Monday, September 29, 2008

I Blame Gallas, But Not Only Gallas...It's Effort Too

Ok so it's been a busy weekend and I haven't had a chance to post. I had to coach my team on Saturday, then go to the FSU-Colorado game, then Sunday I had the Jaguars-Texans game so I didn't get a chance to do a match preview. My bad. And maybe I'm bad luck because we Hull home. I'll admit I didn't get to see the game, so I won't bother going into a match review or anything like that. I have seen highlights (if you can call them that) and got to read a lot of other match reviews, and by the sound and look of it, it seems that the team went out and played like they did against Fulham, without effort or passion. Hull have had a good start to the season no doubt about that, but when we play a recently promoted team at home you expect a win by a good couple of goals no matter who they are.

I think our main problems are what they have been for the last year or so. We don't have a natural partner for Cesc and our center backs are not compatible. Gallas, as I've stated over and over again, should not be in the starting eleven. The reason he is of course is because he is the captain and essentially has to be played. The problem with that is that he and Kolo Toure are very similar and it throws both of them off when they are in there together. Remember how good Kolo was when he was next to Sol Campbell or even Philippe Senderos? Hell, we set a Champions League record for not conceding with Phil and Kolo at the back. What has Gallas done to earn his spot in the starting eleven? Last I checked being over 30 doesn't automatically qualify you to be given a starting spot and the captaincy, but in Gallas' case it appears to be just that. Unfortunately, we don't really have any options but to leave him in there. We got rid of big Phil and our only cover is Djourou and Silvestre. I wouldn't mind giving Djourou a run in the side alongside Toure to see how they operate, but I can't see it happening, again, because Gallas is the captain. It's like a problem where everyone sees that there is a problem, but the solution can't be obtained even when you realize what it is. Gallas has not earned a thing at Arsenal in my opinion. I don't think he plays well for us as a defender, and I don't think he has shown the leadership to be captain of this club. Even Thierry Henry lead the team better than this clown, and I don't think anyone would say that Henry was the best choice of captains.

The whole of the blame though can't be placed on Gallas. Our strikers have been on and off, Cesc Fabregas hasn't gotten up to the form we need him to be at, and we don't really have enough options off the bench to make an impact when we need it. We have been playing some great football lately. Newcastle was a great performance, Bolton and Blackburn were both quality victories, but when you see results like against Fulham and against Hull, you have to wonder what is wrong on those days. And I don't really know what the real problem is. Do the players just think it will be a walkover and they don't have to give full effort? What is it with proffessional players where they don't feel like they have to try all the time. Isn't that what they are payed for?

If only all Arsenal players were all Arsenal fans like we are. I couldn't imagine myself playing for Arsenal and not giving 110% every time out there. Why? Because I live and die by Arsenal's results. I feel like it kills me much more than it kills say, William Gallas, when we lose 2-1 at home to Hull City. Obviously it isn't possible to field a top level team of all Arsenal fans, but as fans I think we all want to see more passion for the club than what we see from the current crop. Arsenal is different than say Chelsea. We can't put out a whole different starting eleven of equal quality if our first choice eleven doesn't show effort. Maybe the "first team" is growing complacent and feel like they don't have to work as hard for their starting spots. As a fan though, and I'm sure most of you agree, we just want to see the players give it their all when they are out there.

I'm definitely bummed about the result, but there is still a lot of season to go and it is not the end of the world. We need to play better certainly, but the good news is there is a lot of time to turn this around. Like the Fulham loss, we'll need to see how the team responds to this defeat. We've got the Champions League midweek this week and that will give us a good chance to rebound from the loss before our next league match. Let's pull together and get a great result that we know we are capable of. Porto are a good team but it's a game we need to win after the draw in Kiev. Nasri is back so hopefully that will help.

I'm sure a lot of you Gallas defenders will come out of the woodwork and call me all sorts of things for blaming him, but you can't say he has lead this team well. It's time to try something new. Like I said though, this isn't a gloom and doom post, this is a "I want to see us put in more effort and turn it around after this result" post. So don't tell me I'm not a fan or whatever because that will make you sound stupid. Plus I really couldn't give a shite what you think. My opinion is that Gallas is a bad captain and not a great defender either. Deal with it.

I'm going to try to do a podcast today, since I haven't done one in ages, but I can't promise one since I don't know whether I'll have time or not. Let me know your response to the Hull match though, and Gallas, and the lack of effort and all that. Cheers all, and up the Gunners!

One last thing, I have an interview on Gun Diary, a Russian Arsenal blog. You can check it out here. The first part is in Russian but the second part is translated to English so you can all ready it.


Chapmansghost said...

You may be correct about Monsieur Gallas on dropping him to the bench. If Arsene Wenger is really as disturbed at the team performance Saturday as his media speak suggests then he would do well to carry through with his threat to shake things up by at least benching Gallas and Eboue and perhaps Denilson. Add more oomph to the mid field. The motivation for benching the captain being,as Voltaire commented about the court martial execution of the British Admiral Byng, " pour encourager les autres", meaning if the team does not shape up Cesc,RVP or Adebayor you're next . Actually I beleive it would be equally appropriate if he fined or sanctioned the first team coaches both, for failing to identify and implement correcting action as part of pre game training as well as during the match. Especially as the coaches were aware of the Fulham let down and should have been game planning if a similar situation arose again. And by half time on Saturday they should have seen the writing on the wall and changed tactics and players accordingly. Arsene should wield a spiked glove inside an iron fist for once, to get everybody's attention

Anonymous said...

