Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I don’t want to talk about [William Gallas]. He’s a player who does not play today, what can he do for the club? Nothing. Why should we not then talk about Fabregas and all the other nine players who were not here. I will not speak about it. We can go on to midnight if you want. I’ll give you always the same answer. Why should we make statements? We can have a captain, we can change a captain, without having a political issue of it. Of course he has a future at the club, but I believe the less we talk the better it is. I don’t believe too much in leadership. I believe more in good passing than a guy who jumps around with the hands in the air and plays the leader. Nothing was disturbing before the game, we had a good focus. I believe it is a flattering victory for Man City because we conceded a goal in first-half injury time that turned the game. They had not created a lot and we were quite in control.” – Arsene Wenger.
Runner-up: “We’re one of the clubs that hasn’t got money to spend in January. I don’t see us having anything. We’ll always be out there looking to see what’s there and if finances do become available, I’ll hopefully be able to improve the team and the squad. But my early thoughts are we won’t have money available to spend. Bosmans might be something we can look at, but it still costs a lot of money and if you can wait you can get them for nothing in May.” – David Moyes.
Today’s overview: Turmoil at Arsenal grips the backpages this Sunday, with the Gallas affair, the Gunners’ third loss in five outings, and a general sense that the wheels are falling off Wenger’s masterplan at the Emirates focusing most of the attention of the scribes.
Amy Lawrence wants Cesc Fabregas to be appointed Arsenal captain, calling the midfielder “bright, reasonable, talkative, inspiring and quite prepared to fight whatever battle is necessary on behalf of his team.” Cesc’s appointment is a shoe-in according to John Richardson, writing “Cesc Fabregas will be named Arsenalâ€™s new captain in place of the disgraced William Gallas.” Such an appointment looks to be essential with Duncan White reporting that “Arsenal are slipping into disarray.” The same sentiment was made by nobody in their ranks opened their mouth, no words of encouragement were said or even blame issued for the abject defending that led to the goal.”
On Gallas, Rob Draper is convinced the Frenchman “is now suspended from the first team and will be transferred in January.” Ian Bell tries to understand what Gallas did which was so bad concluding “the cardinal mistake, in Wenger World, was to be both lippy and aged 31.” But Rob Beasley and Aiden Magee claim that the Arsenal number 10 can come in from the cold only if he “grovels in front of his Arsenal team-mates ” and “apologises for the outburst which saw him stripped of the armband.”
All of Arsenal’s woes are too much for Gunner fan Piers Morgan, who calls for the manager’s head spluttering “Right. That’s it. Season over, and it’s not even bloody December. Arsenal were pathetic yesterday. No, hang on, that’s too generous… For 10 years I have worshipped this charming, intelligent Frenchman as he won Arsenal trophy after trophy with the type of dazzling football even opposition fans drool over. But I think he’s hit the wall, I really do. His obstinate, ridiculously blinkered insistence that he can ‘win it with kids’ has now been cruelly, horribly exposed.”
In other Premeir League news, Jim Holden slams Alan Shearer’s half-hearted approach for the Newcastle job writing “Good managers, never mind the great ones, are the one and only boss in their domain. They donâ€™t let others do the serious talking for them.” On Chelsea, Duncan Castles claims “Frank Arnesen will be dismissed by Chelsea before the end of the year” as the Blues continue to cut dead wood from their expenses.
In other news, Patrick Barclay is critical of the footballing authorities that, in the wake of the Carlos Tevez affair, third-party ownership of players has not been made illegal. Giddy as a schoolkid in a sweetshop, David James (“Kaka’s going to be one to keep an eye on, although of course it’s Ronaldinho everyone wants to meet”) excitedly talks about playing AC Milan this week. Amy Lawrence acts as a counter-balance to all the hype, noting how Serie A has fallen from being the best league in the world to now being “off the radar.”
On the transfer rumour front, Derick Allsop links Giuseppe Rossi with a return to Old Trafford noting that United have a buy-back clause for the striker, while Colin Mafham reports that Arsenal are looking to bring Matthew Upson back to the Gunners. David Harrison claims that Real Madrid are lining up Rafa Benitez for their new boss, while the headline grabbing transfer scoop comes from Rob Shepherd, writing “Manchester City are ready to launch an incredible Â£60million bid for John Terry.”
“the progression between the two teams [England seniors and U21s] is smoother than at any time in memory, unquestionably helped by the fact that in Fabio Capello’s assistant Pearce there is an invaluable bridge between the two.” hope and raised expectation are too much to bear”) caveats, reasons to be uncheerful” for why England will not be world-beaters.
In a lighthearted article, Paul Wilson plumps for Harry Redknapp (“successful, visible and enormously popular. He has no chance”) as the BBC Sports’ Personality of the Year. Further praise is heaped on ‘Arry from self-confessed Spurs fan Andrew Anthony, who explains how “Harry has brought us a chance to dream, to believe that a new dawn has broken, that the Spurs do indeed go marching on.”