a list of future fixtures without the appropriate licence otherwise we will chase you to remove the future fixtures
  • You will need the permission of Arsenal before you can purchase a licence – the cost of the licence is £1.00 + VAT if Arsenal award you “nominated fanzine” status (they can only award this once per season).
  • A single club’s fixtures cost £266 +VAT for editorial use, with the club’s permission.

And this apparently apples to a personal blog which is designed only to talk about my favourite subject, my passion, my club which is Arsenal. The freudin slip which is in the above is “commercial site”, which implies commerce which implies I make money. I’ll try my best to fight this – for principle only – but I am one person writing a blog – how far will I get?

Let the blog begin…

On to the main topic of today and that is our injuries. Talking to my mate JAT, we’ve been looking at the problem which is our injuries. Our last two games against Man City and Dynamo have seen us without some key players, and you’ve got to think why we seem to be the only top club with injuries every year.

Let’s take a look at who was missing against Kyiv and in brackets, let’s look at the corresponding players from the other clubs from the top 4.

Adebayor (Rooney, Torres, Drogba)

Eduardo (Tevez, Keane, Anelka)

Rosicky (Ronaldo, Riera, Joe Cole)

Nasri (Nani, Gerrard, Kalou)

Walcott (Giggs, Benayoun, Lampard)

Diaby (Carrick, Alonso, Mikel)

Sagna (Brown, Carragher, Bosingwa)

Toure (Ferdinand, Agger, Terry)

Now if you think about the other top teams and how they would fair if they had the players mentioned missing, would they be winning every game? Would they beat Kyiv at home? Would they lose to a fully fit Man City side? Yes, you can argue that Diaby isn’t the same as Alonso, but my point isn’t to compare like for like, but to compare how these types of injuries would affect other sides. But the other sides never seem to have these injury problems to the extent we have. So we’ve got to question why we have so many injuries. Let’s look at this logically:

  1. We are the most fouled against team in the league.
  2. OR we have too tough a training regime
  3. OR we have bad physios, fitness coaches
  4. OR we have injury prone players.

I don’t know the reason, but I’d say point 1 is statistically proven. 2 and 3 are said with no knowledge at all. And 4 can’t be true, as Rosicky, Eduardo and Diaby were hardly ever injured before they joined us. Some sources say that we’re very meticulous when we sign players. Supposedly we have one of the toughest medicals around.

Food for thought, hey?

So looking at our injuries, we’ve got Nasri, Adebayor and Sagna back for Sunday, three first team players, whom if fit, will all start against Chelsea and give our team a welcome dimension attacking wise and of course Sagna will give defensive stability to the team.

Our new captain Cesc, has been in the media and is determined to beat Chelsea. Check these comments out, they’ll make you proud:

“We want to get back into the title race, so we have to win. We could get some points back. The other teams have difficult games as well. We will see. Chelsea have been playing really well, the times I watched them, they have played good football with quick combinations. I respect them. Arsenal never go anywhere for a draw. We always go to win and Chelsea do the same. At the end of the season, we will see what we can achieve but at the moment we are in every competition. People can say whatever they want about the title race but we have only played 14 games. It is not over yet.”

It’s not over yet young Cesc, and I hope the team listens and puts in a performance in what will be a classic 6 pointer.

Okay, time to go, time to sleep.

Back tomorrow.]]>

Arsenal 1 – 0 Dynamo Kyiv

Whatever you thought of the performance yesterday, the end result was a 1-0 win and 3 points in the bag. It means we've qualified for the Champions League knockout stages. Cesc was named our new captain and there was a new found belief in the squad. The line up was exactly as suggested yesterday:

Almunia
Djourou – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Ramsey – Song – Cesc – Denilson
Vela – Van Persie

It was a line up that included a few players who deserved their chance, Djourou, Ramsey and Vela have played well every time they’ve been asked to and it was fitting that all three started today’s game. With so many injuries (we will discuss later), there was little or no choice but to play the team he played.

As I start writing this, it’s on the verge of Wednesday morning and it was bitterly cold yesterday. The players played like it was cold too. Being there at the stadium was very much different than watching the highlights. At the stadium, it did feel like a bit of defensive set up from Kyiv and it also looked like quite a few players had a big lack of movement. But watching the highlights told a different story.

Personally, I think Song and Denilson were very poor and Gallas was shaky, but watching the highlights, it was clear how hard it was to break down the Kyiv wall of 8. Almunia played well and kept us in it when he saved brilliantly with 10 minutes to go. The only obvious problems with the team were that we were playing players out of position, Denilson on the left and Ramsey on the right – both central midfielders – meant we lacked width. As Arsene said after the game, we lacked spark and creativity but we were efficient in our play.

