I was reading the Arseblogger this morning and he reminded me of something that happened on Sunday. When I was watching the pre-match there was a moment that the cameras picked up on an on-field team meeting presided over by William Gallas. At the time I kinda thought, “that’s odd, but hey, maybe that’s how the team gets motivated for a big match.” I turned my attention to something else for a second and like a shot, I heard Gallas say, in his best English, “We have to show them that we are not afraid!” It wasn’t the assured voice of a man who was instilling confidence in other men. It was the shrill voice of a man who was pleading for his men to have confidence. That was when I knew that they were afraid, desperately afraid, and I got a twinge. Like when you just know something bad is going to happen. You can see the whole thing for yourself here:
I like the look on van Persie’s face. That says it all.
And the stink over the 2-1 defeat is starting to spread a bit. The boss has now made it clear who he thought was at fault for the loss. With this statement he laid the blame squarely at Gallas’ feet.
We have some defensive problems that we need to sort out. We gave away an easy goal against Middlesbrough, against Aston Villa and again today. The spirit is right, the mentality is fantastic but we needed a bit more defensive authority. You can say we played badly but we were vulnerable today.
But it’s not just once that Wenger blamed the defense, he’s now done it in at least two different statements. For Wenger, Gallas is the captain, Toure is the co-captain, and that pair are responsible for the loss. What will be interesting is to see how they respond. Will Gallas talk to the press about Theo’s lack of creativity or will he pull his head out of his ass and work on his game? You know, set the example for the young players. I don’t really think of Toure as any kind of captain so I’d be surprised if he made a statement, but I’m waiting for Gallas to react. The boss is now saying over and over that the defense was and has been the problem over the last 5 games. So, will Gallas blame others or will he take responsibility? Given his history, I would put money on the former.
Adding even more fuel to the Gallas fire is a big story on a small statement by Willi.
Asked by a French newspaper who his mates were at Arsenal, Gallas said: “Mates? Well, they are more like acquaintances. At Arsenal there is Theo Walcott but he is very young. Really, it’s the guys at Chelsea like Frank Lampard, John Terry, Wayne Bridge and Joe Cole. It always gives me pleasure to see them again. We all have our own lives but when we see each other – especially Terry – we always like to spend some time talking together. After all, I spent five years by their sides. There is always something between us. John Terry in particular. I like his mentality. He is a real warrior. In fact he is an example to me even though he is much younger than me.
Just to clarify: William Gallas has no friends at Arsenal, save the man he notoriously slagged off a few weeks ago, but he does have an abiding love for his former Chelsea teammates, especially John Terry. Ugh. I think I just puked up my breakfast.
Has a captain ever been replaced at Arsenal at this point in a season? I suspect the only way to do it would be to claim an injury and pair Big Phil with Toure (a partnership I like!). Then you could hand the armband to someone who has actually been inspirational, who has played hard every match, someone who paid his dues, someone who cut his teeth for the club in the Champions League where he played out of position when asked because of his selfless dedication to the team… someone like Flamini.
I am officially done with William Gallas. Time to throw out the spoiled apple if you ask me.