Gallas – Walcott – Dunn

William Gallas has admitted that his injury is worse than previously thought.  The club reckoned that he’d be out for 3 weeks, but gallas reckons it’s more like 6.  Talking to French paper, L’Equipe, Gallas said,

 “I believe it is over for Italy.  You will not see me again until October. It is a bad blow, it is always difficult to accept, but now I have to rest.”

Right then.  Brilliant.  Captain out injured for a long time.  Hmmmm, where have I seen this before?  To be fair to Billy G, whilst I was all for getting rid of him this summer because of his whinging and his mediocrity last season, he’s turned things around, and has even looked like being quite a good captain.  It is  a blow that not only our captain, but a first choice and experienced centre back will be missing fo such a long time.  Hopefully, Gallas is just telling porkies and it’s really not as bad as he’s making out, but if it is, then we will be seeing a lot of Big Phil Senderos over the next few weeks.  If you cast your minds back 2 seasons, Phil partnered Kolo Toure for a long time and managed to get us to the Champions League final.  He’s a good player, but one who is susceptible to lapses in concentration and these really, really need to be cut out if he’s to make the grade. He does bring ariel prowess to the defence though, and in a team that genuinely lacks height, that cannot be underestimated.  When he gets a good run of games, Phil can look like a class player but he struggles when thrown in at the deep end.  Hopefully breaking him in this season against teams that don’t contain Didier Drogba might be just what he needs, and with hard work on the training ground he could prove some of the naysayers wrong.  If he doesn’t get his act together, we might find ourselves ruing the decision to let Johan Djourou go out on loan.

Whether AW is up to some japery is unclear.  What is clear though is that he has definitely said that he’s surprised that Theo Walcott didn’t make the England squad.

“I was surprised last week when people were talking about a striking crisis in England and nobody mentioned Walcott…”It has taken him some time but now in the last week I can see he is really coming back [from a shoulder injury]” 

Now, Le Boss could be making a subtle joke about Theo’s inclusion in the World Cup squad and all the uproar that caused, or he could be being 100% genuine.  Sometimes it is hard to tell with the laconic Frenchman, but from wha I’ve seen, he really is a big fan of Walcott’s and to be fair he does have a point.  With all the injuries to front men for the Germany game, Theo was in with a shout of selection due to two simple facts:

1. He’s a striker

2. He’s English

He probably doesn’t merit a place on current form, but we all know what he can do on his day, and I’m sure McClaren does too.  He also has the added bonus of being able to play on the wing too.

Finally, hideous git David Dunn has been spouting shite about Arsenal being moaners in the Mirror.

“It’s getting a little bit funny because every time we play Arsenal, they’re the ones who say we’re violent. But we’re not, we’re committed and that’s what you would expect from any team.  It always seems to be the Arsenal camp who come out with that kind of comment. I wouldn’t be so sure Alex Ferguson would say that and he would expect that from his team as well.”

He obviously doesn’t remember 3 days ago and the comments Fergie made about Ronaldo getting lumps kicked out of him.  And will someone tell him that being commited doesn’t constitute allowing your team to foul and cheat your way around a pitch.  When he follows it up with statements like,

“They have better players than us with more ability going through the team so we have to close that gap and make it into a little bit of a battle.”

You can see that the man is as stupid as he looks.

Ok dudes.  That’s it for today.

Peas out.  Or whatever those krazy kidz say

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Official – Gallas Is Captain. What?!? + Wenger’s Contract

This morning sees the official announcement that Arsene Wenger has made William Gallas captain of Arsenal.  The debate over who should lead the team at the start of the 07/08 season has raged ever since the sale of Thierry Henry to Barcelona, with opinion split between camps supporting Gilberto Silva or Kolo Toure.  No one really thought there were any other choices other than the man who lead the team for the majority of last season and captained his country to the Copa America recently, or the languid Ivorian who has been arguably our most consistent player since his arrival in 2002.  There were murmurings that Gallas could be in with a shout of getting the armband, but no one really thought that a player who openly criticised the team, the transfer policy, who was average at best last season, who was injured a lot last season and who has only been in the side for a year after joining from one of our bitterest rivals, would be given the most important role the manager can bestow.  Including me.  Gallas on his day is a quality defender, and I had high hopes at the start of last season when he started brightly and even scored a goal early on in the campaign after a maurauding run forward.  I thought that, yes, we have done well in capturing his signature.  But that soon fell by the wayside.  His absence through a series of injuries compounded our problems at the back, so much so in fact that we ended up having Phil Senderos at right back at one point.  And we all know what happened in that game.

