Arsenal, EPL, World Football

Gael Clichy: Arsenal’s Flying Left Back Should Stay with the Gunners


The Invincibles: Seems a long time back now. Gael Clichy, the last remaining player from that illustrious season maybe on his way away from the Emirates with a number of clubs ready to pounce.

If recent reports are to be believed, then the Arsenal left back is all set to reject a new contract and move to Liverpool or Barcelona.

Some fans believe that the Frenchman’s time has come has, I personally believe that Wenger must look to keep him and offer him a new and improved contract.

When Ashley Cole left for Chelsea, Wenger chose to keep faith in the then young Clichy and he rewarded Wenger with some solid and impressive performances. The 2007-08 season proved to be his zenith as he featured in the PFA Team of the season.

Since that Clichy has been unable to soar the great heights that were expected of him. While it would be unfair on him to say that he has regressed it is however true that he has not made rapid strides in his game.

But the 2010-11 season has seen him show glimpses of his 07-08 form as he has continued to put in some marauding performance both offensively and defensively. Blessed with lighting pace, Clichy is a real force when bombarding forward. His speed ensures that he can cover plenty of ground in quick pace and can get back into position rapidly.

But while his attacking game is stronger than Sagna mainly due to his ability to deliver pinpoint crosses from the left, his defensive play is often questioned. Clichy links up beautifully with Arshavin or whoever plays down the left. His quick pace makes him an integral part of Arsenal’s new found pressing game.

In recent times his defensive duties have struggled against fast, quick attackers who often get the better of him. He has come under some heavy criticism for some costly mistakes that have ended up costing Arsenal game like against Shakhtar this season and Chelsea last season.

But let us analyze why his defensive game is struggling.

First of all I believe he is a bit unlucky. Every Arsenal player makes mistakes no doubt, but when Clichy does it somehow or the other it ends up being extremely costly for the Gunners. Arsenal are often punished when Clichy makes a mistake.

This season he has cut down on the mistakes when compared to the previous season.

But the question that arises is why he makes mistakes in the first place.

For one thing, Arshavin often plays down the left. Arshavin is a great player no doubt who can change the course of the game with one swipe of his foot. But despite all his quality, he is unfortunately lazy and often fails to track back and support the defense.

Since it is Clichy who ends up playing down the left it is him who often ends up suffering due to Arshavin’s lack of effort. There is no doubt that if Arshavin starts to track back and support the defense, there would be an immense improvement. It is never easy to take on attackers by yourself, and as a result of Arshavin’s laziness and lack of team effort it is Clichy who is often under immense pressure and faces the brunt of heavy criticism.

Another reason for Clichy’s dip in form last season was the frequent injuries he picked up. Last season he often picked up back injuries that left him on the sidelines for large parts of the season. His frequent injuries did have a detrimental impact on his game as he took time to get back to his best after lengthy spells out.

This season I feel that he is coming back to his best and is nearing top form. With a bit more help from the attackers, he can blossom into the top quality left back he has the potential to become. He has stayed injury free for large parts and has put in some impressive performance of attacking prowess and defensive stability despite a few hiccups.

Now I would love to see Clichy continue playing in an Arsenal jersey. But recently he stated that he would review his situation regarding his contract only the summer and will decide about his future.

It is paramount that Arsenal do their best to keep Clichy. Currently he is one of the most experienced players and is the only player left on the squad who has won a trophy with the Gunners.

If he does move it still remains uncertain whether Wenger will buy a player with that cash. Kieran Gibbs is not ready to take over from the Frenchman as his career has been blighted by injuries. Armand Traore is far from the left back that Arsenal require.

But it is understandable to why Clichy wants to go elsewhere. Arsenal have failed to win a trophy in five seasons and potentially six seasons if they don’t pick their form up this season.

Clichy is of the age when he would want to trophies and a move to Inter Milan or any of the two Spanish giants, Real Madrid or Barcelona could assure him trophies.

But one thing these clubs cannot offer him is a regular starting place. These three teams have talented players who may usurp his starting position. Clichy may end up suffering a fate much too similar to Hleb if he decides to leave Arsenal.

I also believe that this Arsenal side are on the verge of glory and will only improve tremendously with each season and they look destined to end their trophy drought soon.

Past examples show that over ambitious players who tend to move away from the Emirates tend to rue their decision and Clichy should look not to make that same mistake.

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About Aditya M S

A huge Arsenal fan but love great football and basically am a huge football fan. The reason is because of their style of football that is so pleasing to see and so easy on the eye. Hate Chelsea, Manchester City because of their route to success.

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