North London Derby Preview - William Gallas

There are few footballers better placed to talk about one of English football’s biggest rivalries than William Gallas. The former centre-back spent four years at the Emirates before making the switch to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2010, where he remained for three seasons. Having captained both sides in this fixture, the Frenchman knows exactly what it takes to come out on top in a match that means so much to the supporters.



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Keeping Emotions In Check

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “The players must try to control their emotions because we know that in this type of game players want to go on the pitch and to win every challenge. 

“Players have to be careful, they will want to show the fans their commitment to the shirt they are wearing, but you don’t want to be shown a red card after only a few minutes. 

“Sometimes it can be difficult to control your emotions. 

“My advice would be to remain calm, control your emotions and enjoy the match because it is unbelievable.”  

Arsenal Lack Experience And Personality

The Gunners have a relatively youthful side for the 2021-22 campaign and this is something that worries the former France international.

“The players who play for Arsenal right now, they don’t have personality and they don’t have enough experience,” he explained.

“Arsenal has good young players, but they are too young to take that responsibility. 

“They are still too young and the players who have got experience, some of them are on the bench.”

Arteta Concerns

Gallas is a veteran of ten North London derbies in all competitions – six of which were in the red of Arsenal – but he has concerns around current Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

Despite never lining up alongside the Spaniard in an Arsenal shirt, he has faced off against him for Spurs – and the 44-year-old worries for the team’s future under Arteta’s leadership.

“He was Pep Guardiola’s assistant, but an assistant coach is not the same role as the coach because you have to make all the decisions,” he said.  

“You have to take all the responsibility and, for me, Arsenal made a mistake in choosing Arteta.

“I know the fans were not happy with finishing eighth last season, and now everybody wants to see how long Arteta will stay as manager. 

“The next game against Tottenham is a good test for him, after that game we will know more about his position at the club. 

“This season he doesn’t have any excuse because they are not playing in Europe so he will have time during the week to prepare for every weekend game, they need to have a result.”

Too Tight To Call

The 84-cap international only lost two of the North London derbies that he featured in, but feels that Sunday’s match – which will be the 204th meeting between the two sides – is too close to call.

He said: “When you play in the North London derby, you have got to forget about everything, including form, and go onto the pitch to fight for your shirt. 

“It doesn’t matter if you play well or if you play bad, at the end you have to give 100% for your club. 

“For me, the derby game is a war and if neither club wins, it's sad. 

“If it is a draw, it has to be a good draw, we have to see goals but one of them has to win. 

“I don’t know which one it will be, but I will be in front of my TV that is for sure and with the fans back, I’m sure it will be amazing.”

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