Arsenal World Cup Matchday 7: Arsenal Les Bleus? Les Sunk!

American President John F. Kennedy once famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”  If you’re the French national team, your response to that clarion call is: “We can do very little”.  France took one on the chin on Match Day 7 as Mexico played with heart and passion to go joint top of the Group table with Uruguay.  Mexico wanted it more, and in the end, Les Bleus just couldn’t be arsed to match the effort in suffering the 2-0 loss.  It will be a sad, ignominious departure for Raymond Domenech’s men in a weeks time.


Vela Injury Mars Mexico Win

OK, I’m going to stop making jokes about Carlos Vela now.  No more cracking wise about Montezuma’s Revenge keeping him out of the Arsenal lineup.  Coming off a promising opening to his World Cup, despite the disallowed goal against South Africa, Carlos got the start on the left in a 4-3-3 formation for El Tri.  It was almost a brilliant start for the young Arsenal man, when just 2 minutes in saw him collecting the ball nicely at midfield and taking a threatening run centrally before hitting an Dos Santos for a shot that went off the far post.  Even had the shot gone in, Dos Santos had crept offside just before Vela released to him and the goal would have been disallowed.  A free match souvenir was gifted to some lucky fan about 50 rows up when Carlos took a fantastic release pass from midfield that went over the top of the sleeping French defense (read: William Gallas & Bacary Sagna), allowing Vela a clean break on Hugo Lloris in goal.  Channeling his inner Bendtner, Carlos immediately pounded the ball skyward and over the net with a left-footed attempt.  A bit more composure surely could have seen Carlos with his first World Cup goal.  The 3oth minute saw Carlos’ World Cup come to a rather unfortunate end.  Immediately after challenging Jeremy Toulalan for possession, Vela went down clutching at his right hamstring area and signaling for the physio.  I’ve seen reports ranging from a torn thigh muscle to a strained hamstring, but whatever the result Carlos is most likely finished for the 2010 World Cup.  If you have a spare moment and perhaps some extra incense to burn, please make a mention to the Football Gods next time you’re praying that Carlos needs some love.  2010 has really not been his year, for club or country.


Sagna Middling In French Loss

My first glimpse of Bacary in yesterday’s late match against Mexico was of him watching the ball fly over his head as Carlos Vela streaked past for a clean, if poorly taken attempt on the French goal.  Caught on the high line, both Sagna and Gallas were guilty on the play.  Through much of the early first half Bacary was playing 1.5 times his position as he frequently had to pinch in from his wide area to help out a rather frail showing by Gallas.  On 27 minutes Mexican defender Carlos Salcido made short work of the Arsenal full back as he took the ball down the left side and expertly exposed Sagna with a cut inside, then testing Lloris with a belter from just beyond the 6 yard area.  When Sagna had opportunities to support the almost nonexistent French attack, his crossing was of negligible quality at best.  Salcido and Sanga met again shortly after the half when Sagna made a more than ungainly challenge that led to a free kick from 25 yards out.  Overall not the sharpest performance we’ve ever seen from the Arsenal defender.

Clichy Unused Again

For the second match in a row, Gael took his 90 minutes from the bench.  Thus far it’s been an all expenses paid holiday for the Arsenal left back.

Little Impact By Diaby In French Loss

Remember this past Arsenal season when Abou turned in some performances and we all thought “Finally!  He’s getting it!”.  Then he’d have a performance and we’d all think “WTF?  I want the other Diaby back!”  Yesterday’s performance was of the second variety, unfortunately.  While there were moments of nice possession and runs, turns with the ball and creating in midfield, they were few and far between.  Interspersed were moments of lost possession and imprecise passing.  Amongst a team of uninspired performers, Abou Diaby’s performance wasn’t even noteworthy enough to say it was uninspired.

Disinterested Gallas Runs Around Pitch for 90 Minutes

Disinterested.  If I had to choose one word to describe William Gallas’ performance, that would be it.  He might still be suffering calf problems as he was a fitness question going into the match against Mexico, but in watching Gallas one gets the feeling he just isn’t very interested in putting forth much effort.  Caught out high along with Bacary Sagna on the Vela attempt early on, and relying on his Arsenal battery mate to cover half his ground on occasion, it would be frustrating to see him in Red & White and performing like this next season.  With the match going 90 minutes, I suppose the best thing that can be said for Gallas is that he did run around the entire time.

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Andy’s trapped in Paris!  But the Football Nomad knows no rest.  Check out the latest exclusive gab from Andy and Patrick on their intrepid journey.

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Have your say on Arsenal’s participation in the World Cup by leaving a comment.



  1. Hey Mike, football is a team sport. Yes, the French squad has been in disarray. However, Sagna, Gallas, and Diaby were not France’s real problems in yesterday’s match – nor to date in this tournament.

    When you think of French football – creativity is usually used to describe their style – linking play and smart movement off the ball.

    Most of France’s attack came down the left flank and the play (linking, possession, and creativity) of Evra – Malouda – Ribery was comparable to English 1st Division.

    The French back 4 were constantly under pressure because the aforementioned players kept losing possession cheaply in midfield.

    Evra as Captain has turned out to be an embarrassment for both manager & player.

  2. Indeed, football is a team sport, Arsesession. But I’m not writing full match reports. I’m only covering the Arsenal players and their performances.

    I agree that the main problems with the French squad are in the attacking area.

  3. Okay – fair enough, yes the focus was on Arsenal players.

    full match report is not necessary, but every player’s effort can be improved or exposed by the play of those around them.

    Anyway, your write up is appreciated.

  4. Quite true. The play of others on the pitch absolutely affects each individual player.

    In the players reviews since the WC started, I’ve tried to give a good account of not only how each Arsenal player has performed, but also some commentary regarding overall play on the pitch to give context to those performances. I think if you go back and read some of the previous Match Day reviews you might find some write ups that might be more fulfilling than this one. Perhaps I had a France-like performance of my own with this review. 😉

  5. domenech is the problem an everyone who is close to the french culture like me know that the team has one big problem the coach for over 3 years! other things the players don’t like each other…and there was those prostitution problems with ribery. On the top of that no one like them or support them in France. No one cares… Last time France lost domenech ask his girl to marry him…that’s just to tell you what type of person he is ! politically France has a lot’s of problem so it just make it even worse…I wonder how long it will take Laurent Blanc to fix that team…bring it all together.
    for the Arsenal players…like the others they try to go through it! it’s a torture!

  6. @Angie,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the French people hate on Zidane n Co’ for being immigrants/blacks, but when they won the World cup the French public started glorifying them. I can’t find this old article but I’m positive it was documented. I don’t know the social/cultural leanings of France but I guess the indigenious are a very nationalistic/patriotic bunch. Sorry for the loss but I guess this will be redemption for the Irish. You know what goes around comes around.

    Anyway Mike good job for filling in for AFC blog seems quite nowadays. Seems to me the only player that bothered yesterday was Toulalan, Flamini could be the one if he stayed with us but sadly Flamini will always be known as the poor man’s Toulalan.

  7. Ianinja u r right that’s how bad it is! I feel that’s it’s just not right…very sad…racism is something that I hate! especially in football! but yes! what goes around comes around! they didn t deserve to go! period!

  8. France have been dreadful, even worse than England. At least the England players look embarrassed by their performance. France, with the exception of Toulalan in both games don’t look like they could care less.

  9. Atleast my clichy hasnt been party to the bunch of mediocres i just hope he is so fit for us nexy season against Liverpool. After seeing Gallas exploits Wenger must increase the bid for Koscienly otherwise his staying will be recipe for disaster to our season.

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