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A controversial opinion on the error-prone Clichy: Get rid.

Posted on December 16, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Some people love the guy, some think his time is up, I’m afraid to say that my opinion is of the latter – please read what I say before castigating me!

When Ashley Cole left, Clichy took his chance so well – he displayed all the characteristics he displayed now but there was also a reliability to his game, you knew that if you but the very best up against him you could hedge your bets on him giving them a damn good game. Sadly, his game is more of a liability now – even average players can get change out of him.

As a fan I see why people love him, he works so hard for the team and is one of the longest serving players at the club – (If you class Henri Lansbury as first team, he is the second longest serving player) – However, there is only so long you can live off past glories. What is clear is that he doesn’t learn from his mistakes, time and time again he gets a headrush when he is under pressure and does something stupid. It sounds such a horrible thing to say but sometimes you can’t help but think he is a bit simple…

If I put two and two together without knowing the facts 100%, the chances are that I will come back with the number five as the answer – however I will have a go at it. In the last few years, Clichy has had a fair bit of trouble with his lower back suffering from two stress fractures. One was at the tail end of the 08/09 season, and the other (on the other side of his back – almost identically) was a few months later in November 2009.

Could these have had an effect on him? Maybe, he has never been the same player he was before those injuries but his form hasn’t been top notch since the Eduardo incident which was even before that. So does that just void the point I was trying to make? Even I don’t know that.

In some ways I do feel as if the manager has some responsibility to shoulder for the obvious decline in Clichy. One thing you need to get the best out of a player is competition, and he has very rarely had any. Last season Armand Traore was the main candidate to pressure him for position but that was only because the injury prone Kieran Gibbs was on the sidelines. He could provide massive competiton to Gael but just can’t stay fit for longer than one game at a time. It isn’t really his fault, he has just had dreadful luck – but, has the lack of competition following his run of injuries not exerted enough pressure on Clichy and given him the idea that his place in the side is a given, regardless of performances? Should Wenger have brought in another left back?

Clichy may also be a victim of Arsene’s perceived negligence of defensive duties in training? He comes across as the type of player who needs to be told what to do and we all know that the defenders very rarely work on defending specifically in training.

People may make the point that Clichy receives little, or no, help from Andrey Arshavin who leaves him hopelessly exposed time after time but surely the first thing a defender has to be able to do is defend. It is completely understandable if the best players he comes up against take advantage of that and give him a torrid time, but surely he should still be able to deal with some of the other players he comes up against? Failing that, he should think for himself and put in the extra yards after training and specifically ask to practice dealing with being left exposed by the player in front of him. Put in the hard yards to improve – use his initiative to try and better himself. For all I know he could have done that, but he has been progressively getting worse.

Again, another bone I have to pick with the manager is that if he is being targeted, someone has to help him out to negate that threat and that clearly hasn’t happened. The thing is, this dip in performance from Clichy has gone on for a couple of years now, we are not talking months or a matter of games – it has been a long, long time since we have seen him be the stand out player in a game, where you can say afterwards ‘he really was fantastic’ – Its more ‘it was his mistake, again’. It shouldn’t be like that.

This is why my stance is that we should look at offloading him and bringing in a better player – not even promoting Kieran Gibbs because of his fitness issues and he hasn’t ‘won’ a place in the team despite him playing well when called upon.

I’m not going to name names and insist we but such and such from Spain, Italy or Germany – but what is clear is that Clichy is the weakest point of what is becoming a notoriously weak defence.

It may be better for both parties to move him on, however, I’m sure plenty of you disagree.

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30 to “A controversial opinion on the error-prone Clichy: Get rid.”

  1. gooner2 says:

    Clichy like Song has gone backwards this season, he was quite close to leaving in the summer to spain. Do not reward him with a new contract, just a shame that Gibbs is allways injured. He is not strong enough and gets easily beaten and can’t close down properly. Get rid

  2. gazzap says:

    Clichy IS making mistakes but I beleive its down the increased pressure on him from a total lack of cover. He is often one on one or even two on one. Arshvin is nowhere and neither is Song.
    But wenger doesnt sort it out – he lets Song go upfield and he lets the left winger do no defending.
    The answer is to shift Arshavin into the bergkamp role, shift either gibbs, or Rosicky, or even Wilshere to the left and Nasri on the right, with Cesc and song in the middle. Get song to sit more.
    In big games drop Arshavin and play another midfielder like Ramsey, and you have all the problems sorted without even buying. Of course if clichy continues to make mistakes he needs to go.

