Calling Gael

France defeated Faroe Islands Saturday as their fragile World Cup qualifying campaign continued in Guingamp. Domenech and Henry have talked about qualifying by any means possible – big teams have made big tournaments and done well after qualifying via playoffs so there can still be a happy ending. The French team was a mixture of regulars and some emerging players, but it did not contain Arsenal left back Gael Clichy. He didn’t even make the bench. Unless his form improves dramatically very soon, he could miss out on S. Africa if France get there.

He has talked about needing to break away from Kieran Gibbs in the competition for Left Back. He acknowledges that he is first choice now but that it can change quickly. Judging by his form last season (which hasn’t improved very much so far to be honest), he has a long way to go in creating distance between himself and the younger Gibbs. The mental lapses that he’s become famous for cannot continue.

Clichy needs to strive to displace Patrice Evra in the French national team. Evra, for all his anti-Arsenal comments, is a very good player. Worse is that he excels against us. It’s clear to me that Ryan Giggs has passed on his hatred of Arsenal to players like Evra. That creates an extra bit of intensity in their game. United are always up for a game against Arsenal.

We haven’t had that little bit extra recently when we’ve played United. We haven’t had enough of that burning desire to beat them the way they’ve had it for us. If we have had it, they’ve had a bit more of it. Players like Clichy need to turn that around. His Arsenal place and obviously his World Cup dreams depend on big performances when they really matter. He hinted recently in an interview at confusing instructions from Wenger. I don’t buy it. Wenger’s instructions are not confusing. And if they leave Clichy wondering whether to attack or to defend, he certainly should know what to do and when to do it by now.

He has been better and he must know that. There’s no time for more excuses. He is now a senior member of our squad. It’s time Gael bigs up or steps aside.

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