There was some contention regarding the winning goal, where some people thought we should have kicked the ball back to Kyiv, but as we had possession when the ref blew his whistle, the ref and Kyiv players agreed that Arsenal would maintain possession and play on. The players who were arguing with the ref were actually arguing over a potential handball by Bendtner. Replays show it could have gone either way. For those of you who haven’t seen the goal, Cesc had the ball deep in our half, and with a 54-yard long ball found Bendtner who control, albeit wider than required, but finished well into the near post.

There was a moment of unsporting behaviour when Aliev was “injured” and rolling round on the floor, but when Kyiv gained posession, he jumped up like a spring chicken and ran into the box. It was fitting that the player ended up being sent off for pushing the ref near the end of the game.

The injuries that were mounted before this game were quite massive, with 9 first teamers missing the action. Jack Wilshere made his European debut and became our youngest player to play in Europe. I’d look further into our injuries and how we’re coping later tomorrow, but for today, a game is a game and a win is a win.

We’re through to the next round.

Til tomorrow…

—————————————————–

Arsenal:Almunia, Djourou, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Ramsey (Bendtner 68), Vela (Wilshere 77), Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Gibbs, Hoyte, Merida, Simpson.

Booked:Van Persie, Bendtner.

Goals: Bendtner 87.

Dynamo Kiev:Bogush, Betao, Diakhate, Asatiani, El Kaddouri, Eremenko, Vukojevic, Ghioane, Aliev, Milevskiy, Bangoura.
Subs Not Used: Shovkovskiy, Dopilka, Sablic, Correa, Shatskikh, Cernat, Yarmolenko.

Sent Off:Aliev (89).

Booked:Milevskiy, Asatiani, Aliev.

Att: 59,374

Ref:Alain Hamer (Luxembourg).]]>

Arsenal vs Dynamo Kyiv

“Dynamo Kyiv made a good impression in that first game when we played over there. It was a game in which they defended every part of the pitch in a very determined way. They played on the counterattack with Ismael Bangoura and Olexandr Aliyev, a playmaker who is a very good passer of the ball, while physically they look very strong too.

“They confirmed that performance with their away results but they lost at home to Porto. I feel if they had won that game they would be nearly qualified already.”

“Even if at the moment we are frustrated it is not all doom and gloom. We have strong belief in our ability and we have a good opportunity to show that we care about the club and we believe in our strengths.”

Our injury list seems to get longer and longer and tonight, Diaby and Nasri are added to the pile. Which leaves us thread bare. Adebayor is not available either and I really hope Vela starts, so I am going to purposely omit Bendtner from my proposed team line up.

Please read this Arsene!

The likely line up could be:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Djourou
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Silvestre
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Denilson
Right Wing
Song
Midfielder
Diaby
Midfielder
Ramsey
Left Wing
 
  Vela
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

There are rumours that Merida may start the game, but I’ve not seen too much of this today.

The bench looks likely to be Fabianski, Hoyte, Gibbs, Merida, Wilshere, Simpson and Bendtner.

Good luck boys.

Let the new era begin…]]>

Cesc named captain as new era begins…

Today was a weird day and Arsene did what we all thought he should have done this summer. Cesc is our new captain. And our declining form hit an all time low with our 3-0 loss to Man City this weekend and this season has been the worst so far under our professor and chief, Arsene Wenger.

So, Cesc has been named captain and this is what Arsene had to say:

“Gallas will play against Kyiv. But he will not captain the team, it will be Cesc Fabregas.
 
“This is a permanent thing. But I don’t think I especially have to explain why. I have given you information but I do not have to explain to you why I make these decisions.

“This subject is now closed. You have to respect a little bit of the team’s privacy.”

In light of Gallas’ book in which he condemns both Arsene and many of the current team, Arsene had no choice. But he did make, what I believe to be the only viable choice for the captain’s role. This and last season, Cesc has been the outstanding player and leader of our team and in some quarters, the dip in form could be related to taking orders from a crazy captain. I honestly think Arsene has made the right decision.

But was the decision made because of stumbling form. Is there a crisis going on with the team, so bad that the only way we can recover is to make Cesc captain. Is this the final attempt? Is this the lats throw of the dice? Or is it the only sensible decision this season?

Clichy has been talking about Cesc and is happy he’s the captain.

“It is a new start and I hope Cesc will do well. I’m sure he will. When he started in the team everyone was saying he was too young to have so much responsibility but he has shown he can handle a team and put in good performances.