  3. Arse&Nose© says:

    Clichy has been going backwards for years.

    I don’t buy the excuses about Arshavin not covering, its never a problem for Sagna when the guy in-front of him doesn’t cover. Clichy was declining before Arshavin arrived and was targeted in every big game, it’s a joke that Wenger doesn’t even try to counter it!

  4. Viktor says:

    I think itsalot to do with like what gazzap said a lack of cover for him.. arshavin is not good at back tracking and leaves clichy one on one or even to on one against opponents rather see nasri on left walcott on right so both sagna and clichy get good cover from the wingers.
    not saying clichy has been good but it would help to have somoene help him out there.

  5. MikE says:

    interesting piece.

    frankly in this day and age a full back does need help and support from the other wide player – sadly for him this is usually arsharvin.

    maybe van the man, who will fight back and support, will play left wide ?

  6. MikE says:

    ps i agree with gazzup on song — he shouldn’t be allowed to cross the centre circle!

  7. smutley says:

    If you look at the past couple of seasons you will see that most goals come from crosses or are scored from our left side of the area. Clichy more often than not is always high up on the pitch and by the time he gets back he is having to make silly challenges and increasing the pressure against us. The offside trap doesn’t work for us so we get caught with the counter attack or long ball game. We nee defenders who knowhow to defend and more importantly a coach who can improve the defending.

  8. Arse&Nose© says:

    Arshavin is not to blame, Clichy is the problem.
    Clichy has been rubbish since before Arshavin arrived.


    Man City 4 Arsenal 2
    3 goals conceded from moves down Clichy’s side, Diaby played in-front of him.

  9. goonerboy says:

    Surely Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses are more about our weak spine and the ineffectiveness of Arshavin who regularly concedes possession, leaving Clichy- an attacking full back with too much to do. As a defensive unit, Arsenal have weaknesses all over the park and not just at left back. These weaknesses are as a result of poor coaching not individual failings- because when Gibbs plays- the same problems are apparent.

  10. Karlito says:

    I have to agree. He is prone to just switching off at times and while it may only be a second, it always turns out to be a vital second. If anything I think Arshavin has been tracking back more the past few games than ever!! Gibbs has looked good in the past but I think we may yet have found another injury prone player made out of balsa wood.
    On the plus side I think we may actually have a potentialy world class keeper on our hands now!

  11. John says:

    I disagree that he has regressed. I think a lot of people’s opinion of him are unduly influenced by the three or four shockers he had (including the 3-1 game against Manu last year) when he first came back from injury and wasn’t fully fit. I thought after that initial period he was fine and a relatively consistent performer. I think 1v1 he is a superb defender. Fair enough, he does have the occasional brainlock but I think that is an insufficient grounds on which to base the claim that he isn’t good for the club.

    I think the lack of cover from both the wing and the midfield hurts him. I’ve read Clichy get lots of stick for ‘backing off’ Nani which permitted the latter to get in a deflected cross to Park. If you look at the buid-up to the cross, however, Arshavin was out of sight and Wilshere was the closest midfield and he wasn’t in a position to provide cover. If Clichy tried to press Nani and didn’t get the ball, Nani would have had acres of open space and an open lane to goal. Thus, the most prudent course of action, and the one for which Clichy opted, was to stay off and try to contain Nani. If Clichy saw Arshavin running back he could’ve pressed Nani knowing that if he missed Arshavin would have been able to cover for him.

    The only real criticism I have of Clichy is on the offensive end. Specifically, I feel as if he always stays on the touchline and doesn’t make any runs more towards the center of the park. Although this provides some width, sometimes his runs are pointless; Gibbs, on the other hand, seems much more willing to run inside and sometimes has some great opportunities because of his good runs inside.

  12. Arse&Nose© says:

    When Gibbs plays we look more solid.

    Gibbs does not bomb forward irresponsibly. Clichy lacks a footballing brain, he panics and doesn’t know when to go forward or when to stay back. It has nothing to do with Arshavin, Clichy has been rubbish for several years and Arshavin hasn’t always played in-front of him.

    You must also remember that between Clichy and Arshavin are 3 midfielders. Arshavins primary goal in the team is to score and create goals and stats show that he is doing his job. Clichys primary role is to defend, not bomb forward and throw in aimless crossess. Before people blame Arshavin look at the midfield, and before looking at the midfield look at Clichy. Many of his mistakes in games are not down to ‘lack of cover’, just lack of common sense.

