Gallas should partner Vermaelen or Djourou next season

Hello there.

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.

Have your say on Arsenal’s defence by leaving a comment.



  1. Gallas should stay because he actually shows sum bottle when we need it. I think toure for Richards would b a good switch if it was offered. Gallas & Vermaelen at the back should work well. Now all we need is CDM.

    I know this is completely against the subject but i dont mind if Ade goes cos il still b buying him on Fifa 🙂

  2. I think we should keep both gallas and toure and bring in another defender so that we can have a fearsome 5 without including Alex Song. This is because, Toure and Gallas are aging and will be leaving soon. Therefore When they leaves, DJ and Vermaelen will be our main CBs. We need to have a “martin keown” around so that when our “tony adams” or “steve bold” is injured, someone with great defensive abilities can step up.

    Other wise, I would like to see wenger bring promote havard nordveit or gavin hoyte from the reserves, so that they can start learning from the first team. OR they can go for another season of loan.

    It is the defensive midfield which I am more worried. Reports are emerging that wenger is preparing or is near completing the signing of thomas hitzlsperger from sttugart. If this is true, at least we have a decent guy with experience of both the EPL and Bundesliga. He at 27 is also at the right age, just like arshavin.

    However, I do want to see another defensive midfielder coming in. Because together with alex song and denilson, we would then have some fearsome defensive midfielder options. Therefore when we play 4-5-1, then with 2 quality DM, then no way are we gonna lose in the center. However, i know this is gonna be tough on Song, Denilson and Diaby. But I dont think diaby would be staying with arsenal for long, the same for denilson. I think both of them would be leaving arsenal soon, maybe in one or two seasons time, especially when near their contracts.

  3. Send Senderos and bring Melo. I am realy woried about two areas: difensive midfield and attack. We do not have realiable striker since the departure of Henry. wenger may think we are as strong as MANU in attack, many Arsenal fans do not. Remember the number of games we struggled to convert clear cut chances to goals.

  4. Great article and reality about gallas but man haven’t u seen good players give 10%? Toure gives 100 and that makes u an asshole!

  5. Wer not doubting toures effort. We jsut think Gallas could continue to give us better service. Remember Toure asked for a transfer request in january so something obviuously tempted him 2 move. Hes been a gd player for us but i feel we hav had the best from him.

  6. Agreed. like i said before, Gallas is the best and the most experienced defender we have. letting him go would be a big mistake by the manager. But i hope Toure decides to stay and fight for a place in the team. I love him, it would be sad to see him go.


    should and probably will be our first choice. We bought vermaelen to play him cos we have defensive problems, simple as that, Gallas when fit hes impeccable, unlike a certain toure who has let me down lately. I would honestly like to see this if possible


    That is one mean defense.

  8. Crap!can we guarantee a top performance from gallas at 32?how many CBs in the Epl perform now at that age.we can get 6 mil for him now or he’l leave for free nxt season

  9. 32 or 33 isn’t that old for a centre back. Gallas, who is our best defender, could still give us a couple of seasons at the top of his game.

    However, I’m a huge fan of Toure, our vice captain, and hope he stays as a back up for Gallas and Sagna.

    Senderos and Silvestre should go before Toure, although the problem is that Toure expects to play first team football.

  10. How many times has toure saved arsenals ass. he is the only one with bottle and passion. Gallas is a good defender but when it comes to defending inside his own box his useless. toure’s last ditch challenges and abilty to put himself on line is amazing. hes inspirational for arsenal where gallas is just a prick!!!!


  12. Let wenger sign melo and look for a stronger defender,sell sendros ,ebuoe,bartnner.

  13. I would say that gallas is jst a boastful defender who has no confidence. I would rather like toure to that william

  14. If i was to choose between Toure and Gallas i will always go for Habib, because he is young energetic and a fighter.Gallas is a short tempered man very emotional

  15. Bring in Hageland and either send Djourou out on loan or keep him. Sell/swap Senderos and Silvestre. Then keep all other central defenders.

  16. Gallas has to stay no matter what, imagine us selling Gallas and keeping Kolo: We’d have to play Villa, Chelsea, Pool and ManUtd with Vermaelen and Djourou as our main central defenders because of the Africa Cup! Keep them both and just let Gallas go at the end of next season.

  17. Gallas and Toure should stay please.
    Melo will be good if we swap with Senderos.

    Adebayor can still stay because if big clubs want him then it means he is good but should prove himself next season.

