Captain Gallas


Ahead of the Amsterdam tournament Le Boss gave his ususal pre-match press conference: it was 3 parts nothing and 1 part injury news. The nothing news is that Bill Gallas, good old Bill, will be captain again. I don’t know why, but the papers are all abuzz about the boss re-affirming what he said last week; that Bill would be our captain again. Some of these veritable fog lights of journalistic integrity have gone as far as to put words into Wenger’s mouth, going so far as to make it sound like the boss is giving Gallas just “one more shot” at captaincy. Every quote I’ve read, every interview I’ve seen, pretty much all evidence, says that there’s no truth to this. Unless William Gallas organizes a Man U style sex orgy he’s going to be the captain this year. Hell, from the quotes I’ve read, I doubt William Gallas would be stripped of his captaincy even if he did. Maybe if he was caught with a dead male hooker…

My regular reader knows that I don’t particularly care for Gallas, both as a footballer and as a captain. In fact, there was a time when I was finding my feet here at 7amkickoff that I roundly criticized the man. He’s a lightning rod for criticism in the press and so you might understand why I was so hard on him. For example, when he came over from Chelsea, there was a lot of bad press about him: Chelsea went so far as to say that he threatened to score an own goal because he was so dissatisfied with their contract offer. Not that I trust anything that Chelsea’s management ever say, they always seem to be embroiled in some kind of drama. But, whether it’s the machinations of Chelsea, the xenophobic and French hating British press, or whether it’s the man himself (probably all three) there is no more controversial character at Arsenal right now than William Gallas. Even Adebayor, with his stupidity, doesn’t generate as many negative news stories as Bill. Simply put, I find him to be a largely ineffectual captain at best and at worst a major distraction.

In some ways I think the die was cast last year when Wenger put Gallas in charge. From that point on, anything less than captaincy is completely out of the question. Let me put it to you this way: if Wenger were to give the armband to Toure, do you think Gallas would A) act like the consummate professional, show up to work, do his job when called upon and hold his tongue for the whole season like Gilberto did last year? or B) moan in the press constantly about club, demand to be traded, and sit out parts of the season with an injury? Given all of the bad press the man has received I’d put money on B. And I think that with as much smoke as we’ve seen there has to be some fire there. So, I think Wenger’s hands were tied here; he had to keep William as captain or trade him away.

Which means that for the foreseeable future, love him or hate him, we have William Gallas as our captain. If I could put in one small request? Please, for the love of god, no more pre-match warm up prep talks in front of the cameras? Kthanks…

Diaby and Nasri are injured

Buried deep in the press reports about William Gallas’ inevitable appointment to captaincy is the injury news that Samir Nasri is ruled out of this last pre-season tournament but should be healthy when Arsenal take on FC Twente next Wednesday. Meanwhile, Abou Diaby is ruled out all the way until at least the 16th. I’ll say that again, because it seems mildly important: About Diaby, Arsenal’s supposed replacement for Flamini, and a man with a checkered injury history is already ruled out for the first week of the season. Which means that Wenger will likely need to play the largely unconvincing Denilson in the holding midfielder role. Oh god…

It’s a sign Arsene, a SIGN. SIGN!