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Friday, November 21, 2008

Should Gallas be removed as Captain? Have your say.

Stating as fact that William Gallas' recent comments were made "in a misguided effort to deflect attention away from his captaincy" is unacceptably poor journalism, and any decent writer or intelligent reader ought to know that conjecture like this should always be kept out of news articles and confined to opinion pieces.

Any publisher that allows such blatant mixing of opinion and news is cheating its readers and showing contempt for journalistic standards, and while this is only after all a website about football, I still expect better. You should be on your guard against any temptation to do this if you have any respect for your readers or for yourselves as journalists.

You're right, mind you.
Andrew Ward, London

Arsenal Fans Have Had Enough Of Gallas
Monkey Steve asked whether Mailboxers can think of worst captains than Arsenal's William Gallas.

I cannot imagine that there has ever been anyone worse than this egocentric, responsibility-shirking, tactically-challenged, past-his-best apology for a leader.

As an Arsenal fan I am in equal parts ashamed and horrified that he has kept the armband for so long and if it is not taken from him now, I fear for our beloved club and the young players who deserve so much more from their captain.
A Woeful Gooner

...I never write in to 365 but this latest outburst by Gallas must surely be the straw that breaks the camels back when it comes to his captaincy. He has never been a consistently good player for Arsenal, let alone a good captain.

This is the latest in a long line of attacks on his own side, and quite frankly we, the fans, are sick of it. He is never positive, is the first to criticise his own team-mates, and doesn't even perform to his own very high standards.

A captain doesn't seek to shift responsibility to the other players in his side, as this latest outburst from Gallas has done. He is obviously trying to make other players the scapegoats. I hate John Terry, but his actions last night speak volumes of why he is the Chelsea captain and why Gallas was demoted down the ranks and subsequently sold.

Last night, in his post match interview, Terry took full responsibility for his mistake, admitted he was wrong and should have done better, and took all the pressure of Scott Carson, which may just spare him a second international exodus. Terry took one on the chin, accepted responsibility, and behaved in general as the captain should.

Compare this with his old accomplice Gallas. Arsenal's first 3 conceded goals this season were all from corners and were all scored by men Gallas should have been marking. Was Captain Bill's response one of responsibility and leadership. No, just like on the pitch, he sought to blame other individuals and in the press afterwards stated how certain members of the team had to defend better. Gallas clearly spends more time speaking to the press than his own team-mates.

Much has been made of Arsenal's problems, and I for one, do wholeheartedly believe that the team had no unity, no leader and no heart. The matches against Fulham, Sunderland and Stoke were some of the worst of the Wenger reign. As the two figureheads of the club, the manager and the captain, have to hold their hands up high and say that there is no collective desire in this team. (Even more so Wenger for persevering with Gallas for a second season, his choice of captain directly relating to the lack of brotherhood and teamwork on the pitch).

Would Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Ray Parlour, Dennis Bergkamp or Patrick Vieira ever have behaved in the way Gallas has done, NO. Whatsmore, with anyone of those players in the team you could be sure that any of our young players wouldn't dream of, let alone consider, stepping out of line or showing any signs of disrespect. Wenger has taken the best team in the world, a side which was invincible, and replaced them with a group of individual players with no particular allegiance to the club, whose best hopes of silverware is the Carling Cup. All of this to supposedly save money, yet we have the second highest wage bill in the prem?!

Not only should Gallas be stripped of the captaincy, he should be dropped. Bring in the 'real' Captain, Kolo Toure(someone who was around with the all conquering Arsenal legends of 04), partner him with Djourou at the back and see what happens. It surely can't be as bad as the 9 goals in 4 games conceded by Gallas and Silvestre. (Chelsea and Untied rejects who are apparently still good enough for Arsenal though).

I hate to be so negative but the club has become a joke, and its choice of Captain is the punch line. They need to re-install some figures at the club that represent Arsenal and can actually galvanise some unity and respect. Why Keown was never made permanent defensive coach after guiding a back four of Eboue, Toure, Senderos and Flamini to the best ever defensive record in the Champions League remains a mystery.

It's been said before but Wenger needs to buy a clear, proven, experienced quality centre back and defensive midfielder in January. I don't have much hope as aside from Campbell and Toure, Wenger has never signed a decent centre back. Can you imagine any of Stephanovs, Tavlaridis, Luzhny, Cygan, Senderos or Song ever playing for ManUre, Chelsea or Liverpool. Not a chance. Its dark days to be an Arsenal fan, and while Gallas is captain and his team of whiners and individuals carry on as they have been, the situation doesn't look like improving.
Cal, AFC, London

...I'll cut to the point. Gallas needs to go - both as our captain and as an Arsenal player. I'd say sell him in the January transfer window.

He is NOT captain material and given the way he has acted thus far, stripping him of the captaincy but keeping him on the playing roster will only create more trouble.

Willy (or cock, take your pick) will just bitch and moan about it for all eternity and screw the team even more than he already has. Just admit you were wrong Arsene and fix the problem before the rot spreads.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus

A Picture That Paints A Thousand Complaints
Ignoring the "did he/-didn't he say those moronic things" aspect of the debate over Gallas, I just wanted to draw everyone's attention to the picture that you have on your site in relation to Captain Numpty. I believe its the shot of him stropping at the end of the Brum game last year. Look at him. Look at his kit. Its pristine. Spotless.

He has just been captaining a top of the table side againtst some relegation battlers away from home, in a game where Brum were putting it about and Arsenal had to come from behind. And he's the skipper.