“I’m one of the older players now but, it’s not only about age, it’s more about togetherness. Of course I will do my best to help my team-mates and I’m sure all the players will give him all the support he needs to be one of the best. I’m not scared of saying that he is the key player in the squad so he deserves the respect of the boss.

“His performances over the last couple of years have been fantastic and so I feel it is a good choice. For example when we played this year against Sunderland, we were losing 1-0 but he scored the header and we drew the game. That shows the character of Cesc.

“And, last year against Milan he scored a goal that makes you feel this kind of player is really important in the team. The only thing Cesc has to do now is play his best football. I’m really happy for him and I’m sure he will do well.”

And Clichy says what we’re all thinking. Let’s not be scared of this decision, let’s embrace it. It is the new start that we need. A real leader, someone who the players look up, despite his relatively young age. Cesc is really the one player who commands respect. The one player who everyone knows give 100%. Yes, he’s not in the greatest form of his life, but this is something that will invigorate him, no doubt.

Cesc has been speaking about the captaincy:

“It is a great honour for me to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world. It is a proud moment. I know it’s a big responsibility but together with my team-mates, I know we have the spirit and commitment to get back to winning ways and fulfil our potential.”

That’s exactly what I want to hear. The next test will be to see how Gallas reacts to this, and whether he scores an own goal. I’m not going to sour this momentous day by talking about Gallas. Kyiv tomorrow will be Cesc’s first game as captain and I hope this is the start of a new era.

Remember this day, Monday 24th November 2008, the day Cesc Fabregas became captain.

‘Til tomorrow…]]>

Manchester City 3 – 0 Arsenal, What happens next?

Yesterday we lost 3-0 to Manchester City and the game summed up a season of disbelief for many fans and a very disappointing start to this campaign. The problems we have at the moment are massive. The Gallas incident has been a time-bomb waiting to explode. It has and now we have to get rid and start a fresh. The problem is that this has happened in mid November, so we've got 6 weeks before we can enter the transfer market and 6 weeks to have Gallas on the sidelines.

Manchester City 3 – 0 Arsenal
Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge 90 pen.

The game itself was a weird game of “we can beat you” versus “you can beat us” and although we played well in patches, you felt we were mentally beaten before we got there. It was a very reserve back line and actually, the whole team line up looked thin. The line up was:

Almunia
Hoyte – Djourou - Silvestre – Clichy
Nasri – Denilson – Song – Diaby
Bendtner – Van Persie

Taking away the fact we’re going through a little wobble at the moment, with 7 first teamers out, any of the top teams would have done well to come out of city with a point.

Stephen Ireland clipped in City’s first goal after Clichy sliced a clearance horribly into his path, and it was soon two when Robinho chipped Manuel Almunia. The once Arsenal target Robinho had a shot cleared off the line before young striker, Daniel Sturridge scored a penalty.

It’s hard to write this with any note of positiveness… so let’s take a listen to good old Arsene Wenger:

“We had a good focus and I believe it is a flattering victory for Manchester City today. We conceded in stoppage time [at the end of the first-half] and before that they had not created much. We were quite in control but after the goal the game turned and they played on the counter-attack. We played into their hands. We lacked the maturity to deal with being in a dominant situation and not getting caught; it was a free-kick to us, then a goal for them. After that the third goal was a soft penalty.”

And on moving forward from here, he said:

“I think we had enough focus and gave everything. It is not always negative and we have to take the positives and keep the belief. In a big club you have to go through these periods, and how we deal with it will shape our future.”

I really don’t know how he’s going to deal with it because it does seem a mess. Before the game, no one was really sure what the extent of the William Gallas affair was but today we heard that Peter Hill Wood would back Arsene over any decision he makes in regard to Gallas. He said:

“This issue has shown that Arsene can be ruthless. He has to be otherwise people can run all over you. As for whether Gallas has a future at the club, that will be up to Arsene. But I think Gallas has got a problem. Arsene will advise the board over that and we will support him no matter what. We will all be at The Emirates on Tuesday [for the Champions League fixture with Dynamo Kiev] and I am sure the matter will be discussed with Arsene. And 100 per cent we will endorse what he decides about Gallas.”

But in surprise news today, new reports are now suggesting that Gallas will be back for the game against Dynamo Kiev. I’m not sure how you can have a player back in the squad after the recent outburst, let’s see what happens next.

Apologies for the “flat” article today. I’m a little deflated after this weekend, as I’m sure you all are.

 

Man City:Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Vassell (Elano 73), Robinho (Hamann 82), Mwaruwari (Sturridge 88).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Evans, Ben-Haim.

Goals:Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge 90 pen.

