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Football Insights – William Gallas

Speaking to Genting Casino, two-time Premier League winner and former Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs defender William Gallas, discusses the goings on at the three clubs, including the possibility of his former manager Jose Mourinho returning to Chelsea.

‘Todd Boehly’s strategy at Chelsea is failing

Arsenal can beat anyone but they need to be consistent

Spurs are good enough to finish in the top four this season

Read the full interview with William below.


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Chelsea have had a tough time, losing 4-1 to Liverpool and 4-2 to Wolves in the last week. Where is it all going wrong for Chelsea at the moment?

WG: “I am disappointed. I don’t know what to say. At the beginning of the season, I said Chelsea wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League but when you have a performance like they did against Wolves, that’s when you know something is going wrong.  

“We are talking about the owner, the scouts and the staff who have failed with their strategy because they finished 12th in the Premier League and they are 11th in the table this season. The owners have spent a lot of money on young players and they can’t finish in the top four.  

“Football here is different than in America. How you do business in America is completely different to England. Baseball or basketball are completely different to soccer.” 

What does Todd Boehly and the club’s hierarchy need to do to turn things round?

WG: “The owners need to sign players that are good enough to play for Chelsea. When I look at Chelsea’s defenders, there are some who aren’t good enough to play for Chelsea. I don’t want to speak too much about midfielders or strikers as a defender but as I explained, when you own a big club like Chelsea you need to buy the right players for the club who are going to improve your club. 

“You need to have information about the players you want to buy, you need to know everything. They have bought defenders that aren’t good enough and they aren’t strong enough. Some of them are good on the ball but they aren’t challenging their opponents.

“For next season, the owner and the club’s staff below him need to have a big meeting because these performances and results can’t happen next season.”

Plenty of Chelsea fans believe that Maurcio Pochettino should be sacked after these defeats to Liverpool and Wolves, what’s your thoughts on Pochettino?

WG: “You have to blame someone. When you aren’t getting results it always goes to the manager. It’s always the manager who is to blame and this is the risk of being a manager. If the club aren’t performing then they have to sack Pochettino. Some people have the credit to speak about the manager.

“Pochettino won trophies with PSG but in England, he hasn’t won anything. He was tasked with putting Chelsea back on track but he hasn’t done it. We don’t know if there’s something wrong with the connection between the manager and the players.”

Jose Mourinho, is he the right man to replace Pochettino should he get sacked?

WG: “With Jose, you have to give him the right players, it’s that simple. You have to give him warriors and the right players who want to fight and who want to make sacrifices and aren’t scared to suffer. If Chelsea gave him these types of players, he would be a great choice.

Could Mourinho work with these players?

WG: “I don’t know, I don’t know the players so well but I think some of the players aren’t strong enough to work with Mourinho. You have to be strong not just for a few games but for the whole season. With Mourinho, you also have to fight for your place in training and I think some of Chelsea’s players are too soft.”

Enzo and Caicedo, aren’t playing like £100m players at the moment, in this moment in time, how much do you think they’re worth?

WG: “They are both too young. They need an experienced player behind Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. They can’t play in the positions they are playing now because there's too much pressure on their shoulders and they are too young.

“That’s why football is crazy. When the owners have connections with other clubs, you buy players for a lot of money that is over their value. Football is becoming a business and that’s a problem, too much money is being spent.”

What do you make of Armando Broja being loaned out by Chelsea? They didn’t sign a striker to replace him, not even Karim Benzema. This is a problem isn’t it?

WG: “They didn’t sign anyone in January because there weren’t many world class options available. I think they’ll wait in the summer to sign a world class striker and they’ll persist with playing Nicolas Jackson upfront until the end of the season. They didn’t keep Broja and they sent him on loan to give him some minutes.”

Which striker will Chelsea sign in the summer?

WG: “I think they will sign Victor Osimhen in the summer. I don’t know Victor that well as a person but he’s similar to Drogba. Didier was so strong but with Osimhen, he is also very quick. I’m sure he’ll do a lot of damage in the Premier League.”

With that being said, surely the club will have to look at selling homegrown players this summer and if a bid came in for Connor Gallagher should they accept it to avoid being stung by FFP and facing a points deduction?

WG: “Chelsea have so many players and that is a problem. They need to sell players because it’s a mess at Chelsea at the moment. I don’t know a lot about their financial situation but they need to figure out which players should stay and which players should leave.

In the Premier League, some clubs loan in players to replace players they have sold for more money but when you look at the situation with Enzo and Caicedo, they bought them for £100m, how much can they sell them for? Not much!”

A final one on Chelsea, on Wednesday the Blues face Aston Villa away in a FA Cup replay. What’s your prediction for the game?

WG: “Before they played Wolves, I thought Chelsea would beat them. I really don’t know about Villa. I just hope it won’t be a big defeat for Chelsea because as a team, they look crushed.”

Do you give Chelsea any hope in the Carabao Cup final? What’s your prediction for the final?

WG: “At least it’s a different competition! If you aren’t playing well in the Premier League, it’s different playing in a cup final so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The Liverpool players will feel a bit down after losing to Arsenal in the Premier League so we’ll have to wait and see what happens between now and then. It could be very interesting, it will be a good final that’s for sure, so anything can happen!”

What was your assessment of Arsenal vs Liverpool? Were there any players that impressed you?

