‘Scared’ Toure has to be dropped for the good of the team + Arsenal-Porto preview

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I awoke today to read some of the most bizarre quotes uttered by an Arsenal player I have ever heard. Kolo Toure, speaking after the loss on Saturday, has admitted that he was ‘scared’ to play against Hull. In his own words:

“I was scared to play the game. Sometimes people, not the players, play the game before it’s started and that’s a problem because there are no small teams in the Premiership. Against Man United everybody thinks it’s going to be a tight game but when you play against Hull it’s harder because you are expected to win and score in the first minute. But it doesn’t happen like that. I was scared against Hull because there are no easy games.”

I’m sorry, but that is just ridiculous. Seriously, for Kolo to be scared of a club like Hull because the fans and the media expect this side to beat them comfortably is just weird. I agree with what he’s saying about their being no easy games in the Premiership, but for him to use the phrase “I was scared to play the game” is just outrageous.

The simple fact is that Toure – and the rest of the Arsenal team, for that matter – should not be worrying about what the fans or the media think about their upcoming games. It should not be a problem for them because they are professional athletes and every ounce of energy while representing Arsenal, be it on the training ground, preparing for a match or playing a game, should be spent getting into the right headspace to achieve their ultimate objectives: playing good football and getting three points.

If Toure was worried going into the game against Hull City then, quite simply, he should not be playing. And if he was scared of playing Hull then imagine how he is feeling about the game against Porto tomorrow? I know I certainly wouldn’t have him in my team if that’s the kind of headspace he’s in. I know this may sound harsh and usually I have a lot of respect for Kolo Toure, but for the good of the team he needs to be dropped for Johan Djourou tomorrow. One, because of his mental attitude and two, because he and William Gallas just aren’t working well together in the middle of defence.

I know I was critical of William Gallas yesterday but the simple fact is that he remains the captain of the club and he needs to play the majority of the games. Whether or not he deserves to stay captain or not is another matter entirely, but as long as he does have that armband he should be in the starting side. It might sound crazy and I know there will be plenty of people who want Gallas’ rather than Toure’s head on a pike but the way things currently stand at the club, this is just not possible. As such, dropping Toure is the realistically the only way that Wenger can address his defensive issues and if the manager is clever about it, he can point to Kolo’s comments as the main reason for the change.

Regardless of whether Gallas or Toure is dropped (or not) the manager has indicated that there will be changes to the side which lost to Hull, although he is reluctant to make the multitude of changes that the average Arsenal fan is bleating for. Wenger had this to say:

“If a player or two do not play tomorrow it is not a punishment, it is just because of a rotation in the side. You cannot go from one team to the other and change 11 players because we just lost one game.”

He can sugarcoat the changes all he wants, but whoever it is that misses out tomorrow will know it is because they have performed poorly on the weekend. My money is on Toure/Gallas, Denilson and Robin van Persie making way for Djourou, Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner. I also think there’s a decent chance that Carlos Vela might get a start, the youngster’s experience in the Spanish Primera Liga could come in very handy against Portuguese opposition.

Update: Apologies, did not realise that Song was unavailable for this game. Cheers to ‘Drew’ for the heads up.

Whoever it is that plays tomorrow, their response needs to be positive. While the loss to Hull on the weekend was no disaster, a failure to beat Porto at home tomorrow will have the media grabbing at our necks. And given the effect they seem to have had on Kolo Toure, there’s no counting how much of an impact it could have on the rest of the squad.

Thankfully the match is live on SBS tomorrow morning at 4.30am (Australian time) so I will definitely be getting up to watch. It will be interesting to see how the boys respond. As always, I’ll hope for the best, but I’d be just that little bit more confident if I see Johan Djourou in the starting lineup.

Let me know what you think.

Have your say on Toure’s comments or Arsenal v Porto by leaving a comment.


46 thoughts on “‘Scared’ Toure has to be dropped for the good of the team + Arsenal-Porto preview

  1. How old are you 15???

    Did you even hear what he said?

    I’m sorry that English is not his first language but at the end of the day the fact that he was scared is a good thing. At least he was NOT in the frame of mind of Ade, Fabregas and RvP who simply thought it would be a walk in the park!!!

