Why I Don’t Feel Bad For Philippe Senderos

By on January 23, 2010

Think back to to 2006… it was a good year for Philippe Senderos. The young centre-half, whom Arsene had signed way back in 2002 when he was a coveted prospect, started half of the club’s league matches and became a regular in central defense as Sol Campbell neared the end of the first part of his Arsenal career. He was an integral part of the club’s run to the Champions League Final by not conceding a goal throughout the entire group stage and knockout round while he was on the pitch.

That summer, Senderos helped Switzerland out of the World Cup Group Stage only to be benched for their second-round defeat to Ukraine. Senderos’s career at Arsenal looked to have a bright future, as he was rewarded with the number 6 shirt that summer. Senderos was even a leading candidate to be named captain, but then Ashley Cole left and Arsenal signed William Gallas in return.

Senderos found himself frozen out, starting only 6 of the club’s first 14 matches and only getting a run of games when Gallas went out injured in December. In 2007-08, it was much of the same, until the New Year. Senderos started 14 matches the rest of the way, with the club losing only one… the Champions League Quarterfinal second leg at Anfield, where a couple of glaring mistakes seemed to confirm, in the supporters’ minds, the image of Senderos as error-prone. But the club’s record with him on the pitch spoke for itself.

But Senderos has no one to blame for his current predicament but himself, and I surely don’t feel bad for him. He sealed his fate, after catching “big club fever,” by demanding the loan move to Milan in the summer of 2008. It was a difficult summer for Arsenal. First, Gilberto left for Greece, then Flamini and Hleb left to Milan and Barcelona, respectively. On the heels of those two stunning departures, Senderos announced that he had chosen to go to Milan on a year-long loan deal with an eye towards a permanent move. It was a career miscalculation of monumental proportions.

Senderos surely felt that he was not going to be able to crack the Gallas-Toure partnership. But that partnership never looked solid and a change in the central defensive structure was inevitable. It finally came this past summer when the Boss resigned to selling Kolo Toure. But where was Senderos when his golden opportunity had arrived? Just returning from a disappointing year in Milan, thanks to the “big club fever” that had infected, and left for dead, Flamini and Hleb.

Had Senderos not bullied his way to a loan move to Milan, where he played infrequently and with no distinction, he would have been the one to step into Kolo Toure’s spot. But, at that point, Senderos’s lack of loyalty meant that he was not even considered for the position as Wenger secured the signing of Thomas Vermaelen. Instead, Senderos now looks set for a loan to Everton after having been humiliatingly limited to two Carling Cup starts, as if his career had been turned back 5 years. All due to catching “big club fever.”


  1. ezygooner

    January 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

    So true i which him disaster.

  2. Arse&Nose

    January 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    The milan loan was never his choice, he was forced into it.

  3. K. Metz

    January 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

    on top of that, drogba absolutely owned him. he looked so timid everytime we played chelsea

    • Gooner All Day Long

      January 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

      You cant say drogba owned senderos because drogba owns everyone. Senderos is a VERY SOLID and STRONG defender BUT has slow pace and not enough awareness. Although you will see that he will do well for everton. People only remember the times senderos got POWNED by the likes of rooney, torres, and of course the horse from the ivory coast.

  4. Ben Thomas

    January 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I take your point and think it is justified. I think Senderos was going to move on regardless,Wenger wouldnt have let him go to Milan if he wasn’t prepared to, evidently thinking he could do without him.I think he lost the boss’ confidence soon after the fans

  5. indgunner

    January 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    its very sad predicament what has happened to him..We forgave gallas after his outbursts last season so why cant we forgive Phil..What did he do to deserve this?..After returning to the club he should ve been givin an opportunity to prove himself in the team, and on top of that he was never in the squad for half of the games..Wenger has humiliated him in this 1st half of the season and I hope he does well wherever he goes..I feel he maybe a guy we may later regret leaving

  6. Gunnerboy

    January 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I think you are wrong.Senderos never forced his way to milan.It was suggested to him to go on loan to milan and he obliged to give it a try.The fact is arsene had already made up his mind after d 2007/2008 season to let senderos leave the club.I just wish him best of luck in everton thou not when he plays against us


    January 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm


  8. JOEL

    January 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t know when his current contract expires, but it seems strange that an International Centre Back can’t be sold for a fee!

  9. gunner17

    January 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t know about this article. The author decides by himself that Senderos agitated for the move to Milan. That’s not true. Wenger lost faith in him.

    I think Wenger didn’t show enough faith in him. He can’t handle Drogba because Wenger stopped playing him against Drogba. If he had stuck with him the boy would have learnt how to handle Drogba eventually.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      gunner17, if you look at the record, you can see that Wenger played Senderos for almost the entire 2nd half of the 2007-08 season. He didn’t play in the United FA Cup loss. The team had a better defensive record over those months than they had in the previous two years. It was his form over that time that made him attractive to Milan. So why would Wenger then force him out? I believe that Senderos thought that as long as Gallas and Toure were at the club, he would never be a regular starter. Like Flamini and Hleb, Senderos believed there would be greener pastures at a so-called bigger club.

