Almunia or Gallas – Who is the Biggest Loss?
Arsenal suffered two injury setbacks on Tuesday night. First Almunia went off with an ankle injury and the Gallas had to leave the field after Rossi fell on him. Whilst both are blows for Arsenal, just as we are getting players back, the loss of Gallas will be felt more at the club than Almunia’s absence.
Almunia is expected back soon, but even if he were out for a longer period Fabianski has the quality to step in and make the number one jersey his own. He showed no nerves on Tuesday, despite ITV’s co-commentator Ronnie Whelan urging the Spaniards to test him out. In fact within minutes Fabianski pulled off two great saves. Fabianski is a very confident and able goalkeeper and I would have no qualms about him playing in goal for the rest of the season, I do not think it would weaken that position.
Fabianski was modest in a recent interview saying, “I am maybe not ready to take over the No1 spot yet but I am ready to play. I respect what Manuel has done for the club. He was playing great for the last couple of months. Now the situation is like this and I have to play – I am ready.”
For his efforts in the Carling Cup and the FA Cup, I hope Fabianski is selected for the FA Cup semi-final, irrespective as to Almunia’s availability.
The loss of Gallas will hurt us, Gallas was having a scan last night to disclose the extent of his injury with most pundits predicting a long absence after damaging medial ligaments.
Djourou is a good defender and for a while this season it appeared that he was going to be the number one centre back with Gallas and Toure vying for the other spot. Once in the team he is solid, good in the air (an advantage on both Gallas and Toure), fast and strong. I have no issues over Djourou’s qualities, but you cannot compensate for is experience.
Gallas has been a rock this season for Arsenal, and I am still of the opinion that he should never have lost the captaincy. He reads a game wells, he knows where to be at the right moment so his defending becomes effortless. He has put in some master performances this season and scored vital goals for us, the winner against Hull City in the FA Cup, vital Champions League goals at the start of the campaign against FC Twente and Dynamo Kiev and a last gasp winner against Portsmouth.
Gallas will be missed after his injury in Villarreal because he organizes the defence and the team and is still our natural leader.