Gallas does it again for Arsenal

Gallas does it again for Arsenal

Arsenal produced a disciplined and patient performance to see off Wigan 2-0 in their Premiership clash at Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Diarra made sure Flamini and Fabregas were not missedAfter a goalless first half, Arsenal needed something special to break the deadlock and the found it when William Gallas charged forward to head home Bacary Sagna’s excellent cross in the 83rd minute. The home side then added a second to seal the win just two minutes later through Tomas Rosicky, who finished smartly from substitute Nicklas Bendtner’s well-weighted pass.

I caught this one streaming live on Sopcast and was very impressed with Arsene Wenger’s side’s performance. As expected, Lassana Diarra and Denilson started in the middle of the park in place of the suspended Cesc Fabregas and the injured Mathieu Flamini and both players worked well to allow Arsenal to control the tempo of the game. Diarra in particular was a real dynamo, providing excellent cover for the defence and pushing forward with great gusto on occasions. Arsene Wenger will have a real decision to make about whether or not to retain the Frenchman next weekend when Flamini and Fabregas are again made available.

The back five remained unchanged from the last Premiership match against Manchester United, while Emmanuel Eboue and Rosicky played on the right and left side of midfield respectively. Somewhat suprisingly after his excellent midweek performance for Croatia, Eduardo da Silva remained on the bench and it was Theo Walcott who got the nod up front alongside Emmanuel Adebayor to complete a very conventional 4-4-2 formation.

Arsenal played some excellent football in the first half but were limited to just three chances by a Wigan side who defended with great aggression. A great sweeping move involving Sagna, Walcott and Adebayor ended with the Togolese striker’s shot being well blocked by Wigan goalkeeper MIchael Pollitt. In all honesty and in true Adebayor form, he probably should have done a little better.

The same could be said of his namesake Eboue a little while later when he failed to make significant contact with Walcott’s cross with the goal at his mercy. Arsenal were almost punished for that miss when Marcus Bent leapt well at the other end but could only head over the bar. The home side had the last decent chance of the half when Walcott had a shot blocked by Emmerson Boyce after another great team move to ensure things remained level at the break.

Gallas celebrates his crucial goalCaptain fantastic again

Things picked up where they left off in the first-half with Adebayor flashing a shot across the face of goal and Denilson going close from a free-kick. Wigan were then a little fortunate not to be reduced to ten men after Bent took down Denilson with a cynical tackle from behind in the centre of the pitch. The challenge lead to a little scuffle and it was great to see captain Gallas at the heart of it, protecting the younger players around him. Bent was fortunate to stay on the pitch after the tackle, as was Emile Heskey who twice struck Gallas with raised arms during the scuffle while the Arsenal captain did nothing but stand his ground. All three players were booked but I’ve watched the video a number of times since and am yet to understand exactly what Gallas did wrong. Perhaps someone could inform me?

Eboue made way for Eduardo on 69 minutes and Walcott followed the Ivorian off the pitch ten minutes later after an unfortunate tangle with Heskey. The young Englishman, who had been having another great game, was replaced by Bendtner as Arsenal started to get desperate for a goal. Fortunately, it came just three minutes later when Gallas burst forward from defence, linked up with Bendtner and Sagna and crashed a powerful header home. That this is the second crucial goal he has scored in three Premiership games is evidence of just how valuable his forays forward are becoming, something that Wenger was quick to recognise after the match.

“It needed something special, and some patience, to find an opening, and Gallas found it. He’s a forgotten centre-forward because he knows where to be in the box and he can turn up with a goal always when you need it.”

The game was over just a couple of minutes later when Bendtner broke with pace from the halfway line. The substitute had support from Adebayor on his left and Rosicky on his right and eventually slipped a lovely ball through to allow the Czech midfielder time to fire low past Pollitt. 2-0, game over and three points in the bag. And with Manchester United slipping to defeat at Bolton it means Arsenal have a three-point lead at the top with a game in hand. Things just keep getting better for Wenger and his side at the moment.

Special mentions for the match have to go to Gallas for taking actions into his own hands and grabbing the crucial opening goal, as well as Diarra and Denilson for ensuring the impact of losing Fabregas and Flamini was minimal. Walcott was also a bright spark up front and I though Adebayor did well despite his inability to grab a goal. On the whole though, this was another fine team performance and the side’s ability to grab late goals has meant that three points were taken from another match that last season would probably have ended in a draw.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s win over Wigan by leaving a comment.

31 Responses to “Gallas does it again for Arsenal”

  1. le Gunner
    November 26, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    Sf you forgot to mention Sagna what a player he is. He does everything to perfection no one notices him. He was man of the match but all applauds should be given To the Mohican Captain Billy he actually started the move for the goal finished it off and the header was deadly it was more of a striker’s flick no keeper would’ve been able to save it. So Adebayor better watch out or Gallas will be converted into a striker by Wenger. Wigan’s formation was 9 front of goal and 1 upfront. Last season this would’ve been a draw but Arsenal are mixing it up this season. We need to score more headers and some long range shots if we do that more often it will force teams to play the offside trap which is perfect for Arsenal’s passing. Most teams expect Arsenal to walk the ball into the net so they camp in front of goal.Anyway it was a great result considering what happened in Bolton.

