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Ashley Who?

The title of this article suggests that I will spend the next 10 minutes extracting the urine out of a former Arsenal player, but that is not the case.

Ashley Cole was a born Gooner, a player who came through the ranks and moulded himself into THE best left back in the world. It's common knowledge how Cole's legendary status at Arsenal diminished with one secret meeting, but bitterness aside, Cole was one of the greatest left backs ever to play for Arsenal. His move to Chelsea seemed to suggest that it was this Arsenal team that made him look good, but he has proved himself to still be a class defender as his Chelsea performances have infinitely improved.

Whilst Cole plied his trade for the Gunners, a highly rated young Frenchman sat waiting in the wings for an opportunity to prove his worth. On the odd occasion that Cole was injured or suspended (Or in the Carling Cup) Clichy's performances did more than enough to have most Gooners reaching for the superlatives, and even comparing him to Ashley Cole.

When Ashley Cole finally left, most supporters were confident that Gael Clichy could adequately fill the void left by the England stopper. It was sad to lose such a talent player, but with the arrival of William Gallas the Gooners (Trademark pending) had their fears eased somewhat. The best we could hope for from Clichy was a good, solid & professional defender.

Clichy impressed in his first season as number one left back, but was often caught out positionally and he was over shadowed a little by a string of poor results from the Arsenal.

With the final whistle not long blown in a game in which a 10 man Arsenal side impressively beat Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth 3-1, my mind can not be pulled away from this mild mannered Frenchman.

This defender, who we prayed could be at least competent enough to play for our beloved Arsenal, has excelled beyond all expectation. Not only has he improved his defensive game, but he has put many of our wide players to shame with his quick feet, silky skills and electric pace.

One thing that stands out is Clichy's fitness. In the away leg against Sparta Prague, Gael ran himself into the ground, yet when the opportunity came to intercept a pass and engineer the Gunners first goal of the game late on, his pace seemed so great that he could still outpace the quickest player who hadn't run a step all evening.

So with the beer flowing freely this afternoon, I'd like to raise a can to a player who was asked to fill the shoes of the best left back in the world. A player so full of confidence and talent that he not only filled those shoes, but wore them out, and made a brand new pair of his own.

Gael Clichy - Best left back in the world.




