Apologies for the lateness of this post. If I had a good excuse I’d give it to you, but the truth is that I was having some drinks with Morgana Clarke. That’s right, the same Morgana Clarke that so badly cursed our team during their 0-0 period of last season. Please forgive me.
I was planning on watching Felipe Melo’s performance for Brazil against Italy this afternoon (I recorded it), but I haven’t had time. As it is, I’ll probably watch it tomorrow so if you could refrain from telling me whether he scored/was sent off/played poorly/dominated the midfield I’d appreciate it.
What I wanted to talk about today was the state of our defence. The recent signing of Thomas Vermaelen has let us with a multitude of central defenders – not all of them amazing – and I wanted to spend some time speaking out who I expect to play. My opinion is that William Gallas should start next season as our first-choice defender and Vermaelen (or Johan Djourou) should be his partner.
The way I see it – and I said this in the end of season podcast – Gallas and Kolo Toure should be grouped together to form one half of the central defensive partnership while Vermaelen and Djourou should form the other half. In my opinion Gallas is a far superior defender and leader to Toure – even despite the captaincy issues – and that leaves the manager with a decision to make regarding whether to play Vermaelen and Djourou.
As much as I’d like to see Toure stay the reality is that I’d prefer to keep Gallas above the Ivorian. I know there will be people who disagree with me – most likely citing Toure’s loyalty to Arsenal and Gallas’ lackthereof and age – but in my opinion Gallas is the player that we simply cannot afford to lose if we are to challenge for the big titles next season. As harsh as it sounds, I just don’t feel the same way about Toure.
I don’t want to turn this into a Kolo Toure witch hunt because the truth is I’d like to see him stay at the club. A central-defensive foursome of Gallas, Vermaelen, Toure and Djourou looks excellent on paper and should be enough to ensure we survive the inevitable injuries that will come our way with something to spare. All four bring something useful to the defence and when you throw in Alex Song as well it’s a fairly impressive group.
As always, we’ll have to see how things pan out. But if I was the manager I’d certainly look at pairing Gallas with either Djourou or Vermaelen from the start next season. It would be a competent combination of experience and freshness and in a side that severely needs some defensive stability I think it would work well.
What do you think? I’d love to hear it.
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