Aug 012009

Back in November, our season was going from one bad result to another, before taking a nightmare turn when William Gallas uttered the public criticisms that led to his removal as captain of the football club. Back then, it seemed inconceivable that he would still be at the Emirates come the end of this summer.

Fast forward nine months, and suddenly he is the anchor that our defence is currently built around, a crucial part of a squad lacking experience, and a man we have almost universally forgiven. Quite a turnaround, no?

Some will never praise the way Gallas has kept quiet, gotten his head down and put in half a season of performances better than anything we’d seen since the day he joined, simply because his comments and actions in the past make him a difficult man to like. But respect him we must – he is a winner, and while much of what he said was horribly misjudged, his thirst for the fight is a trait we need to harness throughout the team.

Toure has gone, and the returning Senderos appears to be on his way to Everton, according to the reliable Arseblogger. That leaves us with Gallas and Vermaelen as the probable first choice pairing, Djourou as the back up, and Silvestre as the emergency button. Song is listed by Wenger as an option, but in my mind he is establishing himself as a defensive central midfielder, not a centre half.

It is a shame to see Senderos go, but if true, Wenger is bringing in some serious cash this summer. He opens himself up to enormous criticism if he spends no more of it, only to see us struggle, so his faith in the players cannot be just talk to boost their confidence if he does steer clear of the market for the next month. We all know he can be ruthless, he is being exactly that this summer, so hopefully he’ll realise this squad still has two major holes in it and gets them fixed.

Elsewhere, the Vieira rumour mill rumbles on, and while it still sounds a bit pie in the sky, it seems that the player himself is the one desperate for the move, and therefore a player/coach/dressing room leader role is not out of the question. It would certainly be popular, and remarkable.

And, in the biggest shock of all, we actually saw some decent football today. At last! I know we’ve been playing friendlesalready, but Atletico Madrid were the first real challenge, and more importantly, it was my first taste of the live action since May.

The first half was fairly tepid, Rosicky marking his return with a bright opening, and a wonderful curling finish into the top corner, unfortunately from an offside position, while on a slightly less happy note, Eboue countered yesterday’s assertion on Twitter that I really wanted him to stay by reminding everyone how utterly infuriating he can be, breaking down our attacks more efficiently than any opponent.

The second, however, was much improved, lit up by the magical feet of Jack Wilshere, who must surely be pushing for first team football (at the same age Cesc became a regular, incidentally), and Arshavin, who came off the bench to score both goals, the first a careful volley and the second a last gasp winner from a ridiculous angle. The goals sandwiched an equaliser borne out of the sort of slack defending that still needs ironing out.

Reyes was booed, which was disappointing, in fact he seemed more heavily singled out than Forlan, which strikes me as odd. The Spaniard certainly failed in his time in England, but he doesn’t deserve to be the pantomime villain. There are plenty of those to aim at this season.

All in all, it was an excellent workout, with more of the same to come against Rangers tomorrow.

By then, the Senderos transfer may be confirmed, and with it the affirmation that Gallas is as key as another other member of our squad. Well played, Bill.

  18 Responses to “Gallas becoming more critical by the day – who would have thought it?”

  1. Tottally agree about Reyes, he did ok with us and was part of the unbeaten team.

    Also I have to praise Ramsay, he with Rosiky had a good first half.

    Wiltshire was realy realy good.

    SO next season we have Wiltshire, Ramsay and Lansbury who I am realy exicted about.

    Not forgetting Walcott and Vela’s improvement from last season.

  2. Sorry but Gallas is not good enough as a Central Defender, he is too small. Hissy fit or not, AW should play him as holding Midfielder!

  3. Reyes was actually really good for us. We missed his finishing after henry left. He never got credit for the chances he made with his passing as well. He left cos he was homesick (and probably cos he got kicked more than most). Booing him was one of the dumbest things ive seen at arsenal. Embarrassing.

  4. Carl your very stupid… Gallas has proven that he is a world class defender.. if you watched any Arsenal match, which i assume you haven’t since your views are up the wrong end, you’d know that Gallas is a very good defender. Being small will only be a dis-advantage if your partner in Centre Back is even smaller! Cannavaro is tiny and he was a great CB!
    Holding midfielder?? ha ha my god i laugh my ass off at that. . . .

