So the World cup has for England, like France, ended in tears. A pathetic emasculated display against Germany has left the country bewildered and angry at the limp-wristed performance that undersold all that we love about the Premiership. No pace, no pressing, no organisation. Eleven misfits who didn’t appear to know their place or purpose and a back four that played in such a way that our local pub team would have fancied there chances against them.
All our grievances with them appear to be football based, unless and until the balloon goes up on their return. The only criticism of the manager appears to be that he liked to keep the team sheet to himself until 2 hrs before the match. It would seem he wishes to stay on for the Europeans. Will that happen? Who knows, but we will soon find out following a meeting with the FA.
Oh that France had so few problems! A mutiny within the squad culminating in our former ‘Le Sulk’ launching a half time foul mouthed tirade at the manager, questioning his character, tactics, capabilities and reason for being. Unsurprisingly, Anelka was dispatched post haste to the airport on the next flight home. The next day, after an on field team meeting, the captain voiced the team’s solidarity with the brooding absentee and refused to train. A statement followed expressing their loyalty to France and the fans. This was read paradoxically by the coach, even though he was their biggest complaint. Consequently, the patched up, out of sorts and demoralised team were taken apart and ditched out of the competition by the hometown boys of South Africa.
They have since summarily returned home economy class in disgrace. The whole debacle has resulted in questions being asked in the French parliament and several players have been summoned for questioning by the enquiry.
Caught up in the middle of this sorry tale are four Arsenal players, Sagna, Clichy, Diaby and the out of contract Gallas. How, I wonder, will they react to this debacle? Surely the most shameful episode ever in French football. What kind of mental state will these guys be in when they return for the new season?
The fact that Gallas, (whose mental state is questionable at the best of times) is probably leaving us is a bonus I think. But will the three young Frenchman so important to our success this year have the mental resolve to handle such catastrophic happenings and the likely backlash from their incensed countryman?
Will the press here constantly compare them to the errant John Terry who himself attempted to muster a mutiny at a Press Conference?
Will we as a club suffer from the loss of form in these young men as they try to come to terms with the enormity of the disappointment and the manner of their World Cup exit?
Will we once again pay the price for something beyond AW’s control that has occurred while his players are away on International duty? Not physical injury this time but mental perhaps.