If you had asked me yesterday to pick a captain, I would have said it would have to be Gilberto Silva.  He stood in for Henry last season and did a magnificent job, and has recently shown his credentials as leader by captaining Brazil to the Copa America.  There is no bigger honour than captaining your country, and if that country is Brazil, then it takes on even more kudos.  But, Gallas has been given the job.  My first reaction was negative, but upon reading the bosses comments, I think I am warming to the idea.

“[The captain] will be William Gallas. There will also be two vice-captains, Kolo Toure and Gilberto.
“I feel centre back is always the best position to lead on the pitch and it is Gallas who has more experience at the back. But Gilberto has always been a great captain and Kolo Toure has a stature too.
“As well I made a decision that I want all those experienced players, along with Jens Lehmann, to be involved off the pitch. Players like Jens and Gilberto can play the role of a club captain. They can have a very strong impact mentally on the team. I want them to take on that responsibility.”

Gallas in undeniably a winner.  But so too is Gilberto.  The only difference is playing position – and Gallas plays at centre back, so you can see why Arsene plumped for him.  The Boss has also given roles to Kolo and Gilberto, as well as Jens Lehann, so that all bases are covered.  The four most experienced players all have a part to play in leading the team on and off the pitch, helping to guide the younger players towards success.  I can’t fault that.  It makes perfect sense.  The only reason that Billy G will wear the armband on the pitch, is because he has the temperament to do it.  Kolo and Gilberto just aren’t as vociferous or aggressive as the Frenchman, and his appointment should add some steel where steel needs to be added.

Another reason that Gallas got the nod is probably this.  If Gilberto is out until September, then we would be starting the season without our proper captain.  And that’s no good.  Consistency is vital, especially at the beginning of a campaign.  And on that note, another reason that the Brazilian missed out comes to light.  Sort of.  That reason is Abu Diaby.  The young centre midfielder has looked impressive playing in a central role in the pre-season games and I expect that Arsene is going to use this season to give him some more game time in that position.  Diaby and Cesc are the future of the Arsenal midfield, and the Spaniard is almost un-droppable due to his uncanny ability to dictate games and turn them in our favour.  That means that the older Gilberto will have to be sacrificed.  It’s saddening that Wenger would be so ruthless towards a player that has served him so well, but looking at the bigger picture, you’d have to say that he’s right.  Gilberto only has a few years left playing at the level we’ve become accustomed to, whereas Diaby has about a decade.  It’s a whole long term vs short term thing.

So Gallas is captain.  It remains to be seen if he is a good one.  But with the backing of Kolo, Gilberto and Jens, I’m sure that questions over his ability to do it won’t be as plentiful as they were with Thierry Henry in charge.  I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and he’s already been going some way to erase last season’s aberrations from our minds, as discussed here.  Also, Wenger knows what he’s doing.  Only he really knows how well Billy fits into the team dynamic, and you have to trust the double Double winning, unbeatable boss.

And if you’re still feeling apprehensive, take a look at this.  The normally FOS, James Lawton puts down his “I hate Arsenal pen”, and uses some common sense.

It already feels like it’s going to be a good day

UPDATE:FeedBurner feed added.  Subscribe link is at the top left of the page

 UPDATE 2: Arsene Wenger has revealed he will sign a new contract soon.  When pushed on how soon he replied,

“Soon is soon. I do not want to be unsettling. I’m highly committed to the Club, I have shown that many, many times in my life. I don’t think anybody can question that.”