Arsenal:Almunia, Hoyte (Ramsey 60), Djourou, Silvestre, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong, Diaby (Vela 69), Van Persie, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, Simpson]]>

This Is A Crisis

But now, it's the 22nd of November and we've lost 5 games, yes 5 games.

Boys, this is truly a crisis.

We have no captain, we have no back four.

We have a problem.

Time to analyse.]]>

Match Preview: Man Citeh vs Arsenal… Gallas stripped of captaincy…

Probably the busiest post International Thursday and Friday we've had in a very long time. Of course we've been hit by two major incidents.

Theo’s Injury

Firstly, it looks like young Theo will be out of the team for the next 3 – 4 months with a shoulder injury. It’s a blow to the team, the manager and the fans, because the young English striker come midfielder was hitting some decent form, scoring goals and creating chances. His pace means that you’d often see two players from the opposition team mark him and thus leaving space for someone else to expose.

Arsene spoken about Theo’s injury and had this to say:

“He has a dislocated shoulder and he had surgery today. He will be out for three months. I am disappointed because he is an important player. But that could have happened in training here and we have to accept it as an accident. It could have happened anywhere. I do not blame the FA for the injury. It was accidental in training. I accept it. I don’t believe that even if you lose the title, you cannot link it with one player,” said the Frenchman.  I do think it is a problem that we have lost him, but that would not be an excuse to lose the championship because of that. I haven’t seen him [since the injury] because he came straight back to the surgeon and had surgery today. But he copes quite well [with injuries] and I’m amazed how he deals with it. This time it’s a bit of a blow because he’s just taking off. It’s an important part of the season where he feels like he’s playing every game, and he’s playing for the national team and it’s part of a career.”

It looks like we’re down to the bare bones, with Eboue, Sagna and Toure out, it looks like it’s going to be a very “light” right side.

Now onto Gallas. Before we get into the “Gallasgate” drama, let’s just put it this way. He’s out of the squad against Man City by the manager’s choice, rather than because of injury.

Man City vs Arsenal

Manchester City v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, City of Manchester Stadium
Saturday, November 22, 2008, 15:00

He’s joined by Toure, Sagna, Eboue, Cesc, Rosicky and Eduardo in the absentees list. Let’s take a look at the proposed starting line up and then get into the nonsense which is not called “Gallasgate”!

The likely line up could be:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Djourou
Right Back
Song
Centre Back
Silvestre
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Ramsey
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Diaby
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

With Fabianski, Hoyte, Gibbs, Randall, Wilshere, Vela and Bendtner on the bench. With the possibility of a 17 year old starting and the average age of the outfield players on the bench about 18, it really down to the bare bones.

Gallas-Gate

So where do we start in this ultimately crazy drama that we find ourselves in today? Well, to start with Gallas has reportedly been stripped of the captaincy. Whether that’s true or not we’ll find out tomorrow but all in all, it’s supposed to be very true. So Gallas is finally out and thank God. We need to concentrate on players who are determined to win and don’t just care about how they look. Here’s a round up of what’s been going on.

Firstly, Gallas said this about the teamand about the players. The player in question is believed to be Robin Van Persie and these two players are known within the camp to not get along.

So what happened next? Well Graham Taylor was the first to react and he had the following to say:

“Would we not think that by now Arsene Wenger, the manager that he is, would know the kind of person he wants as captain, and if it isn’t working for him, make those changes. He knows his players better than any of us, he knows what he’s looking for as a leader, as a captain. If he feels that Gallas isn’t doing that then I think he’s wrong if he continues with him. I would have thought by now a manager of Arsene Wenger’s calibre knows what makes a good captain, and I’m somewhat surprised that he still has stuck with Gallas even after that Birmingham situation.”

The jury has been out on Gallas for some time. And yes, he’s not 100% bad, but he’s not 100% good either. He’s not the role model the players need and he’s not the captain material that the players look up to. He’s been indulged with kudos beyond his stature.

Nigel Winterburn was next and he said this:

“William Gallas is the link between the manager and the players and really he should have sorted it out with the rest of the players himself or gone to the manager. He doesn’t need to air it in public. Most football clubs sort this out in-house. They don’t let the world know about it. Arsene Wenger is very, very loyal to his players. He protects them because he believes in them. He’s got a difficult decision to make. If he takes the captaincy away from William Gallas then he’s almost saying that he doesn’t trust him as a player and if he doesn’t trust him as a player he shouldn’t be playing him within the team.

Highlighting the loyalty that Arsene has to his players. Many were surprised that Gallas got it ahead of Gilberto, and then kept it in spite of the Birmingham game and then kept it over summer. And Nigel makes a good point in regards to the fact that if he doesn’t trust Gallas then he shouldn’t be in the team. Hopefully we’ll never see him again!

