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William Gallas Exclusive: Arsenal Need To Deal With The Pressure

Former Arsenal defender William Gallas believes his old side “have a great opportunity” to win the Premier League - but first the Gunners must “show they can handle the pressure”. Arsenal sit top of the league - four points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City - after claiming nine wins from their first 10 games. And Gallas feels the North Londoners must show character to bounce back when they inevitably drop points, in order to win the title.


Great Opportunity To Win League 

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “Arsenal have got the opportunity to win the league and it depends what they really want to do, what they really want to achieve. Is it the top four or is it the league?

“It’s early, and they are four points clear, but for Arsenal to show they have moved to another level they have to show they can handle the pressure on their shoulders. 

“They have to win every game to keep that four-point lead. At home they have to beat the big teams, and away they have to at least draw. 

“It’s not easy because the squad is still young, but I think they know they have a great opportunity.

“We will truly see their character when they draw against a smaller team, how will they react after that game? 

“They have confidence because they beat Liverpool and Tottenham and then Leeds, so they have to carry on. But if they draw against one small team, we will see how they will react.

“Chelsea look strong now with Graham Potter. Even though Man City lost against Liverpool they still look good. But I think Arsenal have a great chance to win the league but they have to be really strong, so we will see if they can do that.

“If you compare Chelsea and Arsenal, Chelsea have more experienced players in their squad. Most of the players have already won this competition. It can make the difference at the end of the season, but Arsenal have to believe that they can do it.”

Martinelli Contract

Gallas has also suggested that Arsenal would be wise to tie Gabriel Martinelli down to a long-term contract.

The Brazilian has emerged as a key player for the Gunners this season, scoring four goals and registering two assists in the Premier League so far.

However, the former France international believes Arsenal’s brightest young talents like Martinelli and Bukayo Saka still have some way to go, before they can be ranked as elite Premier League players alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne.

“I think Arsenal have to get that deal with Martinelli signed as quickly as possible,” he said. 

“I’m sure he’s hearing so many things about him, like Real Madrid being interested. Sometimes the player can be confused. 

“At the moment I think he’s playing well and Arsenal have to close that deal as soon as possible so he feels better in his mind.

“I don’t think he’s good enough for Real Madrid yet. In football after two or three games, everyone is raving about that player, ‘he’s magnificent’ or ‘he’s a top-class player’ but no, calm down, let him have a great season to get to another level. 

“He’s still young, he’s only 21, but if he goes step by step, he can go to a club like Real Madrid, but right now he’s not ready.

“I think Martinelli and Saka are still behind De Bruyne, for example. To be among the best, it’s not because you played a few good games and then suddenly you belong there. 

“You need to be consistent and prove throughout the season that you’re at that level, which is not easy because the Premier League is so competitive. You play almost every three days and top teams play in Europe.

“At the end of the season we will know how good they are, and even then we may need another season. 

“Sometimes players can have one great season and everyone is talking about them, and then they can’t do it for the next season. 

“So top class players are those who can do it almost every season.”

Xhaka Praise

Gallas also praised midfielder Granit Xhaka, claiming the Switzerland international is playing better than he ever has before in an Arsenal shirt.

“This is the best I’ve seen Granit Xhaka play for Arsenal,” he revealed. “Maybe it’s because he’s got more experience now. 

“He’s got character and personality and you can see it on the pitch when he plays. He’s taking the responsibility to speak to his teammates, if he has to shout he’s going to shout, he can be very physical and you need one player like him.

“Before, I think he was only playing in front of the two centre-backs, and now you can see he’s going forward more now, he’s got more opportunities in this system. 

“I think [Mikel] Arteta is giving him the chance to get close to the goal, to pass and shoot. He has good technique and can deliver the ball. 

“In the game against Brentford he made a cross for Gabriel Jesus who scored. I think this has been his best season.”






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V: 1.25.0 All rights reserved. August 2021