Arsenal Captain Lays into Teammates

by Michael Cardillo

Today it's seemingly appropriate that London's Arsenal is nicknamed the Gunners after captain William Gallas fired a number of salvos at his teammates. The very candid interview the French international painted a ugly, disharmonious picture of the Arsenal locker room, with players taking personal beefs out onto the field.

To some extent this helps explain how Arsenal -- tied for fourth place and nine points behind Chelsea and Liverpool -- can smack Manchester United 2-0 at home at the Emirates one weekend, then lose 2-1 on the same field to Aston Villa seven days later. If Gallas' words are true, it also nullifies any talk that the young Gunners have grown up and taken strides toward maturity this campaign.

Perhaps Gallas' comments shouldn't be too surprising. Arsenal is filled with young, talented players who are constantly told how good they are and what wonderful soccer they can play when hitting on all cylinders. The skippers comments paint a picture of spoiled little kids at recess fighting for who gets to use the Flintstones Speak-N-Say first. Spoiled little kids who also have massive egos and wallets to match.

Let's not forget that Gallas isn't exactly a choir boy himself, staging a protest during a game last year when he was subbed off against Birmingham City. Yet if the backstage stuff is as bad as he portrays it, then give him credit for speaking out. If the public catches wind that some of their beloved wunderkinds aren't as squeaky clean as they think, it may force those players to eventually toughen up.

In the end Gallas sounds like any exasperated veteran trying to reach a group of younger teammates, though not as surly as say Jeff Kent. The most telling comments were that opposing teams aren't afraid to play against Arsenal anymore, even at their home stadium.

If I were a Gooner fan that would definitely make it hard for me to digest my oatmeal this morning. Arsene Wenger, have fun with all this. You wanted to go with young kids -- this is what you get. May I suggest handing out a couple 'Timeouts' at the next training session.

Arsenal Captain Lays into Teammates originally appeared on Soccer FanHouse on Thu, 20 Nov 2008 09:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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