And at the end of the game he has less stains on his clobber than I do after eating me dinner. If ever one wanted a great visual on this talented but soft and workshy Arsenal team, then look to the "leader."
Mark "and hes wearing Dennis' shirt. Utter sacrilege". Johnson

Carrick: Rubbish
Michael Carrick is absolutely pants. He is masquerading as a 'passing' midfielder yet he only ever passes to his keeper or his center backs. Xavi is the best passing midfielder around (witness Euro Championship or La Liga), that's hows it done.To say he is similar to Scholes is a huge insult to Scholes. He rarely scores or gets an assist like Scholes has done his whole career (not so much in the latter days).

Someone even refered to him as a deep lying playmaker. When I think of a deep lying playmaker I think of Fernando Redondo. Redondo or Carrick? It's like comparing Maradona with Paul Dickov. He's not good enough for United or any other Champions League team.

Which brings me to another point: how bitter is Terry Butcher? Yes, Maradona used his hand to score a goal, get over it. Maybe he's more bitter due to the fact that he was beaten twice for that goal. Clown.

That's probably all.
Mox (not going to be published cuz I slagged off two Englishmen) Carlos

The Carrick Contradiction
I really can't believe the sudden love-in with Michael Carrick following one (admittedly very good) display for England against an understrength and underperforming Germany side.

Now I'm not blinkered to see the strengths the guy possesses. I will even go as far as to say that he has been a good (albeit wildly overpriced) purchase for Man Utd, the reason being that, given time on the ball, he's as good as anyone at crafting passes and making things tick. He also possesses an excellent football brain.

My biggest gripe with Michael Carrick though is that he is a completely different player against good and bad opposition (which is why he's been a good signing for Utd). When the team is on top, he's great - acting as a fulcrum at the heart of the midfield to keep play flowing and open up new angles of attack for his teammates. Put him up against top class players though and the man completely disappears.

Two games played in quick succession sum up Michael Carrick for me. The first is Man Utd destroying Roma at home 7-1 in the CL, where he was magnificent, scoring and setting up goals for fun. United were great, he was better. Roma, quite simply, were dog (they let the pensioner Larsson score ffs).

A few weeks later the same side ran up against a Milan team packed with experienced and quality midfielders. People will argue that the whole of United's eleven that day were shocking, but my point is that Carrick is the man United needed to turn to that day to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and haul them back into contention. Instead he misplaced more passes and missed more tackles than anyone.

I challenged a Man U supporting friend of mine to name a big game in which Carrick has excelled and beyond the Roma one, he was unable to cite one example. I on the other hand can think of several in which he has disappeared. The man simply doesn't make the grade at the highest level and will continue to be found wanting against top quality opposition (though hopefully only in a United shirt and not an England one).
Matt Houston, London

Scholes: Not Average
Loathe as I am to come to the defence of a Man Utd player, particularly one who has always tormented my own team, I think Neil Raines may have got a bit carried away when he described Scholes "very, very, average" for England.

14 goals from 66 caps is a good return and it would probably have been better but for his unhappy stints out on the left wing.
Ben Smith

...Can I just counter the idea that playing Carrick and Barry is somehow better than playing Scholes at his best. I have often found myself angry at the way England fans criticise Scholes for his England performances, without ever watching him pull the strings for Man Utd.

The reason for this is that when Scholes was banging them in from the edge of the box for United, they were playing with two strikers, in Yorke/Cole or Sheringham or Solskjaer, and two wingers in Giggs and Kanchelskis/Ronaldo/a.n.other. What this meant was that the back four were effectively kept busy, so Scholes could find the space for his brilliance to shine.

England, on the other hand, never had wingers, we had Beckham who wanted to be a central midfielder and Joe Cole or another right footed winger on the left who would always cut inside. What this meant was that the back four could sit narrow and one was normally free to pick up Scholes. Late runs into the box are often missed by midfielders but not by a spare centre back or full back.

Scholes was a victim of England's lack of wingers and formation, he is still and always has been a class player.
Paul Milton, Southampton

More Rubbish Cups
All this talk about the worst cup competition of all time is silly and a pointless waste of time...mostly because it's dancing around the real worst cup competition of all time, the British Cup Winners Challenge Cup of 1987/88, St Mirren v Coventry City, a fixture oozing glamour, and a cup so pointless, it still doesn't have a winner.

They played one leg out of two, abandoned it due to a lack of interest, and gave up...

Anyone fancy organising a second leg to settle the dispute that rages on to this day?
Michael Connolly

...In yesterday's mailbox, Ian Hueston of Dublin stated that 'Man Yoo also won the trophy the only time a 3rd place play off match for the FA Cup was played between the two losing semi finalists'. Sorry, I don't think that's true. I recall Wolves beating Arsenal 3-1 at Highbury, probably in August 1973, in the FA Cup 3rd place match. I even recall there being highlights on ITV the following afternoon.

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned the Texaco Cup in this list of crap tournaments, although to be fair, I don't think it was actually that crap. The first one was held in 1970-1, and, oddly enough I remember this because Wolves won the trophy the first time it was held. I think the idea was that it was a dry run for a possible British cup, so there were teams from England Scotland and Ireland (without looking it up, I'm sure Wolves beat Derry City in one of the earlier rounds), and included the highest placed teams that hadn't qualified for Europe.

The final was a two-legged match between Wolves and Hearts. Wolves won the first leg 3-1 at Tynecastle, but Hearts could only win 1-0 at Molineux in the return (on the same night Arsenal won at Spurs to win the first leg of their first Cup and League double, trivia fans!).

I'm sure the tournament lasted for more than one season, but the following season Wolves qualified for the UEFA Cup, so probably wouldn't have defended the title.
Paul Quinton, just realising how sad I can sound sometimes, Wolverhampton

Thanks to f365 for this.

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