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 2 2007

Time: 4:17PM

Your Comments

his passing could be better. other than dat, he's our maldini!
korodon
Cheers Rocky. The lad deserves a lot of praise for the way he has performed for Arsenal. The best left back in the world may be a bit premature, but I firmly believe that he will be regarded as the best left back in the Premiership by the end of this season.
prits
definitely better than most,but why he aint in the French National Team is another story.
Babeasta
Prits - As with Ashley Cole, I can't see another left back with such qualities as Clichy. Cole himself is the only player who compares, and that is obviously a judgment call, and I'm calling it in Clichy's direction, because, while I'm obviously biased, I also believe it. How Abidal is ahead of Clichy in the French national team is beyond me, but then again, I'm happy for Clichy to stay as far away as possible from Domenesch.
Rocky7
This is further evidence of Wenger genius. He knew well that when Cashley left he would have an even better player waiting in the wings (excuse the pun), not only did we get five mill for the little scroat, but Willy Gallas too! Glichy was brilliant today, his pace, determination and confort on the ball make him look twice the player Cole is. Opposing fans will say "of course you are going to say that", but this is not just the rose tinted view of a fanatic, did you see that match, he's quicker than Walcott!
GunnerBlood
I was saying the same thing Rocky to the fellow gooners with me in the match. Frankly I haven't seen much of Ashley Cole's Arsenal Career matches, but I dont think he could have put a better performance than what Clichy did today. It was sensational. He deserved the man of the match award in my opinion. the guy at Pompy's right wing was completly in Clichy's pocket almost in the entire match and he was very instrumental in going forward too. Only regret I have is that Traore would get much of a look in into the team.
questforavalon
Isn't he just GB, and the dude has the stamina to do that for more than 90 minutes. He has fast become one of my favorite players.....does anyone remember how much we paid for him?
Rocky7
sorry the last sentance is "would = wouldn't"
questforavalon
World class. Tommy Gun also was world class today!
ohhahhproudtobea...
The scarey thing is Quest, is that I know a guy who works closely with the Arsenal team and he says Traore will be BETTER than Clichy when he get older. The best two LB's at Arsenal.....happy days.
Rocky7
I was litrelly salivating at the team we have now. Did u see diaby's game except his final shooting(ofcourse :) ). He was amazing in creating space for him and it doesn't seem to matter how many are around him he could still take the ball and run. nobody seem to be able to touch him.
questforavalon
Just back from the game (well boozer really) a commited higher tempo performance. Pompey never had a clue. Clichy had another blinder with well timed interceptions and bombed along the left flank nicely. (ashley ashley who the **** is ashley!) Glad Diaby came on later on as the lad is pure class. apart from his header but were not really well known for those are we? We showed the Spuds how to hold a 3-1 lead and with less men against far better opposition.We never sat back and credit to the lads went further in front courtesy of Rosicky`s and Fabs guile. As for the sending off WTF?? James should have had the red card too. The ref lost it completely in my book but he couldn`t dampen a glorious afternoons footie!. Well done Gunners.
HerbertChapman
Rocky it is SCARY...for the opponents :) Happy days.
questforavalon
Btw Rocky, I am in Ipswich for a couple of weeks. just landed in UK today. Wanted to come there but people advised that i wouldn't get the tickets. Would it be possible for me to buy a ticket for the Champion's league game against Seville on 19th. If it is possible then I could postpone my return trip :)
questforavalon
Yeah Rocky, I'm happy for Clichy to stay far away from that clown Domenech as well. Clichy has shown that he IS better than Cole could ever be, and trust me, its not only your biased eye thats making that call.
prits
Unless you have at least a red membership, I doubt it Quest. Sevilla will be the biggest game in the CL group stages. The only games that ever go on general sale are the Carling cups games and the game vs Sparta (which sold out anyway).....so unless you have a few quid spare for a ticket from a tout, I think you'll struggle. Get yourself on the forum though, there's sometimes people in the Tickets section who can help you out.
Rocky7
Arsenal have an incredible talent for creating world class left backs, which is especially impresive considering it can be one fo the hardest positions on a team to adequately fill, which is why Chelsea stole Cole. Winterburn, Sylvinho, Gio (was very good for Barca if not us), Cole, Clichy and now Traore. that is an impressive list of LB in only 10 years.
Ozi Gooner
Also one more thing. I realised how sad a twit Andy Grey is today(today is the first time I am listening to him :) ). He was saying that arsenal was lucky in the first half as if we do not deserve those goals. If Arsenal scores then the opposition is sloppy, if not then they were showing great courage and well played mate. He doesn't realize that the defensive errors are created by arsenal with the wave after wave of attack. and the opposition is holding on bythe skin of their teath until finally they crack after 75 min or so(even the most valiant). then Arsenal scores; Arsenal wins.
questforavalon
Will do Rocky. I do not have Red membership.
questforavalon
For the right backs we seem to buy them :)
questforavalon
