04 September 2006

Employee of the Month

We might have a new definition of unprofessional.
“Chelsea Football Club has the following statement on William Gallas to explain the circumstances behind his departure. These include his refusal to play for the team, and if selected, a threat to score an own goal.”
I don’t want to come off as any sort of apologist for Chelsea, but if Gallas actually said that, I’d ship him out as soon as possible too. It’s an atomic bomb of a smear to claim a player promised to try and throw games, so I’m inclined to believe Chelsea. One doesn’t usually put out press releases slandering a player. Ashley Cole for Gallas plus £5m is looking better and better. I think Chelsea need Gallas more than they do Cole, but this is the definition of a locker room cancer. Hopefully Gallas gets on with the rest of the French contingent already at Arsenal.

RB: Bouhlarouz, Ferreira, Geremi
CB: Terry, Carvalho, (Bouhlarouz, Ferreira)
LB: Cole, Bridge

Terry and Carvalho had become the preferred pairing last season under Mourinho, but Gallas’s versatility across all four positions will be dearly missed. Any injury to the central pairing will test Chelsea. Plus, Wayne Bridge had been one of Chelsea’s best players since the start of the season. While Cole is an upgrade, he’s not a necessity by any means. The only comfort is that Gallas forced their hand instead of Chelsea pursuing this, and by the delayed nature of the transfer, they clearly weren’t. The media had led us to believe Cole moving across London has been a done deal for months now; I think they printed pictures of Cole and Peter Kenyon apartment shopping back in July.

For once, Chelsea might have a weakness in defense. They’ve kept clean sheets against Blackburn and Manchester City, but let in two against Liverpool and Boro. Terry completely losing Crouch at the back post, Riise’s long range effort, and Mark Viduka’s scramble just didn’t happened to last year’s version. It’s supposedly that much harder to win it for a third time, and maybe this year the stars will align.

Full Statement on Gallas

Update: Gallas' publicist is up late on a weeknight:
"I am surprised and shocked by these claims.

"I never said that I would score own goals if I had to play for Chelsea again.

"I was firm about my wanting to leave, that is true, and I will explain in due time why I wanted to.

"But I never went that far. But if people want to hide behind false accusations in order to give a reason for why I left so they can calm down the club's supporters then they can."
This ought to be fun. Pity Chelsea don't play Arsenal until December.

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