This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney
It’s certainly not boring being an Arsenal fan these days is it? There always seems to be something going on at the Emirates that will dominate the national press in the lead up to games. This attention is sometimes positive, but more often that not – it’s negative and has an impact on the whole club.
The last few weeks have been more up and down than ever, it has to be said. First there was the fantastic performance at Fenerbahce, followed by an encouraging away win at West Ham. Then there was the disappointing draw with Spurs and the Rory Delap influenced defeat at newly promoted Stoke City.
The Gunners were able to pick it up again the following weekend to record a priceless win over Manchester United at the Emirates. Everyone decided that this was the result that would kick-start the season and it was now time to hit top form. However, consistent with the ‘up then down’ pattern of the season so far – Arsene Wenger’s team proceeded to lose at home to Aston Villa.
Now the party line is that Arsenal’s title challenge is over and that the season might as well end now. Unsurprisingly, this is a point in the season when the captain of the club needs to come out and rally his troops. With their backs against the wall, the team spirit needs to be stronger than ever.
So, Arsenal captain William Gallas decides the best thing to do is brand his fellow team mates ‘not brave enough’ and reveal that there were a number of arguments in the dressing room at half time of the Tottenham game including one player who ‘insulted’ his team mates with a negative attitude.
These are, of course, not encouraging comments to hear. Nobody wants to believe that there are potential splits in the dressing room or bitterness between Arsenal players. That’s going to do nothing for the results on the pitch after all is it?
Personally, I am going to defend Gallas slightly on this. Yesterday, Sky Sports News revealed the quotes of this ‘outburst’ and focused heavily on the negative stuff. However, Gallas also asked his team to be ‘soldiers’ and that every single weekend they need ‘to fight’.
There is no doubt that this whole scenario is being used by Gallas to fire up his players. Why else would he come out with these comments on a Wednesday in between games? It’s not as if they were heat of the moment comments is it?
Something that Gallas’ views do, regardless of whether you are happy with him, is make this weekend’s clash with Manchester City extremely important. If Arsenal grab a win, it will be Gallas’ comments partly responsible and it could really fire up Wenger’s men for a decent run. If it’s another defeat, then god help Gallas. He will be criticised from every angle and the dreaded ‘crisis’ word will be branded about all over the show.
As for the Manchester City game, well they are strong at home and have a lot of attacking ability in their ranks. Therefore, Gallas and co will be well and truly tested at the back. Arsenal haven’t lost back to back games for 58 league encounters. I don’t think I am alone in having a sinking feeling about this one though.
By Thomas Rooney