That scoreline is the number of shots each side had. To give you an idea of where that stands in the scheme of things here’s some other weekend scores based on goal attempts

Wigan 10, Manchester Arab 11

Stoke 5 CSKA Fulham 14

Manchester B 32 Bolton 10

Aston V 12, Sunderland 9

Portsmouth 9 Tiny Totts 15

Everton 4, Liverpool Insolvency 11

Which tells us that mostly the team with the most goal attempts wins the game, and that in terms of goal attempts Arsenal were only beaten by an extraordinary high score from Manchester B - a score so high I really wonder if the stats are right. (certainly if these stats, which come from the Guardian are right, the most extraordinary thing is that Manchester B only got two goals).

But I want to make a broader point - which is that if we had got a tiny number of shots then clearly we would simply be not working as an attacking forward moving team. But we didn’t.

If you look at the same stats for the Fulham defeat the result was

Fulham 5 Arsenal 15

And overall this starts to tell us where the problem is. Converting those shots into goals. It’s not a midfield thing, nor is it a defensive thing. It is simply converting those shots into goals. It is, don’t do a Hleb, do a Henry.

Anonymous said...

Arsene Wenger has promised to wield the axe ahead of tomorrow’s match with Porto and though I agree with the sentiment completely, I believe his hands are tied and he won’t be able to do anything significant.

Pretty much every Arsenal fan knows that Gallas is the one player who most needs a “rest:” his performances have been shockingly poor both individually and as captain. You need look no further than the defensive scramble that let Hull score their second goal to see what I’m talking about. I know, it’s popular to say that Gallas is “short” (he’s 5′11″, a mere 3 inches shorter than Daniel Cousin) and that’s why he concedes goals from corners but that’s a load of crap. Mr. Shortymcshorterson wins headers on the offensive end all the time and he wins headers in defense all the time, in fact (and I know I’ll get stick for this) he’s a better aerial player than Kolo Toure by leaps and bounds.

No, Gallas’ problem isn’t the fact that he’s an inch shy of the 6′ mark. Gallas’ problem is that he’s a reactor and not a planner. Watch the replay of Hull’s second goal, it looks to me like Gallas doesn’t want to mark Cousin — so, he’s trying to get someone else to do it when the ball’s played in and “oops” he’s out of position and Cousin scores while Gallas is leaping helplessly behind the ball. Leaders who are reactors can be very valuable because they are capable of rapid change when needed but if they start panicking then that’s when they lose the plot. Unfortunately, Gallas has started panicking, he started the trend last year at the end of the Birmingham game and it’s continuing into this year as has happened now three times this season.

Gallas has to be dropped for the Porto match tomorrow and I would go a step further and strip him of the captaincy — make him earn it back, like I did in boot camp. Stripping Gallas of his captaincy would cause a massive disruption on the team but I think that’s exactly what’s needed right now; people fighting to be leader and let the guy with the biggest balls win it. It remains to be seen if Wenger is willing to risk the facade of harmony he’s built this season, after all, Arsene Wenger is not a reactor, he’s a planner.

More than just Gallas, there are a lot of players who looked pretty ordinary on Saturday; van Persie, Denilson and Cesc could all use a “rest” as well. So too Theo has to be running out of steam and could use a day or two off, but let’s face facts, who will the boss bring on if all 5 players are dropped? Jack Wilshere? Song? Silvestre? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Wilshere is hungry but there’s no way the boss is putting a 16 year old in the cauldron that is the Champions League, so Cesc will start there. Song is injured, as the link above shows, so that means Denilson will start there because the only other option is the 17 year old Welsh wunderkind Ramsey. Nasri is back (yay) and so we might see Theo come off the bench not because he did poorly but rather because he’s played, like, every day for the last month.

That leaves just van Persie and one of the two central defenders as viable options. Replacing van Persie with Bendtner or even Vela isn’t that hard a decision but I wonder does Arsene have the balls to replace Gallas? I don’t think he does. If anyone in the central defense gets a rest it will probably be Toure.

We’ll see.

DogFace said...

I have to disagree about Gallas -utter nonsense. Gallas is a fantastic captain and a defensive artist.

How can you crucify someone on edited highlights?

You need to go to a few games and see what really happens.

KiddCdog said...

Its simple! Gallas needs to step up or get out! if u look back on the goal we have concided on corners gallas was responsible for hull city and fulhams goals against us. He man marking is up the shit! U cant blaim it on the height! if u look at the game he is no where near Cousins when he jumps, he only gets to him when his already headed the ball! what to do?...........................i think we are not giving silveste a chance at all! remember he is an extremely experienced player and might be our answer to our defensive problems. I sure he will start against porto so lets just give him a chance, lets face it he knows he has a lot to prove, his only on a short term contract.

Gallas does not deserve to be captain, i think toure would make the perfect captain! he always gives 110% and stayed loyal to arsenal through the years! ...please dont say fabregas is our man! yes i love him and he will one day be our perfect captain but i dont think his ready! give him at least a few more years!

One last thing arsenole your up the shit mate! im sorry to say it but your posts are a joke 50% of the time! How can you say arsenal players dont give 110%!!! what type of fan are you if your didnt even watch the game! i live and breath arsenal everyday watch every game with out fail! if our players were anything like u then will be droped to the coca cola division! We have to back our players even through this hard time! what type of fan are you when your always bagging the shit out of arsene wenger! get behind him once in a while! i dont want arsenal to go buy up the best player! his got style and respect and when we win the title this year our win will be sweeter then ever! didnt spend up like every other cunt! sort your shit out arsenole!!!!!!!!


ArseNole said...

kiddcdog - You are one of the dumbest people to have ever read this website I think. We played f'ing Hull City. Hull City. At Home. You can tell me that the players tried just as hard in that match as we would in the Champions League Final? No way. I'm glad you have time to live and breathe Arsenal every day, but here's a new idea for you too. Get a job.

Dogface - I'd love to make it to a match but I'm not crucifying Gallas on edited highlights, he's been crap since the end of last season.