WG: “Gabriel Martinelli was very impressive. He caused a lot of problems for Liverpool’s defenders, especially Trent Alexander-Arnold, who we know struggles defensively even though his quality moving forward is great.

“I’m not surprised Arsenal beat Liverpool. Arsenal can win against anyone but the problem for Arsenal is being inconsistent. It was a great victory for Arsenal against Liverpool. The atmosphere was incredible, the manager was jumping, it was unbelievable and a perfect evening for Arsenal.

“Now, they have to play how they played yesterday and perform the rest of the season like this to be champions. It’s as simple as that!”

You’ve been critical of Kai Havertz in the past. He looked frustrating to watch playing as a striker, how would you get the best out of Havertz?

WG: “You just have to look at his statistics. I don’t know how they can get the best out of Havertz.”

Roy Keane said that Liverpool defended like a pub team. Would you agree with this?

WG: “Liverpool made so many mistakes. Especially for the first goal when Havertz was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Van Dijk was missing and it happened in the middle of the pitch! The centre-backs have to be there. How they defended yesterday was very poor! Van Dijk made so many mistakes, since his ACL injury, I don’t think he’s been the same player.”

Jamie Carragher wasn’t happy with Arsenal’s celebrations after the game with Martin Odegaard taking a picture of Arsenal’s club photographer saying they should go back down the tunnel. What’s your thoughts on this?

WG: “I think the players had a lot of pressure on their shoulders before that game. That game was very important for them because they knew they had to fight for the title. I think had they lost against Liverpool yesterday, then they would have been out of the title race. When you are under pressure, it’s never easy to go on the pitch, it requires so much focus and concentration.

“When you win a game like this, the emotions come out and you have to celebrate after the match. I don’t know how long they stayed on the pitch after the game but the title race is still on and there’s another 15 games left in the season. You have to be sure at the end of the season that you will be champions otherwise people, especially fans, will jump on you!

“If Carragher wasn’t happy with Arsenal players celebrating after the game, if Liverpool win the Premier League, I’m sure Carragher will make jokes about the celebrations from yesterday’s game. Arsenal have to play every game like they did against Liverpool!”

Do you think Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool increases Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League next season?

WG: “For me, I said at the beginning of the season that Arsenal will win the Premier League next season. They will be close this year but everybody is talking about Liverpool because it’s Jurgen Klopp’s last season with the club but Manchester City will still be there. For me, City is going to win the Premier League but next season, I think Arsenal will win the Premier League because they’ll have more experience.”

Can you see Arteta having the same or similar legacy at Arsenal that Klopp has left at Liverpool?

WG: “I think he already has the fans and the players on his side but what he needs to do now is to win titles and he’s very close. When he will win the Premier League with Arsenal, I think they will stay on top for a few years.”

Where should Arsenal look to strengthen in the summer transfer window? There’s been a lot made about their lack of a clinical striker but do they need to strengthen anywhere else?

WG: “They should buy a striker in the summer. I’ve said since last season that they need a different profile to Gabriel Jesus but I didn’t understand why they bought Kai Havertz.

“How much would they spend on Ivan Toney? £100m is a ridiculous amount of money. Some people are dreaming. How many goals is he going to score for Arsenal? I’m not sure he’ll be able to hit the 20 goal a season mark for Arsenal consistently. If you’re spending £100m on a striker, he has to score 20 goals a season.”

What should Arsenal do about the goalkeeper situation in the summer? David Raya has been in the team for the most part of the season, surely they should cash in on Ramsdale?

WG: “We don’t know what’s happening with Ramsdale. People were surprised to see him on the bench for David Raya, who is doing a good job, so it’s a difficult situation because you have two goalkeepers and only one position to fill which is different to other positions on the field. Both of them need to stay professional and we’ll have to see what happens for them in the future.”

Tottenham are continuing their impressive form under Ange Postecoglou. How impressed have you been by Spurs this season? Where will they finish in the league?

WG: “They can finish in fourth position. Unfortunately, they conceded in the last minute against Everton over the weekend. They worked very hard at Goodison Park to get the three points and when they conceded that goal, it’s frustrating and difficult for them to accept.

“What Ange has done from the beginning of the season, the players are playing well. Some players have gone to another level and are taking more responsibility, players like Christian Romero at the back.

“At the end of the season, I think they’ll receive all the credit they deserve because the way that they play, I think they’ll surprise a lot of teams, especially ones fighting for the title. They’re good enough to finish in the Champions League but they have to be focused until the end.”

Conor Gallagher to Tottenham? Would you move if you were in his shoes if Chelsea don’t qualify for Europe and Spurs do?

WG: “Gallagher is a Chelsea boy so I don’t think there’s any way he’ll go to Tottenham. If he’s from Chelsea’s academy, he’ll want to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea.”

Who should Liverpool replace Jurgen Klopp with? Are there any outsider candidates the club should be looking at?

WG: “Steven Gerrard should replace Jurgen Klopp. He was the manager at Rangers and Aston Villa so why can’t he manage Liverpool? It’s not like he’s just started his managerial career, he has experience under his belt already. They have to give him that job.

What about Xabi Alonso replacing Jurgen Klopp?

WG: “Liverpool fans respect Xabi Alonso, he’s had a great career and is having good results with Leverkusen but Steven Gerrard is a legend at Liverpool.” 

 


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V: 1.35.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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