  2. @ SandMan… – I certainly read what he said and that’s what I’ve commented on. I don’t think him being ‘scared’ is a good thing at all. You’re entitled to your opinion but I don’t see how anything I’ve written equates to me being 15.

  3. Aren’t you a top muppet. I hope you sleep through the game. Toure’s point was that he was scared because of the expectation of running up the score, there is no such expectations against Porto, so he will not be scared to play them. Also you best put your money away as sadly Song is not available for the game. Do not pick on Toure, he has a far better attitude than RVP, Ade.

  4. What on earth is wrong with you bloggers? Wake up and smell the coffee, and engage your brains … The papers are nothing more than rumour mills, and you lap them up and proliferate the perceived “crisis” amongst the unfortunately dim witted masses who chose to believe everything written in the tabloids. Get behind the team, who you’re supposed to have supported since you were young, and stop repeating outrageous remarks and statements. If you actually saw him say it in a televised teleconference, but when you can’t even confirm the source and their agenda, thats just stupid.

  5. @ Drew – Fair point about Song, I hadn’t realised he was injured. My mistake.

    I understand that Toure’s point was about expectation – that’s my problem with it. He is a professional athlete and all he should be worrying about is the three points, not the fans or the media’s expectations.

    To hear players more worried about the easy games than the harder ones suggests they don’t have the mentality to get to the top of the league and stay there. That’s what worries me.

  6. This is really shallow. What’s wrong with what Toure said? I have played and been “scared” in the way he means, which is not to say you are scared of the opponent but you are tense because of expactations. Are you bloggers bored picking on every little thing a player and manager said. Over the summer many of you went on and on about how Wenger lies. What you people do is disgusting. You twist people’s words, take no account of teh fact that in someone’s native language directly transalated words do not mean the same thing. I ought to know, I speak six languages. Grow up and stop trying to dictate to the manager what he should do. What if your suggestion fails and he gets fired? Will you pay his salary?

  7. Spanish Fry – I must say I do not agree with your views, however I respect the manner by which you address your viewers. Truly professional. Top bloke.

  8. @ LB – I think you saying “Over the summer many of you went on and on about how Wenger lies. What you people do is disgusting” is very harsh. I said nothing of the sort on this blog. I am a firm supporter of the manager in most regards, but if I don’t agree on something I will say it. I think I am fair in most of the things I say.

    I think a lot of people are seeing the headline of the article and automatically saying that I want him to be dropped because he is “scared”. As I explain, though, that is only half the story. The attitude worries me – for sure – and I won’t back down from that, but there’s also the Gallas/Djourou issue at play as well.

    As long as Gallas is captain he is undroppable and the combination of Gallas and Toure just isn’t working at the moment. Djourou was in great form early season and I’d love to see a Djourou-Gallas or Djourou-Toure combination at the back. But as long as Gallas is undroppable I’d like to see Toure make way for the good of the team. It might sound harsh, but it’s the way I feel.

    I know I’m not the manager, it’s just my opinion.

  9. @ Drew – I appreciate the support. Blogs are about opinions, I want to express mine and I want others to express theirs.

    I write this blog because I enjoy speaking and discussing Arsenal, not because I want to shit-stir and try and shock the public. It’s just that every once in a while (maybe more often!) my views will not be shared by the public and I have to deal with that. It’s actually quite fun 🙂

  10. Clearly you have a problem comprehending the fact that Toure’s English is not as good as his football. If we look carefully, Gallas has been at fault in a number of times and although the manager does not want to point the finger, it is Gallas who is to blame. Also, we need a defensive midfielder in front of the centre backs (second goal).

  11. Totally agree with LB. You’re editorial is a disgrace. As LB says you have completely misinterpreted what Toure said which means you are not suitably qualified to make these irresponsible statements because with “arsenal” in your blog name it makes it sound semi-official.I think you should apologise to Toure. Apart from that a hell of a lot of us are sick of you whinging bloggers. We still are the greatest club on the planet with a manager other teams would die for and all you can do is scratch around for something, anything, to complain about. We have no God-given right to win every game, shocks do happen now and again.

