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…]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[It used to be one week, one trouble. Now its gone to one week double trouble. This guys should get over this crap and play football.

    The statements by Gallas should not destablize our morals tommorrow.At least Wenger might ve got sthing right this season.]]>

  • AJ

    Part of me is happy to see the captaincy removed from him and even if he was sold I proberbly wouldn’t mind, but I do believe we needed someone to speak out, we’re playing shit and someone has to give a wake up call, so for that I do think he did right, but the way he did it is wrong, he should of done it in house not through the media. It is easy to blame him and he has cost us a number of goals this season with slack defending (where was the “warrior” then?), but the whole team seems to be drained and there is no bite, no tenacity we see in other teams, it seems we have to be 2 nil down with 3 minutes to go before someone realise we can shoot instead of trying to walk the ball into the net.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_4529704,00.html

    he reveals a little more about the incident.

    i think whats happened is that some guy has spoken angrily to gallas. maybe the insult wasnt even meant in a personal manner but he's taken it so. and then the media's asked him about something (probably to do with arsenal's inconsistency) and he's revealed the incident (bcuz its caused unrest and as a result inconsistency) when it would have been better to talk to wenger about it.

    if he's taken a personal matter and made it part of the club's problem, then thats wrong.

    maybe he feels wenger wudnt have done enough and he feels like he needs some support which is why he chose the media or maybe he made a mistake.
    but wat is obvious is that since the birmingham incident, people have been very quick to spot his average performances and because he's captain he takes extra criticism. and he feels its unfair that the performance of the whole team is blamed solely on him (which has been happening and it isnt fair). and thats why he's trying to defend himself. he hasnt named the player. he could easily hav named the player if he wanted people to think less of that player. he's actually protected that player by not naming him. and yet winterburn suggests he should have at least named him because the 'suspicion of blame falls on 3 or 4', after saying he shouldnt have gone to the media but spoken to wenger instead. contradictory statements !

    also i'd just like to clarify. i'm pretty sure he hasnt 'gone' to the media. the media's probably asked him about it. sometimes unclear words and words used with double meanings are all the media needs to exagerrate matters. people really should be more careful with their choice of words.

    anyway, i'm not saying gallas should remain captain. the media's blown it so much out of proportion by going to all their pundits and forcing the fans to think that everybody thinks gallas was wrong, that now theres no option but to strip gallas of the captaincy. bcuz now even more supporters will be shouting stuff against him if he's on th pitch. and thats th last thing the players need. they need our support !

    maybe there are better players than gallas. maybe he is getting to the wrong side of 30. maybe he's not good enough to be in a top 4 side. i was never looking forward to us getting him when we exchanged him for cashley. but what do i know. wenger knows loads i dont. maybe it was the best option then. he took it hoping it would come good. and it hasnt. that happens to every manager. but wat magnifies the problem is that wenger is too stubborn. it can't be that he doesnt see th problem. but he chooses to stick with it rather than make the necessary changes. thats wats cost us.
    choosing to make gallas captain was a big blunder. that was a clear no-no. its suggested that he made gallas captain so that gallas would get his act right. i'm sorry but that's just as ridiculous as it gets. thats like saying i'll give the guy what he doesnt deserve so that he magically see's the light.
    everybody felt that toure should be captain. its baffling why he wasnt made. there shouldnt have been one thing going against him. he's got pace. he's got determination. he's got a humble attitude. he's a terrific competitior. he can play against any top striker. wat more do you need !? why gallas was chosen over toure was probably because toure wasnt vocal enough. but then thats theoretically wrong - if wenger chose a guy who is very vocal only to motivate the players by shouting. because the players themselves are only 20 years old. you can't expect them to be of the character of experienced players such as vieira or keane etc. who respond well to shouting. its one thing to say the kids can play at premier league level at 20 yrs old. and its another to say that they'v got the same character.

    wat needs to be done now is to make either almunia or toure permanent captain. not cesc. we've already seen how the media created extra pressure and criticism on the captain. and cesc doesnt need that. as it is he's having to deal with extra pressure as a result of a weak midfield.

    btw has anyone read this ? any thoughts ?

