Inside Lane: Why Gallas should not face his former club Arsenal
Tottenham blogger Ben McAleer points the spotlight at William Gallas ahead of the north London derby at the Emirates.
Cast your thoughts back to August 18. It was the opening day of the campaign – Newcastle away – and Tottenham fans were heading into the new season in a cautiously optimistic mood.
Ledley King had retired but Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart were still at the club, waiting for the call that they had been sold to Real Madrid and Hamburg.
There was a shock in store, around an hour before kick-off, but it had nothing to do with the transfer window – William Gallas was named captain at St James’ Park and Michael Dawson wasn’t even in the squad.
One can understand why, in the beginning, Andre Villas-Boas called on the Frenchman to lead the team. At 35 years of age, Gallas is the second most experienced member of the squad, behind the veteran Brad Friedel.
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With King retiring, and Villas-Boas opting for a relatively youthful back line, it was arguably necessary to call on the former Chelsea and Arsenal centre-back as the vocal point of the back four.
In fairness, Gallas’s perform-ances were decent in the early stages of the season – but as the weeks have turned into months it’s fair to say his age has begun to catch up with him.
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The problem is that injuries, particularly to Younes Kaboul, have meant that Villas-Boas has been unable to bring through anyone else in his place.
There have now been calls for Michael Dawson to be reinstated in the starting XI, despite his slow turn of pace and inability to play in the high defensive line that Spurs’ head coach prefers.
And, although Tottenham now face Gallas’s former club Arsenal, it would be wise to relegate the Frenchman to the sidelines of the big match in favour of Dawson.
Granted, there is rarely a bigger motivation than playing against your former team at their home stadium in a game that matters this much – but it is starting to look like Gallas’s time may be up.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is likely to opt for Olivier Giroud to lead his front line, and it would make sense to utilise Dawson to counteract the physicality of the former Montpellier forward.
Gallas has struggled in that respect this season, so the time has come for AVB to call upon his English lionheart. Gallas’s best chance of leaving the Emirates on the winning side is probably to stay out of the way.
Follow me on Twitter @BenMcAleer1