  12. I seriously don’t understand why are you so much in favour of gallas. Firstly that guy doesn’t deserve to be in the first team let alone the captaincy. And i seriously don’t understand your problem with kolo. Ok fine his english may not be good enough but thats not what he meant by “scared” and everybody seems to understand that. I have always had respect for this blog but i dont agree with you today.

  13. @ Cescy – No problem. I don’t favour Gallas over Toure, it’s just that as long as Gallas is the captain I think he has to play. To drop the captain is a huge decision and if Wenger was to do it I wouldn’t be overly unhappy. But I don’t think it is possible, so until the captaincy is given to someone else I think Gallas will always play.

    It’s nothing personal against Toure, just that I don’t think their combination works and I don’t see why the Gallas-Djourou combo was broken up earlier in the season when it was working so well.

    Believe me, this is not about Gallas v Toure, it’s about the current situation and what I feel would work best for the team.

  14. Yeah, I agree with others who say you haven’t taken into account that English is not his first language. If he had said he was “apprehensive” which is probably closer to what he meant, then you would not have a problem. Being apprehensive ahead of a game you are supposed to win shows that you respect your opposition and is actually a good thing. If some others – Adebayor, Van Persie, Eboue etc were more apprehensive, they woulda taken those chances in the first half. You can bet your bottom dollar that against Man U they would have done.

  15. Denilson has a good game and then a bad one, good one and bad one. he had a bad game and so start v porto. wud like to see vela, rvp, walcott, djourou, coquellin and wilshere play some part.

  16. “Apart from that a hell of a lot of us are sick of you whinging bloggers”…
    Ron Manager, you’re a walking contradiction. You claim SF is having a whinge which I don’t think he is, yet you’re on here having a whinge about his article. Grow up.

  17. spanish fry i agree with what you said about gallas not being dropped but totally disagree with your attack on Toure, you must remember english is not his first language and what is clear is that you have misinterpreted what he said. Besides the problem we now have with gallas is one that we could see was in the making from since the beginning of last season and it scares me to think that the fact that he(Wenger) is unlikely to drop his captain could meamn that we go through the whole season with him being first choice.The best thing that could happen now is that he cops an injury

  18. I agree with Mabel on the ‘apprehensive’ part. If this is indeed what Kolo was meaning, then I understand where he is coming from, and respect the honesty he was showing. However, if he did indeed mean ‘scared’ then I totally agree with the blogger in his opinion of Kolo not being in the right frame of mind to be ready to play other Premiership teams. Im sorry, but Sandman, and Cardinale have both missed the mark.
    Ill be watching the Porto game with greater intrest after the weekends result, but believe the manager with leave Gallas and Kolo as is.

  19. Wow spanish your copping it today hang in ther buddy but I understand where your coming from and kolo aswell I think he was tryin to say NERVOUS cause everyone thought it was going to be a easy game. Ive been in kolos situation but in saying that hes A professional and should be able to deal with these types of things thats why he is where he is but i do understand both sides of thus story, anyway SF keep up the work mate.

  20. Have taken on board criticism from yourself and others as regards my comments about you being “a whingeing blogger”. There are so many of them out there that I’m afraid I fell into the trap of thinking that you were like all the rest without re-reading your piece. Please accept my apologies for that. Still think you were out of order on Toure though. Hope you have a great night!

  21. Thanks for the support everyone. I’m practically in tears – what a lovely bunch you are.

    @ ron manager – What a top response. I appreciate the apology and although we don’t agree on the Toure thing, I hope you come on here and comment more often. I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.

    Anyway, I’m off to bed, I’ve got an Arsenal game to watch tomorrow morning.

    Night all!

  22. blimey….full of controversy today eh SF…..lets put my tuppence worth in then…..Reckon Kolos comments can be confused taken literally however we have lost to inexperienced or underperforming teams too many times and there must be something in the mindset and preparation for the games ……completely agree that these players are professional athletes….highly paid professional athletes and therefore expectation will always be huge and surely this is a part of the game that should come quickly with experience especially for top clubs such as Arsenal…..

