Date:Saturday February 2 2008
When the man who is as mental as a mad badger on crack, Raymond Domenech, picked his latest French squad, I'm pretty sure that two names leapt up off that list of players and burned their way into Gooner eyes. The first being Mathieu Flamini, who we all hope to see play (as long as he doesnt get injured, thank you very much M. Domenech), preferably at the expense of Lassana Diarra - not just because he upped sticks and left, but more to do with the fact that I'd like him to show Diarra exactly why he wasn't featuring in the first team - as he has been magnificent all season.
The second, earning what every Gooner knows is a LONG overdue call-up, is a player you never hear a peep out of. You don't hear about him going out, getting pissed, partying, moaning about his team-mates not being up to it. He's not a media whore, and I bet when he heard of the call up, although he will have been blown away at finally earning international honours, my bet is that he didn't nearly swerve his car off the road in shock. So well done, and not before time I might add, to Gael Clichy.
All season long he has been playing out of his skin. When he first stepped into the left back berth as first choice last season, he was a little 'green' in certain defensive areas. The promise and potential has always been evident for all to see though. And all season long he's shown that promise has been fulfilled, and has been turned from potential into performance.
As has been much noted, his energy levels are unceasing, and as I write this, as the full time whistle blows, the commentators on five live mention Gael Clichy bombing forward in attack, in what was the game's final action.
He has become very solid defensively. I remember last season when we played away at ManUre, and Ronaldo was charged with tormenting Gael. Come the second half, Taggart switched the portuguese prima donna to the opposite flank, so little change did he get out of Clichy.
The only thing we continue to wait for is his first Arsenal goal. It would surely be an immensely popular one, and would bring the house down.
But until that moment happens, let's all bask in the glory of one more of our young crop gaining international recognition.
Heartfelt congratulations, and not before time in my opinion, to Gael Clichy. May he go on to become the French first-choice left back for the next decade. I wouldn't bet against it.
France should brace itself for an area of high pressure, with gusts of extreme high wind to be expected. But they needn't worry. It'll just be the fallout-winds from Gael Clichy tearing up the pitch for his country, in the 93rd minute of the game.
Date:Saturday February 2 2008
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