Andy Gray is a waste of space, mate.
prits
One thing I do not understand, why Flamini started in front of Hoyte. He was very good going forward but suspect at back. I have an idea: How about Flamster at right wing?
questforavalon
Happy Gunners, Happy days, `ol uncle Herbs on the beer again. I`m Larving it! he he he .
HerbertChapman
yeeesss the chavscum are a goal down cos Cashley failed to clear off the line, tw*t was half asleep thinking of his bank balance, c'mon the Villa!!
nikolaijns
We paid a wopping 250,000 for him from Cannes. Now that's what I call shrewd.
GunnerBlood
Currently 1-0 to Villa against Chelsea by the way, Zat Knight with a header.
GunnerBlood
Thanks Niko now i`m delerious!! (hic)
HerbertChapman
2-0 Villa. Lets all laugh at Chelsea!!!
GunnerBlood
feckin mint!!!! look at chequebook charlie and his new haircut siiiittttt dowwwwn Maureeeeen!!! looooooooool
nikolaijns
This day is getting better and better. Chelski loose. and we win with 10 men and are a better team still.
questforavalon
Nice one Rocky... our Gael is definitely the business, and is becoming more and more menacing going forward as well as backward. He just knuckles down and does what he does with no ego either... That aside, those mofos at the Bodge really cocked up today didn't they - what a shambles. Is there a more perfect weekend? We got 3 points, Spuds threw them away, and the Chavs... well... buy yourself out of that one - as Niko rightly said - you chequebook bloody charlies!!!
Andy-bayor
He will go up there with Carlos and Maldini do doubt. When will Real, Barca and Milan come calling tho?
Goofle
He is certainly the best leftback in this league, no doubt about that. but i still think our squad lacks on attacking player, and folks, a very good source has told me that Wenger will sign another Frenchman in January, when some of our players go for the African Nation's Cup, and i can't wait for that dude to return to Arsenal :d..
luckys_10
OOh my head still happy hangover day everyone.....
HerbertChapman
luckys - I'm not sure who you mean but i can only think of one Frenchman who used to play for us who could bring us something and he has just signed a new 4 year deal!!
Rocky7
guess what, right guess. it is le sulk Rocky, and if my source is to be believed, Arsene asked him to stay and that is why he didn't sign for City, United and all the clubs who were interested in him. and why he signed a new deal, i can only guess is so that Bolton get a decent fee for him. but we will lose Adebayor in jan, and Arsene will add to the squad as he wants to win the CL badly this season, and Anelka will add a lot of firepower to our ever improving strike force. lets wait and see what happens, but i'm more than certain Arsene will get him when the window re-opens..
luckys_10
Clichy was outstanding... but wt about Senderos? I think he's definitely under pressure but he isn't performing. I dont knw if it is a lack of confidence or what but he was too clumsy in bringing Kanu down (yes, he could have done something differently) and his overall game hasn't been one of an assured centre back. I'm sorry, but Senderos is certainly not going to match Tony Adams.. not if he plays like this.. but overall the team performed superbly.. our goals this season haven't been all flamboyant and that is good.. we are playing 80% and getting results.. excellent!
arsenalrulz4ever
Senderos was great until he had his usual match cock-up...and Luckys, behave.
Goofle
hahaha.. 2 goals against chelski and they both came from cashley errors.. 1st, trying to clear the ball with his left foot when the right foot was merely a few cm away from the ball.. 2nd, playing agbonlahor onside and calling for the offside once the ball is in the net.. as the saying goes, form is temporary, class is permanent
McGooner
Totally agree, Gael has been an absolute revelation, and you know what, I don't think anyone ever doubted it for a second.
Little Dutch
I thought swiss Tony was unlucky with the decision. Maybe he should change his name to Sendhimof!. Kanu for a big man with the biggest feet in the EPL is as gracious on his feet your average wino.? Still Gilberto at CH with Kolo and either Denilson & Diaby there too and life ain`t so bad.
HerbertChapman
good article apart from the last comment there is no way you can see that because he has started this season well u cant say that
Thierry_Power
This weekend just gets better and better. Spartans win, Wolverines lose (American college football :) ) Arsenal Win, Chelski lose and to top it off Spurs surrender a 3-1 advantage to draw at Fulham
Spartan Gooner
Thierry_Power. Are you talking about our Mr Clichy or my comments about Swiss Tony? I never said he was bad, just a tad unlucky. Give him time he`ll be fine. As for our super Gael is there any other left back in world footie that we need? When you consider we have Traore too, my answer would be a big fat resounding NO!.
HerbertChapman
guys i jus watched the barca game.......in which btw yay toure got a dodgy goal.....and i jus cant help it seeing thierry in barca shirt.was jus too much for me.......it was like watching ur girlfriend cheat on you.........neway wat i did see was henry was most definitely not the focal point.......i'll be surprised if he honours his contract there........but then again news is rife that bucktooth is gonna join chavski..........and abidal is no good......and yaya toure looks like class...pity we missed out on him.......messi was once again brilliant........if our cesc had indeed decided to stay in barca man it looks scary.........and it seems silent stan is infact gonna remain silent afterall.......iusmanov does take over(which looks like happenin)..i can see us signing kaka...seriously......and that too kaka has said if eva he was to play fro another team it'd be arsenal....imagine our midfield with kaka..cesc diaby and walcott......well its always nice to dream eh....and on topic CLICHY IS ******** BRILLIANT.....i think evra is also quite good.....i dunno how abidal is keeping these two out
