Gallas injury puts Arsenal in tricky situation
With Arsenal news at a premium at the moment, I’ve decided to give my thoughts on one of the big issues currently facing side. It was revealed following Arsenal’s bruising encounter with Blackburn that William Gallas had strained a groin muscle and will be out of action until October. Gallas has joined the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue on the treatment table and with Arsene Wenger having already loaned out Arsenal’s fourth major central defender, Johan Djourou, to Birmingham until January, the squad is down to it’s bare bones.
It is obvious that the injury that Gallas suffered against Blackburn was not a welcome one. Phillipe Senderos will now be required to start every game alongside Kolo Toure and if an injury takes either of those two then Wenger will have to start looking at the likes of Gilberto Silva or Bacary Sagna to fill the role. With Gilberto still recovering from fatigue and Sagna fitting nicely into his right-back role, none of these options are particularly favourable.
Make no mistake, I am worried about this situation. It’s clear to me that Wenger let Djourou go with the idea that Gallas, Toure and Senderos could cope until Gilberto’s return to action but now with Gallas out, the side has lost potentially it’s best defender and – in Wenger’s opinion – it’s most influential leader. The injury to Gallas should send the message to Wenger that his decision to let Djourou leave the club on loan was a mistake. I hope he learns from it.
Another chance for Senderos
In the meantime, Senderos has an opportunity to show Arsenal supporters and the rest of the Premier League the improvements he has made. Anyone who watched Arsenal’s pre-season performances will know that Senderos looks sharper and more confident than previously, but it still remains to be seen whether this can be displayed consistently and under constant pressure. He will be immediately tested next weekend against Manchester City by the likes of Martin Petrov, Rolando Bianchi and Elano and the match should give an immediate indication of just how much progress Senderos has made since last season.
Senderos has always looked a bright prospect, but is still a flawed player in my eyes. Tall, strong in the air and a natural leader by all accounts, Senderos’ biggest weaknesses have always been his lack of speed off the mark and his ability to play with the ball at his feet, something which is a requirement of any defender under Wenger’s Arsenal. I will be hoping, along with every other Arsenal supporter, that he can take this opportunity with both hands, and really cement his position as a top quality central defender.
It probably doesn’t need reminding that he has been given these sorts of opportunities before and almost always wasted them – the exception being his dogged performances in Arsenal’s 2005/06 Champions League campaign. But despite his past mistakes, I have every confidence that Senderos can do the job for Arsenal in Gallas’ absence. I mentioned in the Arsenal Season Preview that I thought that either of the Swiss defenders had the ability to perform for the club as long as they had an experienced playing partner. Senderos has always been a player who appears to lack in confidence but with Toure alongside him he will surely receive all the verbal encouragement and positivity he needs to keep his chin up.
What do you think?
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