“William Gallas is likely to have played his last game for Arsenal.” – Kaveh Solhekol

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “They think they know everything but they know nothing. I was also 20 years old once. I would never have allowed myself to speak in this tone to a footballer who was older than me. The youngsters from the Euros seem cheeky, very sure of themselves. They think they know it all, but they don’t know anything. Faced with his contempt, I raised my voice. The young player said, ‘Lower your voice, speak less loudly’. I replied, ‘How are you speaking to me? Who do you think you are? You are only 20 years old. I am not your friend.’ The player then replied, ‘I’m not your friend either.’ Straight away, I see red.” – William Gallas.

Runner-up: “This boy is not living in the real world. He says, ‘What recession? There is no recession in my world.’ There is a recession for the people who watch Ronaldo play. They are all feeling it, they are turning off their lights a little earlier, they’re all driving a bit slower. They are in recession. For the United fans, sure, he’s a hero to them and deserves every penny he gets. But not to the non-United fans. He wants more money? Yes, they may well despise him for that. If I was his dad or his PR or his agent, I’d be saying to him that this is not the route we want to be going down. They should be building his image as a loyal servant. I’d like to see players kissing their badge more, not their wallets.” – David Gold.

Today’s overview: The big news this Saturday surrounds the deep hole William Gallas has dug for himself, with the Frenchman stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and dropped from the squad travelling to Manchester City following his public attack on his teammates, particularly Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri.

Sympathy for Gallas is in short supply, although Kevin McCarra was willing to concede that “the curious fact is that the confrontational stance towards team-mates might very well be the correct way for a captain to conduct himself if the dispute is kept private.” Another kind analysis comes from former Gunner Alan Smith, who empathised with the fact that “in the end, Wenger didn’t have any choice, even if Gallas was right about some of his team-mates.” And Ian Wright offers his fluffy analysis of the situation, claiming the solution to be that “the Arsenal players need to go away somewhere, outside the training ground, to get everyone back together.”

William Gallas is likely to have played his last game for Arsenal.” Also sticking the knife in is James Lawton, who calls out Wenger’s arrogance over the Gallas situation saying Arsene believes “that even if he has taken a false step, he can make it good without any admission that he may just have been wrong.”

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With January approaching ever closer, the Manchester City transfer rumours are gaining pace. Daniel Taylor links Kolo Toro and Roque Santa Cruz to Eastlands, but the big story comes from Oliver Kay, reporting “Manchester City’s wealthy Arab owners have launched a world-record £50million bid to sign Gianluigi Buffon.” And keeping with City, Steven Ireland comes clean to Alan Smith over ‘grannygate,’ explaining how his girlfriend had made up the lie to cover the fact that she had just had a miscarriage.

Nick Harris investigates reasons for why the Premier League is so tight this season, noting “teams across the board are playing more adventurous football” and “each club’s coffers are being boosted fairly equitably in absolute terms by the League’s £900m-a-year broadcast revenue, so relative wealth disparities decrease.” Jonathon Wilson is far more downbeat for his reasons as to why the league is so tight, saying “the cynical will suggest that bespeaks mediocrity, and the fact that there is an 11-point gap between second and sixth might support that view.” By contrast, Charles Morris explores the growing wealth disparity in the Football League, noting how the new television deal for the Championship is set to widen the gap further.

Looking back on England’s win in Germany, David Lacey drew the lesson that “the England coach now knows he has a shadow squad rather than a shallow squad,” and Terry Venables gets carried away wondering “watching Carrick and Gareth Barry working so well together in central midfield, are Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard still automatic first choices?”

In the Saturday interviews Aston Villa’s James Milner speaks to Stuart James about returning to the Midlands club, Wigan’s stand-in captain Lee Cattermole has a yarn with Daniel Taylor (“I’m still only 20. I think people forget how young I am sometimes”), while Sam Allardyce shares some of his footballing insights with Alyson Rudd – “Football is full of paranoia. I found that if you try to look after everything and try to be all things to all men, you are diluting your own strengths.”

In the Independent, Harry Redknapp offers some of the secrets to his management success, telling Sam Wallace “you can have all the computers in the world but your eyes have to be the judge. You can look at stats as much as you want – and we do – but you can have too much of it. You can spend too much time looking at computers rather than looking at the real thing which is out there on the pitch.”


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