How will Arsenal cope without William Gallas?

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William Gallas’ injury has not come at the best time for ArsenalGallas 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.

Phillipe Senderos has another big opportunity to showcase his improvementAnother 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?

Have your say on Arsenal’s centre-back situation by leaving a comment.


15 thoughts on “How will Arsenal cope without William Gallas?

  1. Another situation which i hope wenger will face is this – Kolo and Senderos form a great partnership let in very less goals. So what will Wenger do when Gallas returns. He is the captain. So will he replace Senderos or will he keep the captain in the bench?

  2. No matter how well Senderos plays I would not deny Gallas a return. He is the superior player in so many ways and I don’t think there would be too much argument over the fact that Gallas would slot back into the side. It would be a nice situation to be in though, because it would mean that Senderos has impressed. Fingers crossed.

  3. In my view a good opprounity to Senderos to show how he can play with pair Kolo …go a head Sendros until Dragoba comes

  4. Arsenal don’t play Chelsea until the 15th of December so there is no chance of Drogba running rings around Senderos again unless we face off in the Carling or FA Cup. Thank goodness for that.

  5. what happened to the a cultured left foot link at the side?

    i enjoyed flicking between this blog and that one 🙁

  6. Micah Richards has yet to sign a new contract,hope he doesn’t sign a new one as he stated this year that his dream is to play for Arsenal.(We need him.) Actually if he didn’t sign a contract that could be good news,as in a years time Man City would have to sell up if he still refused to sign or else loose him on a free tranfer.
    What is Arsene Wenger doing in the transfer market before the transfer deadline!At least we need 1 0r 2 singings.
    Once these players listed below are there,
    Obafemi Martins
    Luka Modric
    Micah Richards
    Nicolas Anelka
    Ricardo Quaresma

  7. tom – I’m just working on a Links section for the website now. It’s a day or two away from completion. The links that are left on the side are partner sites for this blog and sponsors. As for ‘A Cultured Left Foot’ it is a really great read and definitely one of the best Arsenal blogs out there. But I hope you can still find time for mine 🙂

  8. from the time Gallas limped off the pitch have been trying to figure out how to keep Senderos out of the starting line up…pushing Sagna to central and playing Hoyte right-back is an option but this will create a good but equally (probably) unsettled player in the central defence which could be fatal. in the end i concluded that Senderos is the best shot we got now sincerely speaking, he deserves the chance more than anyone else. one thing i have learnt about soccer is that CONFIDENCE almost always count more than the skill (hell rooney is approximately 0 on the skill rating but his confidence gives him goals) and confidence is one thing that lacks in Senderos. I can bet my cold beer that a little confidence in senderos will give us a concrete defence.

    As much as lehmann sucked in the previous two games, i’d really recommend him to stand between the posts coz he’s got the experience no other can match.

    It will be good to see Adebayor playing again 😉

  9. I agree knightman. Senderos just needs confidence. With Toure there, willing him on, I think he can find it. He’s definitely at a crucial stage of his career though, and this really could be his last chance as an Arsenal player. The pressure is on him to perform well, and that may prove his downfall. We shall see.

  10. am quite optimistic on him SF..he’s that kind of player who’s so pregnant with perfomance but just waiting for the labour pains to show us what he’s got..i tell you this, if we play man city well and Senderos makes 2 or 3 crucial saves without making a mistake, u can count him in…he only needs a break and his break is now (till october or so)

  11. Let’s hope so. I still worry when Senderos has the ball, the same way I used to do with Sol Campbell. Great as a defender he was, he was an absolute nightmare in possession and I sometimes get scared the same way when Senderos is passing out of defence. Hopefully he put us all at ease and do the job well.

  12. According to, Gallas will be back on September 15. The “October” quote was from L’Equipe in which he was talking about playing for the French NT and he said “You will not see me until October.” He wasn’t referring to Arsenal.

  13. The hope is that like Adams he will mature. Remember Adams at Euro 88 when Van Basten almost ruined his confidence, that’s where the donkey tag began if I’m correct.

  14. Hmm I was under the impression that Gallas was talking about playing for France not about Arsenal and that he’d be back filling his captain duties within a few weeks.

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