    There is nothing i enjoy more after waking up here in brazil, whilst missing my beloved club, than logging on to read this blog….SF views are educated and candid and i cant understand why anyone would feel it necessary to post abuse….as ive said before you need to question as to why you are reading blogs rather than writing them!..keep up the top work SF….

    2-0 to Arsenal tonight with RVP bagging both……vela will play the last half hour and walcott will have a full 90 mins!!

  23. By scared I think he meant more like had a bad feeling about the game… At least thats what the context/ wording makes it seem like…

  24. By scared I think he meant more like had a bad feeling about the game… At least thats what the context/ wording makes it seem like…

  25. As I’ve said before Gallas was up there at the end trying to do what ade couldn’t and that’s put the ball in the back of the net and didn’t he hit the bar in the hull game so he got closer than ade did. Also gallas had done the same against kiev and got us a draw plus he has 2 other goals this season a lot more than eboue also.
    Also I read elsewhere that tourre said he was wary not scared. But the true point of what sf said was “The simple fact is that Toure – and the rest of the Arsenal team, for that matter – should not be worrying about what the fans or the media think about their upcoming games” That is what makes them professionals in my eyes.

  26. I’m absolutely certain that Kolo was not scared in the way all of you think he is. I’m Ugandan, and when I say ‘I was (or I’m) scared’, to some one who has English as his first language, you might think i’m just about to wet my pants.
    However, Kolo is trying to communicate a feeling which he saw within the team prior to the game, that they were all compacent to the extent that he felt they would not play at the required level and that it would later cost them the game.
    Kolo did not finish high school, so you don’t expect him to be as fluent as you people in your own language. In fact when I translate his comments in my own local language it makes so much sense, since like me, he first thinks in his own local language and then tries to translate it into a second or even third language.
    In any case I don’t think he was the worst player on saturday.

  27. spanish fry, your commenets are way out of line. Toure would mount your mane of a mullet at the back of your head and kick your head in for saying that stuff.

    pull your head in, they got rid of that talk slab of swiss shit at the back, they just need one more decent defender to back up gallas and toure.

  28. SF, you should have run with the “tears” joke a bit more until just before the next blog (just joking). Some of the responses you have been getting are overly harsh although I don’t aggree with your Kolo and Denilson’s assessment. Having learned English as a 4th Language, (and I’m willing to bet it is Kolo’s 3rd or 4th at best) I have found myself in similar situations. I believe he might have meant something very trivial(check my spelling p’se!).

    I was looking at some EPL stats this morning and learned that Denilson is the 2nd top passer behind Alonso, and with a respectable, and second best 85% accuracy rate with is better than Alonso’s 84% and 2 behind Parker at 87%. He is also tied for 2nd on assists, 4th in the Actim index top 100, 5th best takler in the league with 73% success rate which is 2nd only to Muamba with 81%. WHAT MORE DOES THE GUY NEEDS TO DO TO WIN ACCEPTANCE?!?!?

    TH14 was dropped while Captain @ OT when Adebayor scored the winning goal, Gallas CAN be dropped and need to be dropped.

    For all fans still crying for a DM, how many goals did opponents score on Flamini last season? Denilson has been one of our best performers this season. Give the boy his credit.

  29. Learning different languages is hard. Italian is my native language and some words in Italian dont take the same meaning as in English. Toure might have meant worried or somewhere on the lines of that and not really “scared”. I do agree with people when they say the attitudes of Ade, RVP and Cesc are very bad. They thought the game would be a walk through and its the same attitude they’ve had in past season, i would have thought they would have learned by now that they can be beat by anyone in the Premiership if they dont come to play. As i said before, im becoming less and less a RVP fan. He really hasnt shown much this season, he’s healthy so far, but he may as well be hurt cuz he doesnt do anything anyways. Cant wait til Eduardo is healthy, he at least knows how to finish.

  30. Once again Wenger makes a very unwise decision, which is bcoming his trade mark.. RCP is one of the most streaky forwards in all football.. he gets two goals, what he needs to get going, and Wenger just took him off… ridiculous.I dont care if Arsenal run up the score or not, you dont reward a player for scoring 2 goals by taking him off, esp RVP that needs to get in a rhythm of scoring to really cause a problem

  31. 4-0 win, great result. What I dont get is RvP got 2 goals yet AW took him off. Walcott was our most creative and deadly player, AW took him off??? Good result, easy win, subs umm well need to be thought about!