  13. brian gooner says:

    I have constant nightmares about Gibbs ability to defend.He looks very assured going forward and linking up but is totally clueless defensively.So many respected pundits have commented on how well Clichy played against Nani on Monday and I would rather take their views than yours.While you are moaning then why not have a go at Sagna who treated us to several more of his slashed clearances and although getting forward endlessly very rarely offers anything penetrating apart from a half decent cross occasionally.

  14. soulrebel says:

    For me, Cliche is at his best going forward when we are high on confidence as a team. i think his 1 on 1 defending is pretty weak. Remember how you used to smirk when teams attacked down our left when we had Cole? You just knew he would stop them. How often now do you just get nervous in the same situation.

    I have always been pro-wenger but I am finding this particularly trying at the minute. If he isn’t too stubborn to address weaknesses in favor of his vision/philosophy then he should reassure us but excuses like the one about the pitch after the united loss make me very uncomfortable.

  15. Arse&Nose© says:

    Clichy played well against Nani? That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages!

    A defender is supposed to win tackled, by the law of averages they will win more tackles than lose. It does not make him the new Maldini! Nani missed two clear chances that were presented to him by Clichy, if he had scored there would be no debate. Lets not forget the penalty conceded too, whilst it was harsh it would have never been conceded if Clichy never got himself into soo much of a pickle.

  16. ANTARCHILE says:

    People with an underbite seem to have a tendency for calamities

  17. ArsenalfanfromIndia says:

    Im completely with you on this one.

  18. Marc says:

    I agree that Clichy is prettry much on his own and doesn’t receive much help from Arshavin, however his job his to DEFEND and that is what he’s not been doing to the best of ability since of late.

    I do like the guy as he works for the team, however there needs to be a healthy competition for that position as Clichy has gotten somewhat comfortable. A Baines would be perfect…yes Everton won’t let him go, but we do need another left back. We may not necessarly have to send him away but get another!

  19. ruffneckc says:

    Clichy has made mistakes sure because he is prone to panic attacks. However, I do think that having proper defensive cover goes a long way to helping the team be more secure in that area.

    Firstly, it’s the job of on of the 3 central midfielders to come across and help or to cover Clichy if he is beaten. This rarely happens as these players are often caught upfield when counterattacks happen. I have seen Dani Alves make mistakes as well but they are less because he is always covered or given a simple passing option to get out of trouble.

    Secondly, Clichy covers a lot of ground and is fatigued more often than not BECAUSE his side is targeted. A better player may do better in the circumstances but only just, because of the system we play.

  20. Serengeti gooner says:

    you have just beaten around the bush without pinpointing the exact situations in which Clichy’s concentration lapse or ineptitude contributed directly towards conceding a goal.
    It seems everyone and his Grandmother are out to get Clichy’s head for what I can only term as cynical and parochial agenda. Arsenal concede a goal, Clichy should’ve won the header,should’ve conceded a throw in/corner, shouid’ve man marked his man, should’ve have not bombarded forward yadayada C’mmon people give the guy a break. The lad is a true gooner as can be attested by his commitment week in week out!
    He ain’t no angel just like all of you but atleast he tries.people just don’t know how to appreciate what they have.
    To mr.Clichy, know this: mother Teresa,Gandhi,Clinton hell even Jesus Christ were accused of many things, it’s your duty to chuck all these doubters off ye back by disaproving them detractors wrong! Go on son we got your back.

  21. critic says:

    how does every1 knows that there’s no work being done on defense at training? Do u hav crystal ball which shows what’s wenger doing in training?
    Did u watched utd vs ars live? If u did tell me any instance when nani got past clichy or made successful attempt for crossing. U dn’t expect(i guess) clichy 2 b superman and just float in d air when he is about 2 fall so dat he can avoid touching d ball which nani delibrately shot 2wards clichy and nasri was providing cover fr him anyway.
    Yes he commits some mistakes, but who doesn’t? Dese days epl is far more competitive dan cole’s days at arsenal. Even evra made such pathetic mistakes at start of d season dat SAF decided 2 play him in midfield.
    He was excellent against utd…EXCELLENT

  22. critic says:

    even d goal dat we cnceded was started with an unsuccessful attempt on goal by nani. Who was dere 2 block nani’s shot? It was a shot and not a cross which led 2 a goal dat was eventually claimed by park.

  23. goonertank says:

    I’m sorry but even when clichy isn’t bombing forward he is always out of position when the counter comes.