  2. ArsenalKenya
    November 26, 2007 at 7:23 pm #

    Sagna and Rosicky deserve recognition as men of the match. At one point i got desparate after we had not scored in the 80th minute but was on the other hand keeping tabs of the Bolton and man U game. denilson and Diarra blended wwll and although at times diarra was caught off guard with the passes directed to him , they played as a team and finished their job. More recognition goes to Gallas for being the Captain that he is. he even went ahead to show the Match referee that he came on to intervene after that back tackle on denilson because he is the captain and pointed to his arm band. What a great leader. he is one of the great and with him Arsenal will go places….

    KEEP IT UP ARSENAL AND WE NEED MORE GOALS AT ASTON VILLA NEXT WEEKEND…….

  3. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm #

    Yeah I got quite nervous as well. It seemed like one of those games when the ball would never go in. But Gallas stepped up and did something that not many central defenders in the world would do – push forward and grab a goal from open play. As you say, ArsenalKenya, his captaincy was there for all to see during that confrontation after Bent’s tackle. He didn’t do a thing wrong and had every reason to get in there, point to his armband and have his say with the referee. I absolutely loved it.

  4. tom
    November 26, 2007 at 8:07 pm #

    great weekend. labor belted the coalition and arsenal streak ahead.

  5. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 8:09 pm #

    Haha, you were right in your Labor domination, Tom. I thought it would be a bit closer than it turned out to be. Rudd looked pretty damn happy with himself, as you would. What did you make of the Arsenal performance against Wigan?

  6. le Gunner
    November 26, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    The commentator was saying why Gallas is getting involved (stupid comments) he is the captain and he showed to his team mates he is standing up for them why Heskey was talking to the ref anyway then he pushed Gallas away Heskey should’ve been sent off for the Walcott foul. The other thing that annoyed me about commentators when the first goal went in they kept saying oh it’s a bit harsh on Wigan. Arsenal only got what they deserve for playing attacking football. It wasn’t harsh on Wigan because they didn’t play football. Why mediocrity should awarded ?
    How about that goal from the old Arsenal boy Anelka he is in great form. He openly admitted regrets for leaving Arsenal recently maybe he is pleading to Wenger to get him in January .He seems quite mature and would love to play for Arsenal again. What do you think of Anelka playing for Arsenal again?

  7. darragh
    November 26, 2007 at 8:46 pm #

    Admittingly, I only saw the highlights, but thought Clichy and Sagna were awesome – pace and movemenet – wow. You’d have to bet on them as the best fullbacks in the competition at the moment. Didn’t think Ade had the greatest game ever and thought that while Eboue had some decent runs, he needs to seriously practise on his finishing if he wants to be as clinical as say Hleb or Rosicky.

  8. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 8:54 pm #

    le Gunner – What do I think of Anelka playing for Arsenal again? In all honesty, I wouldn’t like it one bit. I said in an older article when there was speculation about Anelka joining Arsenal that I thought getting him would be a step backwards for our team. Judging from the performances of Adebayor, Walcott, Bendtner and van Persie thus far, I still think that is the case. Although he would get some goals bringing him in would only ever be a short term solution and I don’t think that Wenger would ever go for something like that.

  9. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 8:54 pm #

    Darragh – Sagna is without a doubt the best right-back in the Premiership at the moment and Clichy only really has competition from Patrice Evra for the left-sided honour. They’re so important for our side, blessed with the energy to get forward and get back as they please. When you think about it, we really do have a lightning-quick defence.

  10. le Gunner
    November 26, 2007 at 9:26 pm #

    When there was speculation about Anelka coming back I thought no way. he looks a different man now more mature he played for so many clubs but every time you hear Anelka you can’t help thinking of Arsenal and that because the way he plays his football still the Arsenal way. I would hate it to see him go M.utd in January. Arsene never brings players back. I’m with you on the strikers we have they are all great. They’ll be ever better next season. I have to admit we need a sharp shooter like RVP. Anelka fits the bill despite that I would still hesitate to bring him back just in case he upset the atmosphere. I really hope he doesn’t go to M.utd.

  11. Leroux
    November 26, 2007 at 9:54 pm #

    WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE WIGAN GAME:
    1) diarra is better than flamini….just hhas to play withh cesc for a few games!
    2) Clichy cant kick with his right foot
    3) sagna cant kick with his left foot
    4) gallas is an exelent captain
    5) heskey is an idiot
    6) anelka plays for arsenal(in his hhead)
    7) clichy and sagna are legends
    8) Adebayor hhas to score more
    9) Arsenal will win the league
    10) number nine is a fact!!!!
    11) arsenal do have depth!!!
    12) djourou is better thhhan piquet!!

  12. Leroux
    November 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    8) is 8 )

  13. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 10:02 pm #

    Hahah, how did you learn #12 from the Wigan game??? That’s some pretty funny stuff, I can’t say I agree with all of them but there you go.