  32. phew!…….a cracking result well needed after the weekend…..looks like Wengers plan to win at home and draw away is working…..just 6 more points needed for qualification and Porto are probably the toughest competition in the group and we made them look easy. Extremely pleased for RVP…agree he should have stayed on the field…..the hat-trick was there for the taking however Bentner did well in his place.
    Happy we’re sitting top of the group!

  33. Yep, a great result. Could have been eight.

    @ Demetrio/Jay – Van Persie has been so injury-prone in his time at the club that it’s not the silliest thing to give him rest when we can afford it. I don’t think there was too much wrong with bringing him off.

  34. And just to make a final comment on the Kolo Toure ‘scared’ situation – cheers to everyone for having their say. I’ll stick to my guns but I will also admit that there could definitely be some translation issues that needed consideration.

    Cheers all.

  35. 4-0 nicely done.

    see zenit v madrid afterwards sf? cracker of a match. zenit really should have put them away.

  36. Nasri’s back yay and didn’t he play well after a few early missplaced passes but denilson can have all the stats in his favour the point is I don’t think he and fab fab link up as well as flamster did. The boy has got skill and I like a couple of shots he had from outside the box but as my old p.e. teacher used to tell us hit the ball hard as you can but keep it low and in the corner everytime it just went over. Plus I like the new corners in the fing box and look what happened ade scored.

  37. I don’t understand the mass support for Bendtner. I thought the pace and flow of the game really changed after Walcott and RVP were taken off. I’m glad for RVP hope this quiets some of his doubters.

  38. Wow – miss one article and the controversy flows… SF took a beating but stood up strong. Well done. I understand that new people come on here all the time, but seriously, if they’d been here long enough they’d know that you aren’t about sensationalist headlines and causing a stir. Some people also need to think long and hard and possibly even read the full article before commenting. It would save our dear SF a lot of trouble… I certainly understand where you’re coming from with this article SF but it is a tough decision to make… I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Wenger’s shoes if he did happen to drop Kolo – there would certainly be some real tears methinks.
    I am so upset I didn’t get up for the game this morning… 🙁 And I’m even on a week of holidays but I was just too tired after doing assignments all week. Very upset indeed. I will have to settle for the replay on ESPN at 10pm. Damn it…
    Good result though – sounds like a cracker of a performance.

  39. @ Butterfingers;

    They are 2 types of players as I see them, the “Visible” and the “invisibles”. Flamini was a “visibly workaholic” while Denilson is “quietly efficient”. same as Gilberto. The reason why he(Denilson) put in very impressive stats while people still can’t seem to see, is a testament to how very efficient a player he is. judging from reactions from people after matches you would think he loses all his passes and didn’t put in a single tackle in a match. Either people just don’t like him or he does his job the way it should be done. Currently, he is one of the best MF in the EPL.

    On the “link up” aspect, I think Denilson and Cesc link up better than Flamini and Cesc. The difference here was Flamini was adventurous and thus drawing attention to himself more hence his partner whenever something had to be done, whereas with Denilson, it can all go unnoticed especially for the TV audience.

    Stats for Flamini last season read 30 games, 3 goals and 2 Assists.

    Denilson this season; 6 games, 2 goals and 3 Assists. He is just 2 assists or a goal away from being more productive than Flamini for an entire season and we are just 6 games in, who is willing to bet he won’t have an assist or a goal in the next 5 fixtures?

    Just give the boy his credits. He deserve them.

  40. People have to realise the board have given Wenger far far too much room. How long has Fergie gone without winning trophies recently? even when they’re not winning the league they get something – be it fa cup and carling cup. Wenger – you say whats the point of finishing in bottom half of league and winning carling cup? Well – how would that be the case with Arsenal? The youngsters will be OK till semi final if Arsenal keep getting easier teams and then put some experience in if they come up against Chelsea, Manyoo etc. 4th place is assured at least and Wenger knows it.

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