Wenger More Concerned For Ashley Cole Than Gallas?

It’s probably fair to say Ashley Cole isn’t your average gooner’s favourite player. The nature of his transfer to Chelsea was never going to go down well and just to cement their hatred, his autobiography confirmed what they already thought of him. So, it’s a foregone conclusion the left-back will get his fair share of stick from the travelling support tomorrow and I’m sure none of us are really all that bothered.

Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, doesn’t seem quite as keen to hear this friendly exchange of opinion about Cole’s petulance, his bank balance, his marriage or even where he may or may not choose to store his mobile phone. So, the Arsenal manager has asked very nicely that the away supporters show some love for the away side instead. In his plea on Arsenal’s official website, Wenger says “I do not want anybody to be targetted in the other team.  You want your fans to support your team in a fair way, but a very passionate way and I am sure that will happen on Sunday.”

Mind you, it’s funny how when it comes to William Gallas, the Arsenal boss doesn’t seem to have the same expectations. And whether that’s because it’s a little hard to expect anything else after the recent outbursts that even Wenger was forced to act on, or whether it’s more to do with us all reading the ex-Arsenal captain’s admissions that he too was up to no good behind Chelsea’s back before his move to Arsenal, it’s anyone’s guess. But on the reception Gallas might expect and his ability to deal with it, Wenger says “What gets you through everything is your focus on what you love the most – to win the game.   When you are on the football pitch, no matter what people say, you do not even hear it.  I believe that a player sometimes will not know that it rained after the game because he is so focused on the game and you forget everything around you.”

I guess the home crowd will just have to make sure they’re a little louder then!


Gallas Feels He Deserved More From Chelsea

William Gallas’ autobiography has had a timely release it seems and with our game against Arsenal fast approaching, the press have decided it’d be an amusing time to publish some of the details.

Naturally, they’ve picked out the chapter where he gets the digs in at Chelsea over his move to Arsenal in 2006. So, we get to hear him admit he was having sly meetings with AC Milan behind Chelsea’s back when he says “Milan were knocking on my door. An irony really, this prestigious Italian team were offering me a salary higher than that which I was asking of Chelsea. Straightaway, I was seduced. Not because of the euros but because of the faith a club has in you, the value they put on you. The club (Chelsea) came back to me and said: “We’ll offer you a new contract with a rise but not as much as you’re asking”. Peter Kenyon, the chief executive, was against satisfying my demands. He made our life hell. I don’t think either the owners or Kenyon were aware of my contacts with Milan. We let them know and told them of the offer, which was superior to their own and what I was demanding of Chelsea. They wouldn’t stump up. Chelsea said, for their part, that they wanted to keep me and their offer was still open. No one knows how laughable their offer was and what I deserved.”

I’d say I know exactly what Gallas deserved although I probably shouldn’t print it on this page but anyway, when it comes to that ‘own goal’ story, Gallas explains it was said in a conversation he had Mourinho, stating  “You know, when I play for a club, I need to play with heart. Chelsea’s owners have disappointed me, they have not realised what I’m worth. It’s taken time, the negotiations. I’ve just come to the point where my heart is no longer at Chelsea. You’re going to put me on the pitch OK, but if the heart is not there and I’m not concentrating, I risk making errors, errors that I’m not used to making. We could let in a goal, so lose a match stupidly. This is what I said, word for word. I declared that I wanted to go. That conversation would have an absolutely incredible effect in the media a few weeks later.”

Although, of course he says “I would have been incapable of such utter monstrosities. No player, ever, whoever he was, could say or think he would score an own goal. It isn’t done.” Dead right it isn’t.

Not done there though, Gallas has a pop at Chelsea supporters because they didn’t welcome him with open arms in his first game against them as an Arsenal player, stating “My first match for Arsenal against Chelsea was very difficult. Chelsea’s supporters whistled me every time I got the ball; they really had it in for me. For them, I was a player who would score an own goal, they ignored the truth. I was gutted.”

Oh well, I’m sure there’ll be a warm welcome waiting for him on Sunday eh?

Gallas On His Way Out Of Arsenal?

So Gallas finally pushed his luck a little bit too far at Arsenal and lost the captaincy he really didn’t deserve. And rumour has it he won’t be travelling to Eastlands today either – although he probably wouldn’t be all that welcome after he’d run off at the mouth to the press this week anyway.

