Sunday, November 23, 2008

We've sacked Gallas

At Arsenal lately, there's been a lot of talking. Clichy says we've got to concentrate, Almunia says we've got to be harder, Gallas says we've got to stop quarrelling and show him some respect. And Wenger says that everything's going to be fine and that this is the best group of players we've ever had. 

But actions speak louder than words. The players have shown over the past few weeks that they can't concentrate, that they're fragile, and that they concede weak goals. Gallas had shown that he's not up to being captain. And Wenger has been shown that this is far from being the best group of players he's ever had. 

Yesterday, Wenger took the step of stripping Gallas of the captaincy. Gallas had lost the respect of the players, control of the dressing room, and he'd aired out his grievances in public. That's not the way a captain behaves, and Wenger had no choice. It's one small step to make things right, but there's plenty more to do. 

Nothing's really changed. The players are still fighting amongst themselves and there's still a shocking amount of ill-discipline. We still can't defend, and we still have a thin, inexperienced squad that's getting exposed far too often. There's still a chronic lack of leadership and there's no obvious choice for the next captain. 

Toure's the next senior player, but he doesn't seem to have the personality to dominate a team. Cesc has that personality, but he's so close to cracking that putting him in charge of an under-performing team might break him. Clichy's the other candidate, but I'd rather he concentrates on those defensive lapses that have cost us points in recent games.

There's another way, you know. It's radical, but it's oddly appropriate - don't appoint a leader. Let one develop organically. Silvestre has the experience to organise the defence. Cesc has the talent to lead the midfield. That's enough for now. Just let the players play and don't worry about who's leading whom. In time, leaders will emerge from all over the park. 

Right now, the captaincy's a minor issue. 

I'd much rather Wenger focuses on more important stuff. Like buying an experienced defender, a defensive midfielder and a great goalkeeper. Like concentrating on our set pieces and defending. And like winning enough games to get that 4th spot. We're limping into the January transfer window, and when we get to it, we've got to do some serious surgery. 

There's a lot more left to do, Arsene. 


Anonymous said...

Hope things are going OK in Sarajevo. Make sure you don't step on a stray mine. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Your Brother

PS. Pete's wedding is in fact in a fortnight's time.

PPS: Sister in law here - Happy Anniversary! You will be back in time to help plan our (your bro's and my) 10 year dating anniversary. Betcha can't wait :-)
Take care out there

Connolly's agent said...

It's snowing in Sarajevo - and it's the strangest thing to see. I don't think I've seen snow in five or six years. It looks quite nice.

And happy dating anniversary. 10 years is a long, long time.

Spoken to Pete lately? How's he handling it? If it's getting to him, take some photos for me. I don't think I've ever seen him stressed.