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_4524049,00.html]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[moving on to today's match.

    its a scary thought. i trust djourou more than i trust song. and having them both in defence is one very worrying thought. theyr fighting it out for RB and CB slots. and personally i feel both should go to djourou. can we get the technology used in Arnold Schwarzenegger's '6th Day' please ?

    they'll have to deal with benjani, robinho and s.w.phillips. and i'm not so sure we'll come out on top if they decide against parking the bus and coming out to play instead.

    (its thought the sagna is injured but in th pre-match conference and the injury list given on the arsenal site, it doesnt say that sagna is actually injured. anybody know what his status really is ?)

    then comes our midfield. cesc's out. but thats still not as big a blow as it could have been had he been on form. the boys who are in form are ramsey and denilson. but i agree with the 'likely first team' put out in the article. with ramsey at RM and diaby at CM with denilson. its diaby's proper position and in the pre-season game(s) they did well together if i remember correctly.

    ade and vanpersie up front most probably.

    i was going to suggest my own first team but theres just too many options coming to mind and i'm getting confused. i'll suggest mancity's first 11 instead. much easier.

    -------------------benjani----------------------
    robinho--------------------------s.w.phillps
    -----------elano---------ireland--------------
    ------------------kompany---------------------
    garrido----dunne----richads---zabaleta
    -----------------schmeichel------------------

    seems like the areas to exploit are b/w robinho and garrido, and b/w s.w.phillips and zabaleta. and mancity are weak defensively and dont really have quality full backs. which is why we'r really going to miss theo.

    anyone else got any opinions how we should play against them ?]]>

  • debs

    the only way to be sure if this decision is right is by 2moro’s performance, to see how the team responds! I personally think the fact that there’s a split (not just a few ppl) about Gallas by the fans shows he wasn’t the right person! You can’t compare him (his attitide) to a John Terry or a Steven Gerrard. I honestly believe it’s good riddance to (bad) rubbish. PS- I do believe though that he’s a great player when he’s on his game. I don’t mind Clichy being captain- a little reward for his performances so far where he’s practically outshone the others. But yeah, we’ll see 2moro!

  • http://deleted Dan

    < ![CDATA[Don't underestimate Song and Djourou. They are both very good players. I think they have been underused so far this season, and it looks like its finally going to change. Shut the door on your way out Gallas!

    I think its worth giving Clichy the arm band for this game too. As a reward, and also as a test. Who knows what it could bring out of him.

    This news has got me quite excited actually. I have no doubts that either Clichy or Fabregas can do the job better than it has been. Whether it transforms them into a truly great captain i'm not so sure. At least we know change is on the horizon.

    And to the people who are claiming Wenger is spineless - stick that one up your ass!]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[VAN PERSIE FOR CAPTAIN
    I THINK FABREGAS AND CLICHY ARE A BIT TO YOUNG BUT DEFINATELY 2 FUTURE CAPTAINS]]>

  • McClone

    < ![CDATA[Excellent article Dev. I am getting addicted to checking the blog daily know. I've never posted so today is my first one. I always read the posts and kind of feel like I know you all...!!

    So, the reason I'm posting is because I'd like to talk about Gallas and the disruptive influence he's been. He was an idiot at Chelsea and Wenger shouldn't have bought such a player. Threatening to score an own goal over there was definitely a sign. Then after joining Arsenal, he criticised Arsene's purchasing and lack of players. It was then only as captain did he shut up, and maybe that was why he was made captain.

    But as captain, he hasn't been inspiring, has been really moody and set a bad example.

    I am so thankful he has supposedly gone, I wish he was never signed. It all went down hill when he joined us.]]>

  • zohaib

    hey why’s my quote not in red :P