Of course, coming from a Chelsea fan, any negativity about Gallas has always been written off by Arsenal as bitterness, and yet here we finally are – at a point where we can say ‘told you so’. Because let’s face it, it was never a surprise to anyone at Stamford Bridge that Gallas was just a little self-obsessed. And whether they wanted to admit it or not, even Arsenal supporters must have had more than the odd doubt themselves – if not before his sit-down protest against Birmingham – then certainly after it?

But then it’s not like they weren’t warned. For a start his behaviour prior to his transfer should have started the alarm bells ringing and as if that wasn’t confirmation enough, they’d apparently been warned by a ‘former member of Chelsea’s hierarchy’ not to make him captain.

Not a bad reference considering he was alleged to have said he’d score an own goal at the club paying his wages at the time. And why was that? Because he was asked to play at left-back so he wanted to leave? We’d be in a right bloody mess if players like Michael Essien or Juliano Belletti had that sort of attitude these days eh?

Still, off he went to Arsenal, with them apparently getting the best part of the deal?! And having got his own way over the move, he just kept getting pandered to. He wanted the number 10 shirt – no problem. He considered himself captain material – again, no problem.

And yet this week, it did become a problem. Because this week, in his extra-curricular captaincy duties, Gallas saw fit to embarrass his club and his team-mates by airing their dirty laundry in public – and as far as Wenger is concerned, that wasn’t in the job description.

So, with him seemingly taken down a peg or two, is William Gallas on his way out of the Emirates?

Former Chelsea Favourite Thinks They’ve Lost It?

Well, we haven’t heard from former Chelsea favourite Gianluca Vialli for a while but if anything’s certain to have the world and his wife giving us the benefit of their opinion, it’s a defeat.

So, right on cue, in the wake of our battering by Roma the ex-Chelsea striker and manager says he doesn’t believe Chelsea are what they used to be.

Of Chelsea’s tactics on the night, Vialli says “Chelsea came here to settle for whatever they could get and when you do that, you end up losing the game on most occasions.” Whilst on the Giallorossi’s answer to Chelsea’s game he says “Roma had a great reaction to this, especially after all the problems they had recently.  Spalletti changed the system with Totti behind Vucinic as well as Brighi supporting  Perrotta on the flanks, this made life difficult for Malouda.  Roma showed great football with the ball to feet and it worked.”

And so, the Italian concludes “I don’t think Chelsea are the same team as they were a few years ago. They don’t have the consistency anymore. They lost to Manchester United in the final and also to Liverpool at home the other week, before they used to win these games.  I don’t think they have the consistency like before.”

Mind you, isn’t the fact that we appear to have started losing games we’d normally have won a form of consistency in itself? 🙂


Former Chelsea Man Heaps Praise On The Blues & Lampard

What a thoroughly decent bloke Steve Sidwell is.

Whilst some players happily slate previous clubs for one reason or another, Steve Sidwell, who’s time at Chelsea appeared on the outside to be little more than a career break, doesn’t have a bad word to say about his former employers. In fact, for a player who spent the majority of his time there struggling to even make the bench, he’s very gracious. Talking of his time at Stamford Bridge, Sidwell says “A lot of fans tell me I am a Chelsea reject but the year I had there I wouldn’t change for the world.  Although it didn’t work out how I wanted it to, I have gained in other areas surrounded by leading players which can go a long way to help my career.”

I’ll be the first to admit I questioned Sidwell on the odd occasion, firstly with rumours flying around he was refusing the leave Chelsea and later, on his £5million move to Aston Villa, when my cynical side  wondered whether the ‘kiss and tell’ story was yet to come. But fair play to the man, he held no bad feelings then and his recent comments have continued to heap praise on his old club.

Particularly in line for his praise is Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, of whom Sidwell says “I knew Frank was a fantastic player but being that close to him for a year, I have to say he is the best professional I have worked with by an absolute mile. The day I left I spoke to him and said: ‘It has been a pleasure to be with you this year’ as I picked up a lot of stuff off him.  I learnt a lot from him like his positional play – where he is around the pitch, his passing, his vision and his fitness. He was great at timing his runs, which is the most important thing because if you time your run to perfection you have a golden opportunity to score.  Every day in training you got 110 per cent out of Frank which is impressive. You look at players on extraordinary amounts of money and some ease off.  But even now Frank has signed his new deal he is still putting in extra performances which is what makes him a top player.”