Next up was Harry Redknapp and he’s talked about how these issues are normal kept in house.

“What happens in the dressing room should be kept in-house. If you have a problem you should talk to your manager. Too often now players are too quick to run to the press. Get on with the job and play football, if there is a problem then sort it out.There are always arguments in dressing rooms. The great teams have people sorting problems out, making the job easy for the manager. Roy Keane at Manchester United; Arsenal with Frank McLintock. They would be sorting out the problems. If anyone can sort it out, Arsene Wenger can but I’m sure he wants to concentrate on the football.”

But we don’t have a Frank McLinktock, a Paddy V, a Thierry, instead we have “Le Sulk” Mach II. It’s clear that the team don’t think much of Gallas, and Ade was quick to talk up Cesc as a potenial future captain. Roy Keane was the next person to add his two-pence worth and backed Gallas for his outburst and likened him to himself.

“I used to quite a bit. But there are ways of doing it. You just hope you have a strong dressing room. Obviously I’m not going to comment on what the captain of Arsenal has allegedly said.But you hope you have a few captains in your dressing room to take care of things.  I was lucky in my playing days that we had some strong characters and we used to deal with what ever was going on in the dressing room. If I was missing something, which I very rarely did, then there was another couple of players to spot things. A good dressing room and a good captain can make the manager’s job easier. Everyone has the right to say what they feel every now and again and if it upsets people, so what? People are too easily upset these days.”

Twat.

And then of course, Gallas spoke out again. This time the 25-year old lost 5 years and because a 20-year old. Albeit, he was talking about a separate incident.

“I was also 20-years-old once. I would never have allowed myself to speak in this tone to a footballer who was older than me. The youngsters from the Euros seem cheeky, very sure of themselves. They think they know it all, but they don’t know anything. Faced with his contempt, I raised my voice. The young player said: ‘Lower your voice, speak less loudly’. I replied: ‘How are you speaking to me? Who do you think you are? You are only 20-years-old. I am not your friend. He said: ‘Me neither, I am not your friend’

All very saga-ish now hey? But can you believe this drama! Ah, the last thing we need now is this. We’ve lost Walcott and Cesc and lost a little passion – we need to start concentrating on football!

The comments were divided too, let’s take a look at what the reaction to Gallas’ comments were:

Zohaib’s thoughts:

“i dont blame gallas for coming out with the comments, if they are actually his comments and not a work of mischief by some moron.
to the people who might think that he’s the captain and should lead by example, and that the example he’s setting by making these comments isnt right – i say, the damage is already done. we’v already lost some games and drawn others which we shouldnt have. so with gallas coming out with the truth (if it is), i dont see how it makes a difference to the stability of th team. its already unstable like he says.”

Samri’s thoughts:

“Gooners seem to be spilt on William Gallas. He seems to be like marmite, you either love him or hate him. In fact, that’s not a bad nickname for him. I’m in the love him camp and feel that the criticism he receives is way over the top. I also believe that he is being made a scapegoat for Arsenal struggling. There is an anti-Gallas bandwagon that has been forming since the Birmingham incident and it’s gathering pace. Marmite is our best defender, take the armband from him and we lose him. As simple as that. Do you think he would stay? I don’t. He is not a bad captain. People compare Marmite to recent skippers Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira and that is not fair. Adams and Vieira were fantastic Arsenal leaders but look at who they had around them. Adams had Keown, Bould, Dixon, Seaman etc, and Vieira had Henry, Gilberto, Bergkamp, Parlour, Campbell etc. Who does Marmite have to help him on the pitch? That’s right, no one.”

Gary’s thoughts:

“A captain doesn’t seek to shift responsibility to the other players in his side, as this latest outburst from Gallas has done. He is obviously trying to make other players the scapegoats. I hate John Terry, but his actions last night speak volumes of why he is the Chelsea captain and why Gallas was demoted down the ranks and subsequently sold.”

Viakariyre was supportive of Gallas and apportioned blame to the rest of the team and the manager:

“Nice and easy though hey to blame Gallas, the ex-Chelsea player, rather than a prima donna centre forward with an attitude problem or the manager who brought us success in the past but is now looking and sounding like man who has lost the plot! Wenger has to be held responsible!”

Dan’s not a fan of the current skipper:

“Bottom line is, Gallas has showed himself to be a stroppy – when the chips are down he will lie down kind of guy. He only shows passion when he is in the mood. He generally denies all blame for everything and points the finger elsewhere. He seemingly lacks any man management ability, and fails to get anyone to raise their game.”

Surely more tomorrow…]]>