  5. carl is a deadman. how can he sugest Gallas to play as a holding midfielder. are you a fan on loan from milwall.?

  6. Carl , Gallas can’t play midfield.. but u r right he is not good enough to played CD.
    Kill …Gallas a world class player…ha ha my god i laugh my ass off at that. . . .
    He si bad

  7. gallas not a good CB? i thnk carl needs to remember what happened when we lost frenchman to injury. manu 3 arsnl 1 livpul 4 arsnl 4 chelsea 4 arsnl 1. thats 11 goals conceded in 3 games

  8. Relly ive a mixed feeling abt Gallas .. He plays incredibly well sometimes n loses his concentration n leaks some stupid goals like sterday(which a Terry or Vidic does very vey rarely) .. I think some worlclass CB needs to be bought n shud be the future of Arsenal defence along wit Vermalaen but tat frm next year. Cos this myt be Gallas last year n so get the best out of him .. Also ill be happy if he extends his contract to play as a 3rd choice def(But i doubt he’ll do ).. Also i feel Viera shud be signed for his impact,experience n leadership he brings to the team .. Also OMG he’s so so cheap .. So worth the risk.. Plus Matuidi for 3m can be bought for future .. N if at all we get a striker it shud be none other than Mirko Vucinic frm Roma .. He’s really awesome!!!

  9. Guys ive a doubt .. This summer, Shud we go for Viera plus Matuidi as DM(will cost around 4m altogether) or Some worldclass DM like Veloso or Inler (will cost around 15m).. Which is bettr ..I think Wenger will go for the cheaper option ..N tat doesnt look tat bad .. Does it .. In fact tat looks the best option for me now ?!?!?!

  10. vieira+matuidi definitely better than veloso mate

  11. The goal Arsenal conceded yesterday, a pub manager would have pulled his hair out, really, really quite pathetic, and the chance Madrid had in the first few minutes, hitting the upright was purely Denilson’s fault, he was pointing at everyone and not marking anybody hinself. This has got to be sorted or it will be the same as last season, conceding
    silly goals.

  12. Guys, pre-season football never used to be televised, so we never knew that shambolic defending is the norm before fitness and organisation return.

    Seriously, it’s far too early to panic about that.

    Carl, Gallas not good enough to play at centre back? He’s had a pretty good career then.

  13. someone tell me how many midfielders we have? then someone tellme how many are defensive midfielders? ONE. SONG. some play the role in part eg, Denilson will tackle, get the ball then pass it to opposition. Diaby. No positional sense. Enjoys attack but the marking bit, often over looks it. Cesc is a playmaker and good holder and distributer of the ball. So is Nasri, Ramsey, Wilshire, Rosicky
    while Walcott jus hopes to outrun opponents and hope for a result. Rather crude in my description, but all Im saying is that for a team vying to win everything there out there then surely we should see a bit more variety and back up to SONG in defensive midfield duties!

  14. yeah today reyes appeared again on the screen only to be booed again… poor guy but maybe just what he deserved after the antics of getting his move to real madrid that left the fans fuming….

  15. whoever criticises Gallas is stupid. im sorry but Toure, who has always been loved has, especially last season, been slower and not sharp enough in comparison to Gallas. i rate toure very highly, but gallas is the rock in our defence and we need to keep him till the end of his career in whcihi i fear might be soon :(

  16. I’m surprised at the critisms flying around. Gallas did not play badly and on the whole he and Djourou seemed to have a good partnership, Eboue can be frustrating, but he atleast he tried. RVP – Why was he on the pitch? He could not be arsed. He spend most of the game offside and only slowly bimbled back. Thank God the team could see he was disinterested and avoided passing to him until he finally decided to get onside. Okay it’s a friendly but hey I’m paying your wages show some effort.

  17. denilson+diaby= joke we should really get rid of these boyz

  18. i think tht wallcott will be good this season n i think aw should get reyes bak

    come on gunners

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