former gunner hits out

Petit slams English press for hounding Gallas

November 24, 2008

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has hit out at the English press for their treatment of William Gallas.

Gallas was axed from Arsenal's 3-0 loss at Manchester City on Saturday after publicly criticising his team-mates in an interview given last week.

The 31-year-old Frenchman has been stripped of the Gunners captaincy by manager Arsene Wenger, but Petit, a former team-mate of Gallas at both Chelsea and the French national team, believes the media must take a share of the blame.

"The gutter press in England are doing their job well,'' he told L'Equipe TV. "They have a happy heart when they can hit out at a French player, and I am well placed to know that.

"They already did that with other French players such as (Eric) Cantona. It's been a year now that the press have tried to push Gallas out of Arsenal. Why? I have no idea.''

Petit, a member of Arsenal's double-winning side of 1998, believes his former club are already out of the title race but is adamant freezing out Gallas would not improve their fortunes.

"Arsenal, Arsene and Gallas cannot stop working together,'' he said. "When you see that the team have five defeats in 15 matches, you realise that they have worn out their joker in the the fight for the title.

"Arsenal can not alternate between the sublime of last year to the mediocrity of this season. Gallas is being singled out, but there is a lack of form in a lot of players.

"Gallas does not have unanimous support in the dressing room as captain. It's certainly a generational problem. Gallas' move did not stem from bad intentions but it has been perceived as such.''