    He makes the team jittery defensively.

    If he goes I do not care so long as we buy a top player to fill the gap and not promote a 18 yr old

  24. RC NAL 4 EVER says:

    Clichy is still a very good player although i wont deny his obvious mistakes at times this last 18months or so.For me sagna is much better and my favourite defender.We dont need to get rid of clichy but just tell him to get rid of the ball instead of sometimes trying to turn inside the attacker and find another defender or our keeper,puzzling thing about him is he doesnt seem to be learning from his errors and he has great experience now its not as if hes the same age as gibbs who will only continue to get better if of course he stays fit.We need a y.toure type in midfield to play alongside song,someone of great muscular presence and stamina.At utd the other night our defence played well though and mixed a mature looking performance with a great desire to fight and we applied a good tough tackling no nonsense attitude.As a fan of the arsenal even though we created little im always happy if we show fight and hunger in a performance and for the large part that was on display.H.webb despite your muscular appearance you proved you are a weak,wimp,pathetic,coward of a ref for not sending fletcher off for pushing you,and even more of a joke was the linesman visually stating that clichy moved his hand to the ball when it was clearly planted to the ground.Nearly forgot ferdinands high boot to sagnas abdomen that took a chunk of his jersey and could have really hurt our lad,this all proves that officiating at old trafford is so bias its beyond believe really.Finally manchester utd appealed in their programme notes for no sick chanting to be labelled at arsene,and those who do will be banned and have their season tickets revoked.Well now the sick chants continued but not on the same scale as before,interesting to see if utd keep the promise to punish these thugs.Man Utd and all clubs have a responsibility to honour their word do they not?.

  25. jaji says:

    the problem with clichy is not mainly defensive. arsenal’s overall game suffers from clichy overall lack of ball sense. every good team, n i mean gud team, has a full back that is capable of playing on the wings…….why is dis? wen teams like united close you down centrally, you need ur full backs to make runs and get into d wide positions and play like wingers wen they get there that is, luk for a thru pass, a decent cross or a dribling run. clichy and sagna dont do dis. i for one believes arshavin suffers from clichy’s lack of ball sense and offensive support and arenal as a whole suffers from it..remenber cole-pires-henry…most of arsenal goals came thru that root…thats cos cole can play like a winger, so can evra, baines, marcelo, abidal, bale, carlos, mathieu, ..just thing of any serious team and u will see that their full backs can play footy well. i believe arsene sees these things but doesnt wanna do anything yet but he’s runnin outta time…clichy n sagna r arsenal’s main problems

  26. Kunlewoye says:

    Clichy has been error-prone for along tym bt he used to make up for them in well-timed interceptions and creating chances up front with his runs.
    I think there’ve been changes I feel have been detrimental to our title chances this term.
    Last season, it was abt d central defence & nt having depth up front when v.Persie was out forever…. Bt it’s still d defence posing problems now. I really don’t av problems with our recruitments @ d back cuz I think their attitude has been spot on & they’ve done quite well in d big games barring that fortuitous Dragba

  27. kunlewoye says:

    *that fortuitous Drogba goal and that belter from Alex….
    I think the main problem has been with instability in the team. I did not think we needed to include Wilshere starting in the midfield this season, and I definitely didntt expect to see ‘tiny’ Wilshere playing in Alex Song’s role! That with incessant bitching from the fans and some other little details that even I cant explain have all contributed to lost points and goals conceded. People haven’t really mentioned that Wilshere has given away possession needlessly this season, juust like Denilson…. I think if he has senior players in front of him in the pecking order in his natural offensive role, which I think is the case, he shld just be coming on when called upon and leave Denilson and Song to the “dirty”…
    With Arsenal fans I think we’re always out for a scape goat which we’ve never really been successful at as is inherent in changes that were made at the start of the season and still the same age-old problems!!!

  28. kunlewoye says:

    I had to finish my comment that I started bt couldnt complete yesterday….sorry…lol

  29. ross says:

    actualy agree in a large part, think clichy has been goin downhill since start of last season, i realy don’t buy the lack of cover thing because i every time i see him make key mistakes its not as a result of a lack of cover. the thing that gets me about his mistake is its stupidity, does the things wrong your taught in football as a kid, when your not sure get rid etc etc, concede a throw in not a goal. but i think perhaps clichy is a product of wengers philosophy, trying to play out when its really not the smartest option. I also think clichys long dip in form came in the same time we flipped from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, im not necessarily suggesting a link am just saying

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