Last week when William Gallas was announced as Arsenal captain people were shocked, to the say the least.
Gilberto was the better representative, Toure more ‘Arsenal’. So why did Arsene Wenger pick Gallas as Arsenal captain?
The simple answer can’t be found in Wenger’s initial announcement about team captains, where he said that he expected Gallas, Toure and Gilberto to be captains on the pitch and Lehmann, Gallas and Gilberto captains off the pitch. Arsenal needed leaders on and off the pitch, and that made sense.
The reasoning usually given here is that because Wenger prefers to have a center-back as captain and because Gallas is more experienced than Toure, he picked Billy.
But that’s not the defining reason, is it?
The two real reasons why Gallas is captain have to do with his ego and his performances (or lack of them).
One, Gallas’ ego could stand Henry as captain, but not Gilberto or Toure, and with Henry gone do you really think that Gallas would defer to Toure or Gilberto? If you do, you seem to have conveniently forgotten the problems that Gallas was having at Chelsea where first he wanted to be first-choice central defender and then he wanted equal footing with the club’s star players.
Second, Wenger is hoping that making Gallas the captain will motivate him to turn Arsenal’s defence into world-beaters. Gallas was ordinary by his standards last season and has a big, big reputation to live up to.
Seeing as Gallas likes to play captain and Toure and Gilberto are the sort of characters who lead by example and get on with things without making a fuss, the dressing room should ‘NOT’ have any big fractions as a result of this.
And having given Gallas everything he wants (the center stage, literally), there’s no reason why he shouldn’t perform to his standards.
The only thing wrong with this move is that Gallas is not ‘Arsenal’ – or at least not the ideal of Arsenal that the fans adhere to.
Wenger thinks differently – and whether he’s wrong or right will show itself at the end of the season in the form of results and dressing room morale.
I wouldn’t bet on Gallas, but then again would you bet against Wenger?