  18. Sell Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, Senderos, Sylvestre, Gallas & Ade to raise funds or swap them.

    Swap Eboue for Sahko.

    Senderos & Denilson for Melo or even better bring back Flamini!

    Sell Ade & get Huntelaar.

    Sell Gallas & Diaby to get money for Hangeland.

    Just think of what we could have potentially….

    Defence: Sagna, Verm, Hangeland, Toure, Sahko, Gibbs, Clichy, Traore (Song also in midfield)

    Midfield: Fab, Melo/Flamini, Song, Wilshere, Arshavin, Nasri, Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky

    RVP, Eduardo, Vela, Huntelaar, Bendtner.

    Think that squad has the potential to win the Prem and without really spending any money.

  19. i’d prefer we sell gallas and keep toure. toure is awesome and without gallas he is even more awesome.
    gallas is very professional and good but i don’t think we need him. its not just his age but his wage bill and he’s free to go next season.

  20. gallas is a good player but has no love 4 arsenal he has one year left on his contract and no doubt will leave (4free) wen this is up…on the other hand ders toure, loyal and good i have no doubts toure will stay at arsenal 4 life if gallas left and if he doesnt leave then toure will…and then we loose 2 players instead of 1 so in my opinion take the 4 million offerd for gallas by inter and put the story 2 bed

  21. i have always been a huge fan of kolo and believe he still has a lot to give to arsenal if he is paired with the right cb but lets not forget the ACN i comin round again and we will be without him for a chunk of the season.

    Also i wish people would stop calling denilson a defensive midfielder he isnt he is just a centre midfielder probably better goin forward (or sideways) than goin back.

    as for arsene buying another cb i would be seriously surprised, seriously.

  22. I must agree w/ SF: Kolo just hasn’t been the same since his Malaria/African Cup off-season. It’s as if he aged 5-7 years over a couple of months (of course, he may ACTUALLY be 35!). The post-captain Gallas has been excellent.

  23. almunia

    sagna vermaelen gallas clichy

    walcott cana fabregas nasri

    van persi arshavin

    sub.rosicky.diaby.djorou,denilson ramsey,wilshere,song,gibbs,bendtner.vela.eduardo,eboue,…for leave are adebayor,silvestre.senderos.toure.eboue not have place in arsenal..can leave in which club they want ….

  24. almunia

    sagna vermaelen gallas clichy

    walcott cana fabregas nasri

    van persi arshavin

    sub.rosicky.diaby.djorou,denilson ramsey,wilshere,song,gibbs,bendtner.vela.eduardo,eboue,…for leave are adebayor,silvestre.senderos.toure. not have place in arsenal..can leave in which club they want ….

  25. statistically gallas and vermaelen cud make the first choices for my opinion.

  26. I would have liked to see some development of Toure as a DM. Might be a bit late for that now unfortunately.

  27. Posted by Pie | June 22, 2009, 11:05 pm , I think your commentaries would carry more weight if you gave us some explanation for what you say, and also if you explore the detail of the points you make.

    If I may take just one point: sell Denilson, and bring back Flamini. OK that is a point of view, but to put that forward you really ought to explain the issue.

    Flamini for example had two ordinary seasons with us, before on excellent season. He then went to AC Milan, and could not get a game, until injuries to other players allowed him in. I do not follow Italian football as much as EPL, but as I understand it he was not a stunning player this year.

    Against this you are saying that you want to sell the player who had more ball contact than any other player, and who, in the stats, is right up there at the top for interceptions etc.

    The fact is that there are two types of player you can have in that position: Gilberto and Flamini. Gilberto did the job very well, and Denilson is very much in that mould, and through much of the season looked very close to Gilberto in ability. So just stating, “sell Denilson” seems silly, to me, when there is a debate to be had beneath that.

    I think likewise the notion that the 30+ policy is a stubborn policy from a stubborn man needs explanation. When Pires left because he wanted a 2 year contract he immediately got injured and missed most of the year. In that sense Wenger was right. Bergkamp, as we know, played until he was 35 or so.

    The reason that so many clubs have huge debts is that they allow older players to go on with longer contracts on high salaries – which eats into the money available.

    It seems to me a logical argument can be made that the policy is not stubborn but rather pragmatic – I can’t see the argument from you at all because you are just making statements and assertions not giving us the benefit of your reasoning.

  28. almunia

    sagna vermaelen gallas clichy

    walcott cana fabregas nasri

    van persi arshavin

  29. Flamini had the chance to stay but he left. What makes you think he would come back? What makes you think the club would be interested in bringing him back?