  14. tom
    November 26, 2007 at 10:08 pm #

    i watched the a bit of the 1st half then went to bed. it wasn’t really esquisite football, but a win is a win.

    and bolton drilled man u which puts us in a comfortable position on the ladder.

  15. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 10:10 pm #

    Were you out and about or are you lucky enough to have Fox? I had to stream it on Star Sports – such a handy little thing these days.

  16. Leroux
    November 26, 2007 at 10:25 pm #

    i dont knw why evryone in the world has problams seeing the arsenal games live on tv.
    in south africa i havnt missed one game….
    the emirates cup, amsterdam tournament, premier league, champions league, carling cup, fa cup is all shown live on tv.
    And they say south africa is a third world country?????

  17. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 10:32 pm #

    We have it on Pay TV in Australia, the coverage is excellent. I just can’t afford to pay the money every month to watch the football, so I prefer to catch it at a pub or watch it free streaming over the internet. Suits me 🙂

  18. darragh
    November 26, 2007 at 10:50 pm #

    No offense to many of the readers, but I do find it strange that there are so many diarra fans around! He’s fairly untested in terms of the premiership, and I’m not saying he’s a bad player, but considering the form and experience of players like Flamini and Gilberto, I think he is definitely a third-choice defending midfielder at the moment. Yet, many people speak very highly of him – I just wonder, on what basis?

  19. Spanish Fry
    November 26, 2007 at 11:05 pm #

    I think a lot of the compliments given to Diarra are based on his potential and also the limitations of Flamini. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Flamini and I think that taking him out of the side would be the wrong thing to do, but his game has limitations and people will always point to them. Just look at the way that Adebayor’s weaknesses (poor finishing, inconsistency) sometimes block out his strengths. I think it is essentially the same thing. Diarra could be great but at this stage I would not swap the Fabregas-Flamini combination for anything.

  20. GreatDaneGunner (the dog, not the country)
    November 26, 2007 at 11:29 pm #

    You asked why Gallas got the yellow card when he did nothing in reaction to Heskey’s aggressive behavior: It’s because he got involved to begin with. He should have stayed on his side of the pitch and let the ref handle it. That’s how situations can escalate, so the ref was probably right to “remind” him and any other players. No, Gallas didn’t do anything “bad” but he should never have gone over there to begin with. The new haircut looks good, though.

  21. afham
    November 26, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

    unbelievable arsenal!!
    hahhaa
    MU is a loser!!

  22. Jay
    November 27, 2007 at 3:56 am #

    Great win, and Gallas was there was again, with Man Utd slipping, we needed to be comfortble with a 3 point gap. Gallas helped to that. He sunk Man Utd with a last minuite strike and then sinks them again to help Arsenal win while they lost. Next up Sevila.

  23. Spanish Fry
    November 27, 2007 at 9:22 am #

    Personally, I don’t see any problem with Gallas getting involved with it. He didn’t get up into the referee’s face like a lot of players do, he just went to speak to him, pointed at his armband and then Heskey came crashing in. If that’s a yellow card these days then I have to say I’m not a fan of that sort of refereeing.

  24. tom
    November 27, 2007 at 10:08 am #

    i watched it a the pub. but if its not on fox i stream it with sopcast.

  25. MexicanGunner
    November 27, 2007 at 10:49 am #

    The twelve points of “Leorux” make my day.

  26. Spanish Fry
    November 27, 2007 at 10:49 am #

    Gotta love Sopcast. The stream cut out for a while on Saturday night though – wasn’t impressed. Got up especially at 1pm to watch it and that was the thanks I get. Sigh.

  27. Spanish Fry
    November 27, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Hahaha, MexicanGunner, you’re right – they’re classic. These few in particular:

    5) heskey is an idiot
    6) anelka plays for arsenal(in his head)
    7) clichy and sagna are legends


    Classic!

  28. Andrew
    November 27, 2007 at 4:41 pm #

    I still think that though Diarra played quite well, Flamini’s place is not under threat.

  29. Andrew
    November 27, 2007 at 4:56 pm #

    Adebayor was decent, Walcott is definitely still raw, and I thought Rosicky had a very Pires-like game: contributing to attacking, scoring, and not really needing to do much else.

    Gallas has done an excellent job. I have to say that I feel really smug and ahead of the curve in that I thought he would make a great captain from the start.

    Enough bragging I think.

    Gallas didn’t do anything wrong. The card didn’t really mystify me, but to book a team captain for speaking up and protecting his team is a bit much for me.

    Diarra is a good player, but as I said a while back and as Spanish Fry says, people’s opinion of him is mainly based off of his potential.

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    November 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Arsenal FC Blog » Blog Archive » Sevilla away the perfect game for fringe players to impress Wenger - November 27, 2007

    […] Arsenal manager has predictably commented that he will be making major changes to the side that beat Wigan on Saturday. Wenger revealed that both Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor will be rested (about time for Adebayor […]

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