So, he was clearly more impressed with his former team-mate last season than I was although I’ll grudgingly admit Lampard’s ridiculous pay rise does seem to have had an impact on his game so far this season.

Anyway, on Scolari’s arrival and Chelsea’s chances this term, Sidwell says “I trained under Phil Scolari for a week and what I saw of him in that week was mind-blowing.  The players really took to his training methods and they have got off with a bang and I can’t see them dropping many points.  They lost to Liverpool but I know they are going to win the league this year – I am that certain of that.”

Whether he’s right or not remains to be seen, but what a top bloke.

Ashley Cole & William Gallas: Is The Criticism Unfair?


With Ashley Cole the subject of much debate this week, it’s had me thinking about how valid the reasons for it are. Of course he’s probably football’s least likeable bloke for a variety of reasons, from wage demands and cheating on his missus, to showing contempt towards officials. However, to my knowledge, none of his actions have affected Chelsea’s ability to see a game out.

But what about the player we ‘swapped’ him for? Could the same be said of him?

Well, only recently William Gallas has responded to a bit of stick over his Arsenal captaincy by firstly whingeing that it’s harsh and secondly by suggesting it’s hardly his fault Arsenal don’t have Chelsea’s winning mentality.

I know, I know, the mere suggestion of Gallas whingeing is shocking, but bear with me.  

On the question of his captaincy, Gallas says “The controversy about my captaincy? People had to find a scapegoat as we didn’t win any trophies last season. So, they talked and talked again about the Birmingham match.”

But why wouldn’t people talk about that game when they’re judging his competencies as Arsenal captain? In a game where Arsenal were looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points – a game which saw Eduardo subjected to a wild lunge leaving him with a fractured leg – Gallas decides to demonstrate his displeasure at a Birmingham penalty by sulking on the halfway line.

Of this course of action Gallas says “Of course, some of my Arsenal team-mates could not have appreciated my behaviour against Birmingham. Indeed I made a mistake. I must admit I flipped my lid. I believed I had a message to give to my team-mates and I could not find the right words.” Personally, I thought his actions spoke volumes about his ability to lead a team.

However, Gallas suggests he was criticised unfairly and in defence of his failure to lead Arsenal any higher than third place by the end of last season, Gallas reminisces about his time at Chelsea, stating “Before Arsenal, I spent six years at Chelsea. That team was capable of getting ugly wins. If we had an opportunity to win a cup, we would never miss it. There I became imbued with the winning culture, which doesn’t exist yet at Arsenal. Our game made people dream, but we had empty hands.”

Again, comparing your current side unfavourably against your previous club might not be every captain’s idea of ‘finding the right words’ but let’s not criticise him unfairly eh?!

Mutu Continues To Play The Victim

You know, if I was random drug screened at work and found to have cocaine in my system, I would fully expect to have my contract terminated. I’m not sure I’d actually be sued although any outstanding money owed, like holiday pay for example, would have to be paid back – oh, and I’d certainly have my registration taken away.

Now when it comes to the footballing world, things work pretty similar. A player signs a contract, knows that random drug screens are expected to be clear if he’d like to continue playing for said club and also knows he’ll be taking a career break if it isn’t. So, they do get it slightly easier because after a spell out, they at least get to go back to the same line of work again – a line of work that allows them to earn copious amounts of money to powder their expensive noses again should they wish to do so.

However, according to Adrian Mutu, having been given a decent contract at Chelsea and failing to honour that contract by deciding it wasn’t nearly as exciting as a few nights out and half a ton of the old Bolivian Marching Powder, there shouldn’t be any need for recompense.

Mutu has fought every single ruling on the case so far – and lost – and as a result has seen the compensation rise every step of the way. From the minute he failed the test back in 2004, Mutu and his agent have refused to pay and unsurprisingly, as legal fees take their toll, at the last count FIFA’s award in Chelsea’s favour had risen to £13.8million.

And still Mutu continues to play the victim. With the reported support of two unions, Mutu is now whingeing “What’s happened to me is unjust and I’m going to fight for my rights.”

Mutu had time remaining on the contract he failed to fulfil with Chelsea and went on to play for Fiorentina, so what exactly is unjust about this? Or maybe I’m being too harsh and supporters should lash out their hard earned to watch uncommitted wannabe playboys not fulfilling their potential every week because they’re off their faces?

Your thoughts?