    Gallas tore his cruciate ligament in April. That means atleast six months out. That means he won’t be back until October. That means Gallas won’t start the season in the starting line up. It also means that teams are unlikely to buy Gallas when he’s not fit enough to kick a ball, nevermind passing a medical.

  30. Plz can some1 tell SF to stop been racistto African footballers? I always see u as stupid and bad-minded when it comes to writing about African Players in Arsenal, The last time was ur stinky comments about Ebuoe, now Kolo , Ade is a long forgoten issee, we re waiting for U to lambast Song, plz get a life and post positively.

  31. No one wil be bought not a center back nt a defensive midfielder. The team is currently complete.

    As for melo the boy is shit. If u think nt what happened in the game against eygpt 3 goals playin with 2 dm. Jst wait til cesc n spain blow them out the game.

    Song has more game than he

  32. Wow. We cannot afford to strengthen our attack! Gallas is out till October, Toure will be missing games against Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool. We do not have a Defensive Midfielder who is ready to play at the highest level NOW. And we need to strengthen attack…? When we scored as much as Man u…? Please stop moron. If Senderos goes, we need another Central defender. If not, I think he is a good Sub to utilize. I think we need to seriously invest in Jeremy Toulalan even though it might cost another 16 million. He is one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe if not thee best. Melo is good, not great. Will Toure be content with starting on the bench? Is it possible to get Hangeland away from Fullham? If so that would be a great idea seeing as Toure and Gallas cant really be playing after this season…well maybe Toure but not Gallas. We do need to keep BOTH Toure and Gallas to have some experienced veterans to counter the youth. We need calm confident players to take the pitch for games like Semi’s and finals. NOW START LOVING OUR PLAYERS AND SUPPORT THEM!

  33. @ MYWAY – Your comments about me being racist towards Africans is pretty unfair. There are four Africans in our squad so I’ll run through my opinions of them and what I’ve said about them over the past two or so years:

    (1) Adebayor – I’ve clearly stated that Adebayor is my favourite Arsenal player. His attitude last season was poor and I think if his mind stays the same way then he has to go. However, if he was to get his head right and played for the team next season I’d be the first to welcome him back. A tremendous player when his head is right.

    (2) Eboue – Has frustrated all with his play-acting and poor performances over the past couple of seasons, however after his red card against Tottenham he’s certainly improved. I definitely want him to stay and he remains a cult hero that I think is good for the club.

    (3) Toure – I love Toure as a guy and he’s been an amazing contributor to the club in his time here. However, I do think his best days are behind him and if I had to choose between him and Gallas, the Frenchman would win out. That’s based on the fact that I think he would contribute more next season and Toure would still command a fairly hefty transfer fee. Ideally I would like them both to stay though, because Toure is as good a guy as anyone to have played for the club and he gives it his all.

    (4) Song – Do I seriously need to explain this one? I have been one of Song’s biggest supporters over the past season and think he, of all the players in the squad, would be my choice as partner for Cesc Fabregas. He’s definitely one of my favourite players.

    I fail to see how these are racist views and I fail to see how this post is negative in any way. I have no problems with African players at all and am a little offended that you believe I’m being racist.

  34. @ MYWAY – I feel your comment has very harsh. I dont understand how he is being racist! He is saying Gallas is better than Toure. Thats pretty much it, he would prefer them both to stay but would prefer Gallas than Toure because the Frenchman is better and I agree with him. Also Song and Adebayor are both favourites of his at the club and they are both African and EVERYONE gets annoyed about Eboue, not because he is African but because he is a play actor cant let things lie, he always hassles refs and I believe him to be an African Rooney – great when he is determined, but lets his attitude and temper get the better of him.

    Moving on to todays post – I am not entirely sure who to play as our 1st choice CB pairing, would like to see Vermaelen and Gallas start I think. Djourou has the height but doesnt use it well enough and I think Verm’s strength and aggression can counter-act Djourous height.

  35. For me Kolo just pips it because he’s true Arsenal and will shed blood for the cause – whereas Gallas may be the better defender technically but he’s a little, shall we say, ‘off the wall’. But the truth is we need them both. There’s no way they’re both going to be fit all season -and, as others have said, the African nations is going to take Kolo away for a bit. Christ. Vermaelen could break his leg on the opening day of the season. We’re into strengthening mode here, kids. We don’t want to sell anybody – unless they’re completely useless like Sylvestre.

