After the week this team’s had we all need some good news and Eduardo being 1 week away from full training is about as good a news as I can imagine. Add in that Theo is optimistic about his recovery and saying that he might be back in 2 months rather than the 3-5 months others have put him out for and we might be able to blow away the demons that threaten to tear this team apart.
2 years ago now, I was chatting with a Man U supporter who was parroting the line about how Arsenal made a ton of chances but never took them. It was the type of thing that you read incessantly in the press and I had a ton of facts to back up my position; that Arsenal scored plenty of goals, the problem was in the defense. Then reality beat my numbers all to hell: I had just returned from England and as usual Arsenal go on a streak of losing — 1-1 to PSV, 1-0 to Everton, 4-1 to Liverpool, 1-0 to West Ham and the season was over, kicked out of all competitions. I had to admit that he was right. Arsenal needed a goal poacher someone who could put the ball in the net when the keeper spilled it, a “fox in the box,” a Robert Pires if you will.
Then as if to just pile on the misery, Thierry Henry left and the world said “Arsenal are dead,” hell, even I was worried! Where was Arsenal going to get goals?
How about a blinky Brazilian who plays for Croatia and keeps goals in his pocket, would that do?
When Wenger signed Eduardo the whole world immediately looked him up on youtube and wikipedia. The thing that stood out, really, wasn’t his goals, they aren’t typically magical, but the fact that his goal scoring record for club and country was simply amazing. 73 goals in 111 appearances is insane, even if you are playing against some of the worst players in the world, which he wasn’t. Add in that he scored 13 goals in 22 appearances for Croatia and scored them against some of the world’s best competition (England, etc) and you might be able to see what Arsene Wenger saw.
Before Martin Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg, he had notched up 12 goals and 8 assists in 31 matches in his very first season with Arsenal. Typically the first year is an adjusting year, but Eduardo wasn’t having any of that: the net looked the same in England as it had in Croatia.
He was the real deal, a bona fide goal poacher and the key to Arsenal’s renewed success — before Martin Taylor broke his leg. Unfortunately, the kid has been out since February 23rd, 2008 with a fractured and dislocated tibia and ankle. At the time, walking, much less playing, would have seemed a miracle.
And now he’s back? 1 week away from joining the team? It’s almost like a dream. Maybe he’ll join Arsenal as a late sub against Chelsea? Maybe Wenger will put him in the Carling Cup away to Burnley? I don’t know yet, but I can say that this is the best bit of news Arsenal supporters have had all month.
Come get us some goals Dudu, Arsenal needs you!
Goodbye Yellow Brick Gallas
Should he? Will he? When?
Speculation is rampant at the moment over the future of William Gallas at the club. I did a search on him on my site and since the start of this season I have mentioned him in nearly every blog. Mostly I’ve tried to bite my tongue because, well, because who the hell else is going to play center back much less be captain? Last season I was highly critical of him beause I didn’t think he was the leader, I thought Flamini was the leader of the team both on and off the pitch. But I tried to put that to rest this year, give him a chance, maybe he’d grow into the captaincy.
He hasn’t. He is the same blame deflecting coward with an over-inflated sense of self and a persecution complex who infamously came to us from Chelsea. I spent some time with William Gallas’ career this morning and looking over the old news reports you could have seen this coming. See, Gallas has an autobiography due out soon and the one thing that’s certain about Gallas is that Gallas always looks out for his best interests. It’s no surprise that on the eve of his book being published he’d be outspoken and critical of his teammates, just like he did when he was at Chelsea. One month glowing in praise for the club, and the next, when he wanted a bigger contract, demanding to be traded. It’s always done to the foreign press, always done on international breaks, and always done to further his own interests. At the time, it was all fun and games to watch Chelsea implode under the collective weight of their egos, but when you’re on the inside of the Gallas shit-storm it’s no fun at all.
The weird thing about this is how enamored Chelsea fans were with him. They loved the dude, said he was the best defender in the world, at the time. And at the time, it was widely thought that Arsenal got the better part of the deal. It was also thought that all the Chelsea squawking about him issuing an “own goal” threat was widely seen as just sour grapes. Arsenal fans swept that under the rug, his defending was pretty good and we were rid of that horrible cunt two timing yambag Ashley Cole.
Then Birmingham… then shitty comments about his teammates lacking fight… then those bizarre pre-match pep talks in front of all the cameras.. then smokergate… how many more things do we have to sweep under Gallas’ rug?
Sorry but I think that the rug is finally full. Opinion is deeply divided, not over whether Gallas is captain material (that’s settled he isn’t) but, over whether Arsene will and should replace him. Perry Groves is adamant that the boss should strip him:
Gallas has been an absolute disgrace, I said a year ago that he should not have been made Arsenal captain. He should have been stripped of the captaincy ever since his behaviour at Birmingham. He has brought into disrepute all the great Arsenal captains of the past. And now for him to have the front to say that we have got to be like warriors! I could name four or five goals we have conceded this season where he has not been prepared to get himself hurt. The goal we conceded against Fulham is one example, the one against Aston Villa, when he got knocked off the ball like an Under 15 defender, is another. Arsene Wenger has to take some responsibility because he is the one who made him captain. He should take the captaincy off him.
I couldn’t say it better Perry. That said, another former Arsenal great, Nigel Winterburn, points out that if you strip Gallas of the captaincy you also have to sit him on the bench.
In my view he won’t sack Gallas. Arsene has put his trust in Gallas to lead Arsenal forward – to suddenly turn round and sack him says I don’t trust you as a player. And if you don’t trust him as a player it also means he’s not going to pick him. Is he going to do that? I don’t think so.
Nigel is also correct. If Gallas is stripped, Wenger won’t be able to play him — because it would mean that Gallas is fundamentally untrustworthy.
The problem is, if he keeps Gallas on as captain, Wenger will lose the respect of his players. How could they respect a manager who lets the captain set such a horrible example? This is a captain who takes no responsibility for the failure of HIS TEAM, blames others, expects others to do what he won’t do, talks about going to another club WHILE HIS TEAM IS IN CRISIS, and publicly embarrasses his teammates in order to generate press over his new book and deflect blame away from himself. How on earth could you keep that person on your team much less as the fucking captain???
I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!!!
There’s no other analysis, I’m sorry, unless one of you has something mind-blowingly brilliant to say in Gallas’ defense I say we ship him off to Bordeaux on loan… today, he said he’d like to play with them.
I’ll drive, I’ve always wanted to see France and I heard that the beaujolais nouveau is just out.
By the way, Arsenal have a match tomorrow. GOOD LUCK.