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William Gallas Is No Idiot + Wednesday Round-Up

Stupid work.  Stupid job.  I’m in a really bad mood today, after I started out all bright and cheerful.  I hate it when that happens – you go into work actually not minding being there, and then things happen that make you want to draft a resignation letter and walk out right that minute.  Gah!  I can’t believe I’ve got to go back there tomorrow and suffer it all again.  I sometimes wish I’d been better at football as a kid – then all I’d have to worry about now would be trying not to swerve off the road if I only got offered a £5000 weekly pay rise.

Anyway.  Enough of that.  Onto some football.

Mouthy git, William Gallas, is proving that he’s not stupid.  No, far from it in fact.  The astute Frenchman has realised that the fans were getting a little narked about his constant complaining and mediocre performances, combined with lengthy periods out through injury.  For a player of his obvious talents it was a little galling to hear him criticise the younger players in the team, when he wasn’t showing what he could do on the pitch either.  Now, he’s clearly realised that we expect more from a seasoned international player – thanks in no small part to the power of the internet.  Gallas has hs own website.  He ran a poll recently asking what his most memorable moments were in the season gone.  I don’t know what the winning option was, but I can assure you it wasn’t “His uncontested leadership of the Arsenal defence” or “His magnificent 3 registered league goals”.  More likely, the winning option was “His absence through injury”.  This, combined with the weight of opinion floating around the internet that he was being a dick, must’ve filtered in to the brain of the net savvy Gallas.  Now the Frenchman has become the Official Youth Spokesman™ for the club.  Speaking at a Premier League event, Gallas said,

“This season, the young players really, really want to win one trophy. They won’t be bullied this season. They don’t want people to keep saying Arsenal are just young kids. When I train with them, I don’t see them as young kids. I see only players who are ready to fight.”

Sure, he caveats his comments with “this season”, but it is a nice change to hear one of the most experienced players in the squad get behind his teammates.  For way too long, Gallas was a bit of a twat, insofar as he would constantly blame shift, never admitting that he himself should shoulder some of the criticism that was aimed at the gunners – particularly the defence.  This term, he seems keen to take on that responsibility and with it the currently vacant captain’s role, by adding,

“I have a lot of personality. When I’m on the pitch, I want to win everything. I want to fight because I like to win. I don’t like losing. Sometimes, you have to speak with the other players and explain to them how they can be in joy at the end of the game.”

I’m not really sure who is the best man for the job of captain.  But I reckon Gallas, if he can practice what he preaches, would be a good choice.  And that’s taking nothing away from Kolo or Gilberto, who are both in with a good chance of wearing the armband for next season.

Another player who can’t seem to shut his gob, but for the right reasons, is Robin van Persie.  Henry’s replacement (soundbite-wise) has been bigging up little Theo Walcott.

“I have been practising with Theo since June 18 and I can assure you that he is up for it big time. “When we were doing tests over the summer it was very hard. We were running every day with the fitness coach and I could see it in his face he was really going for it…His ambition is one of the biggest things about him. He is just 18 but I see in him a big, big desire achieve his goals.”

The Guardian is running an article about the 10 best summer signings.  They’re not in any particular order (as far as I can see), but featured among them is a certain Mr da Silva.  It remains to be seen whether he can really live up to the hype generated by his storming season at Zagreb last time around, but the player himself says he’s not afraid of what awaits him ove the coming months.

Arsene Wenger has given his backing to Gael Clichy for a France call-up.  The young left back had a great 06/07 season, and really grew into his role.  In the pre-season he seems to have picked up right where he left off, and augmented this with some great displays playing on the left flank.  If he continues to develope at this rate, and if Gallas can show he’s prepared to step up and put in some big performances, then we will finally be able to laugh at Chel$ki and their “second best left back in the league”.  All the while counting our clean sheets and our extra £5million we found down the back of Arsene’s sofa.

Another player off on loan, this time to Colchester, is Matthew Connolly.  Break a leg, Matthew.  Actually, on second thoughts, don’t

Right.  That’s it for today.  Have a good ‘un

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