    PS – there’s a poll about this same subject on the Arsenal website – Kolo’s winning.

  36. @ Hey Nonny Mouse – The reason Kolo is winning is because his loyalty to Arsenal not because of his defensive ability. However I would be a much happier supporter if they both stayed than if either if them left. The only players I wont be sad to see leave are Silvestre, Senderos and Adebayor.

  37. I would go for Gallas any day rather than Toure. Toure is an Arsenal man – true but Gallas is the best CB we have with great experience and tackling skills. With his tackling and Varmaelen’s on air ability, we’ve got one solid defense. And, Gallas has some character which most Arsenal players lack.And, kolo wants to leave for man city.
    Now here’s a thought, man city has signed santa cruz and are close to signing Tevez. So, they will be willing to let one of their forwards go, can’t be the two new signings, so it has to be Robinho. As, all three of these players are first team players and no one will want to remain in the bench, one has to go. Could we take advantage of these. We could give them kolo and cash(20-25 mil euro will do) and bring the best of the bests. We can get the cash selling ade. But will we do that? No, we rather would sign Maroune Chamakh, an unproven player, who in my opinion is another Ade. Do we deserve this?

  38. All arsenal players are good except last season they did not win atropy which can not be put one person,wenger just need addition of three new players only,the issue of partnership works when you have squad which you can rotate to avoid fatigue.

  39. gunning4eva – Toure is also a great defender (or why would man city with all their money want him?) + he’s versatile + he’s experienced + he goes on those great marauding runs up the pitch + he’s not going to sit down on his ass having a tizzy fit when things don’t go his way. I don’t think he wants to got to man city – i think he just felt he was getting pushed out by Gallas. He’s since re-pledged his allegiance.

    And another thing – I really don’t understand all this ‘Let’s sell Ade’ business. He was our top scorer the season before last and only got pipped for league top scorer by Ronaldo (if memory serves) – that doesn’t happen accidently you know. He’s a very very good goal scorer. Big, talented and ambitious. Why would we not want him at the club? He’s already said he wants to stay. Come on you guys!

  40. If Arsenal is to wind something for next season then let them play Gallas, Vermaelen, Toure and Clichy at the back Djouru is too slow and his tackles are also offensive.
    Let me also remind Mr Wenger for the issue of the striker, please boss we need one.

  41. Where as Gallas is undeniably good and experienced defender, so is Toure, but what makes me think Toure sh’d stay rather than Gallas, is his commitment and loyalty to the club. Please this one to me matters a lot too. Till next bye.

  42. Gallas is our best defender.

    Djourou and Gallas is our best defensive partnership.

    Gallas and Vermaelen are both left sided central defenders. I do not see either swapping over to the other side. When did you last see Gallas playing as a right sided central defender?

    Djourou and Toure are both right sided central defenders. Djourou has never looked comfortable playing as a left sided central defender and I have never see Kolo play left sided either, maybe as a right back but not on the left.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because I think it matters and a lot of people are missing the point in that we now have two very good central defensive partnerships. I believe Djourou and Gallas make our best partnership and therefore Kolo and Vermaelen should be the other partnership.

    I see Vermaelen, ultimately as Gallas’ replacement when he decides to retire and I think Gallas has probably got another 2 years left at the most.

    So the choice for a 5th centre back currently is between Senderos, Silvestre and Song.

    I would rather see Song continue his development as a central midfielder than be relied upon in defence which leaves Senderos and Silvestre. I would personally get rid of both but I do not see Wenger admitting to the huge error of judgement that is Silvestre after just a season.

    So we still need a 5th choice central defender. Factor in that the ACN will rob us of Eboue and Toure for a month (maybe more coz they never see to come back fit and raring to go) and also Song who Wenger likes to use as a make shift centre back then it becomes obvious that we will need someone who can back up Sagna or maybe fill in at right central defence. This is why Michah Richards would be an awesome and forward thinking purchase. Young, versatile, powerful, athletic. We all know he is out of form and out of favour but we don’t need an in form player to be covering these positions. Exactly what Wenger favours and when you consider how cheap he is then it’s either now or never.

  43. i would go for gallas any day any time in stead of toure and all want wenger to do is to play sagna,vaemelean,gallas and clichy if really we are to challege for title next season.

  44. I say keep both gallas and toure..they are the best defensive pairing we have..Vermaelen and DJ would provide good covering if any of them is injured..Sell both senderos and silvestre and get melo. I would love to see that coming. If it really happens i dare say we will have the best defences next season.

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