Gallas Guns For Arsenal's Youngsters

Tim SturtridgeContributor INovember 21, 2008

It’s a bad time to be a 25-year-old at the The Emirates as club captain William Gallas lifts the lid on the dressing room flare up which occurred during Arsenal’s recent draw with neighbours Tottenham.

Gallas said of the player responsible, “I’m 31, the player is six years younger than me.”

While his latest outburst puts Emmanuel Eboue and Bacary Sagna in the frame, it is understood that Robin Van Persie was the player causing the rumpus. You may think  that by now Gallas would know better than to throw stones in glass houses, but in an explosive interview with L’Equipe he pointed more fingers than you can count on both hands.

“I am trying to defend myself a bit without giving names. Otherwise I’m taking it all. It’s very frustrating."

"We are coming up against teams who are not scared to play football against us, who are not scared to take us on at our place, and this is becoming dangerous for Arsenal,” forewarned the Frenchman.

The two time Premier League winner has a reputation for being a smoking gun and this episode is the latest in a long line of whistle blowing antics.

Another time Gallas was gracious enough not to name names but instead use cryptic clues was in the retelling of an incident from the French team bus which occurred during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

He identified a team mate as “S” and this swine had all the attributes Gallas despises in the youth of today, “they seem cheeky, very sure of themselves. They think they know everything but they know nothing.”

So what advice could Gallas offer this youngster who was shooting his mouth off as Les Blues cruised along an Autobahn in Germany?

“Are you speaking to me?” said Gallas, ever the man of maturity, “Who do you take yourself for? You’re only 20... I'm not your friend.”

Imagine the scenes when the other player in question, Samir Nasri, rolled into Arsenal’s London Colney training complex to report for pre-season training?

What these whippersnappers don’t seem to understand is that Gallas was in their shoes once and when he was he knew his place. Enlighten us William:

“I too was 20 years old once. I would never have allowed myself to speak in such a way to a player older than me. We respected the veterans. We shut our mouths. They [young players] don’t have to work as hard as I did. It might not be their fault but it is wrong.”

So what advice does Gallas offer the Arsenal young guns who he leads into battle, week in and week out?

Well, surely William must be pretty high up on Fabio’s Christmas card list after his words of encouragement have given England a galvanised Theo Walcott. Do you think that hat trick in Zagreb would have happened without these pearls of wisdom given last March?

“He [Theo] must be less predictable and more focused. He can also take too long on the ball.”

For all his moaning, William Gallas does highlight the issue of young players suffering a loss of hunger for the game and the issues they appear to have being motivated. Even his on pitch protest at Birmingham last season, though heavily criticised, did show support for teammate Eduardo who was left picking his bones up from the St. Andrews turf.

Three summers back when William Gallas and Ashley Cole swapped shirts and Arsenal pocketed £5million it looked like Arsene had pulled off yet another successful transfer coup.

Granted, the deal itself was precipitated by a bun fight between Gallas and Chelsea. The defender had refused to play in an FA Cup semi-final, failed to report for Chelsea’s training camp in America, and even threatened to score an own goal if he was selected in the first game of the season.

Despite all this it was reported John Terry and Claude Makelele were upset by the loss of such a consistent performer from the Chelsea ranks.

Then Ashley Cole was forced to view the halfway line as an electric fence under Jose Mourinho and lost the buccaneering instincts which made him the most highly rated left-back in the world. While over in North London Gallas was adding that much needed steel to Arsenal’s youthful and lightweight outfield.

Sadly for Arsenal, that steel has buckled once too often already this season while over at Stamford Bridge Scolari has restored Ashley Cole’s mojo. 

A lack of calm and assured leadership on the pitch has been central to what looks like another pointless season for the Gunners. Sporadic performances from Arsenal’s big number 10 have left fans wondering which Gallas will turn up on any given day. Gallas did , however, look at his imperious best in the recent home win over Manchester United.

“Against Manchester it was the whole team that fought for victory,” Gallas said. “But when you stop fighting together, there comes a time when the midfield will sink, the defenders, unfortunately, can also sink. That’s what happened against Villa.”

Sacking William Gallas is not an option for Wenger. Arsene knows this latest indiscretion will pass and he will deal with it a private manner seemingly alien to Gallas.

The worry for me is that it will go down as another black mark against Arsene and will contribute to his ousting from The Emirates.

It will be a sad day for English football when Wenger goes. Arsene will become football’s Brian Jones and while I hope he can steer clear of the swimming pool, Arsenal will steady the ship with a Mick Taylor before going on to a more regulated version of success under their Ronnie Wood.

When this happens no one should ever forget the man who started it all in the first place.


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