karley
I agree with Karley. The top 3 Left backs in the game at the moment all play in the Premiership. Gael, Cashley and Evra in that order. Cole this year looks much more comfortable with the Chelsea team, Evra starts most moves for ManU and Clichy is just exceptional. How Abidal makes the French team just eludes me but I agree with Rocky, the further Gael stays away from Domecrap the better. Not sure Ade should be starting, wish Wender would start Dudu and have Nik on the bench.
themadafrican
That should say of course Wenger.
themadafrican
if he improves his defensive positioning i think he could definately be recognised as the worlds greatest left back. a quality player
ArsenalRob
Guys, I have some inside knowledge regarding Arsene Wengers contract signing...it WILL be signed...soon :D On Clichbomb, top player, top and AFC forever (I hope)
Goofle
I'm more impressed by Clichy all the time too. One vast improvement over Ashley is that when he takes it to the opposition corner, he's not scared to dribble out to fine options- my memory of Ashley (possibly wrong), is that when he found himself in same corner, he'd usually just hoof a cross in to the box to nobody in particular. As for Senderos, it seems they tried to play Kanu offside but the linesman disagreed, so Senderos actually did what he had to do. Kanu would have had an excellent chance alone on goal so Phil pulled him down outside the area- had he lunged with a tackle by that time Kanu would have been in the area and it would have been a sending off AND a penalty kick.
elbondo
erm, 'find' options, although they may be fine too!
elbondo
Agreed, agreed (all with a big smile) - best left back in the Premiership. Not even Evra, Cashley and Matthew Taylor could match him at this moment. Best in the world probably in a couple of years' time. Building on last year's great performances, I think he's improved on his positional sense especially on the defensive side. He's also put in much better crosses than last year. These 2 qualities alone are enough to warrant a place in the France team but yeah, it's good for him to stay away from Domenech. Let's also hope that idiot will let Gallas comes back unscathed from the international break.
Louisa
And one more thing - only Riise and M.Taylor look better than him on the goal-scoring front. Otherwise, our Gael is stronger than any other LB's in the Premiership! But on providing assists, just look at his amazing run down like 3/4 of the left touchline to let RvP score against Ajax, or another great run down the flank to feed Cesc against Sparta Prague after which Cesc said it was 90% Gael's goal. "He ran, he gave me the ball, he told me I got time to shoot, I just had to put it in the back of the net." What a wonderful player! And in case you didn't watch the Arsenal TV Online interview, asked why he didn't shoot himself, our great team player Gael said after that game, "Maybe I had 90% of scoring, but I thought Cesc had 95%. So even though I was in a position to score, I believed he could do it better." Let's not forget that he played well in LM against PSG and Lazio too. Added to his sportsmanship, he's also a humble, polite and decent young man. Just look at what he said at the Treehouse charity event and you know what I mean.
Louisa
He's only 22, so he'll only improve and might even be our Maldini, but the farther he gets away from Domenech the better, it would be nice if Evra and Abidal get France callups and get clobbered in the process. :D
stukazufuss
Thats one more thing I admire about Clicy - his poise and maturity when giving interviews (something Louisa brought up). He has been doing a lot of them lately (to ATVO), and with every interview, it has me wondering if he is really only 22.
prits
Yeah prits, amazing isn't it! Makes me feel bad thinking how I was still a kid when I was 22. LOL Seriously though, Gael Clichy is not the only one. I think AW has worked magic not just improving the kids' technical and tactical skills on the pitch, but as men (not boys anymore) off it as well. Look at Cesc, Flamini, RvP and even Kieran Gibbs (he did an ATVO interview after the Emirates Cup against Inter). Their composure and maturity is really beyond their tender years. I think it's even harder to learn, if not impossible to teach, than some of the footballing skills, don't you think? :)
Louisa
Absolutely. There was an interview with Theo before the start of the season, just after he started training, I think. Sounded mature for his years and I was very impressed by him. Credit must surely go to Wenger & Co. If you listen to some of the absolute rubbish that some senior footballers talk, its refreshing to listen to the sense that these kids make.
prits
Yeah, Theo too. Humble young man, despite all the attention and crap in the press. Senderos also sounds very mature, and no wonder he's given the armband in some games. I'm waiting for Denilson to speak a bit of English to see what he's really like cos I feel he's a humble youngster but also extremely confident. "Fingers crossed" is a bit of an over-used expression, but I am.
Louisa
clichy is definately a class LB, i believe he already IS the best LB in the world. i am yet to see an opponent who measures up to him. and to think we still have traore to fill in, thats just fantastic. hope the spanish clubs keep their greedy eyes away from our youngsters.
supersof
 

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