  10. john

    January 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    i love the chap

  11. musher

    January 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    So you guys are speculating why did he leave Arsenal for Milan on loan? Whether was his decision or Arsene? Then concluded by condemning Senderous for whatever your assumption is? Arsenal fans do not appreciate players that play whole heartedly for the club, player like Cygan, yes he is not up to standard but fans did mock and hate him as if he has killed someone..

  12. okunlola olaniyi saheed

    January 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    one thing everyone and even footballers aspire in life is to be a point of reference when we leave our profession. As for me Senderos left on the advice of the club for Milan. Unlike DEAD Flamini and WASTFUL Hleb he was more of a loyal player.
    His problem to me started with two things
    1. not insisting to die with Arsenal when heaven seems to be falling, leaving on a lone move most of our then “good players” left us naked
    2. while in Milan he made a careless statement that Milan is bigger than Arsenal-possibly because the felf he would be retained.
    Anyways, he has had a full dose of such weak descision and statement. PROFESSOR should please forgive him and help revive his deem career. Goodluck to Senderos.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      You are absolutely right. I remember that statement and only didn’t include it in the article because I couldn’t find a link quickly enough. That is when I soured on Senderos. When he claimed he went to Milan because it was a bigger club than Arsenal. Sounds like his choice to me…

  13. okunlola olaniyi saheed

    January 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    one thing everyone and even footballers aspire in life is to be a point of reference when we leave our profession. As for me Senderos left on the advice of the club for Milan. Unlike DEAD Flamini and WASTFUL Hleb he was more of a loyal player.
    His problem to me started with two things
    1. not insisting to die with Arsenal when heaven seems to be falling, leaving on a lone move when most of our then “good players” left us naked
    2. while in Milan he made a careless statement that Milan is bigger than Arsenal-possibly because the felt he would be retained.
    Anyways, he has had a full dose of such weak descision and statement. PROFESSOR should please forgive him and help revive his deem career. Goodluck to you Senderos.

  14. ruffneckc

    January 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I for one am glad to see the back of this lad. He’s big, tall and strong and the only thing he can do efficiently is head the ball into touch. He has no composure/pace and gets caught out more times that not.

    Drogba finished his career before it started and I will tune in to watch Chelsea vs Everton to see if he’s learned anything at Milan.

    Even in the two Carling Cup games he played this season, he got away with a handball in the box. He makes me more nervous than the police, this boy.

  15. Haven

    January 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I’m happy the clown has finally left. Go back to CC finals with Chelsea, FA semi final with Blackburn, CL semi with pool and many more. Arsene wasted Arsenal’s money bringing him here. He has no pace and strength to play in the EPL even a very big figure. He will struggle at Everton because Jageilka, Yobo and Heitinga are all better than him. Another time spent at the bench of a mid table club will definitely be humiliating and will be the final nail in the coffin a la Bentley.

  16. gazzap

    January 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    the reason he never broke into the toure gallas partnership or played with distinction in Milan is because he is not a great defender. he is average, and whats more to get his best form he needs to be playing every week. he is at his worst when in and out of the team. At Everton he will need to play every week IMO.

  17. Ben

    January 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    What a load of crap. Senderos went on loan because Wenger didn’t want him and nobody would buy him. Why would he stay? Had he done ok at Milan we might have got a few million and Senderos might of got a job, but of course he was shit so they sent him back. The twat never had a future after his Champions League nightmare against Liverpool – the tip of the iceberg.

  18. henry the king

    January 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    while at milan arsene sent someone to check up on him and there was an argument and phil said he would never play for arsenal again and the clubs person told phil correct you wont even though milan arent gonna make a bid for you, anyway phil was flash and insultive and that was that he fucked himself up! that was froma good source

  19. Malcolm

    January 24, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Don’t nlame the victim. Senderos was and is a good guy. His play wasn’t stellar when he lost out to Gallas, so you can’t blame Arsene either. However Senderos had to take the Milan chance when it came. I would not have turned it down had I been in his shoes. It is just an unfortunate situation all round and we dont need to be pointing fingers on this one.

  20. joeking9

    January 24, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Enough excuses for Phil! He has reached his potential at Arsenal. Sadly, it was very short-lived. We can’t afford to wait for him to improve at the risk of losing important matches – that became a trend and had to stop. We are a business, not a nursery. We can’t teach him pace, we can’t teach him aggression. Nor has he learned positioning and poise. Heading the ball is the least a central defender should be able to do. It shouldn’t be the only thing he does well. We can speculate all day about why he was loaned or left out of the team. The bottom line is he hasn’t been good enough. End of! We move on.

    • Michael Abellera

      January 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

      I agree with joeking9. Enough excuses for Phil and get on with game!
      FIFA Updates – Source to your FIFA Updates needs.

  21. cockney-geezergooner

    January 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Senderos will not start at Everton they have got quality all over the place and their best xi is on a par quality-wise with us and Liverpool and I wouldn’t be surprised if they capitilise on Liverpool’s problems and get into the top 4 next year. So as high as I rate Phillipe he is not better than Heitinga and Jagielka but he is better than Yobo and Distin so I think he will be in their team until Jagielka is back at least

  22. Comrade23

    January 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Sorry that I’m so late to the party, but I wanted to weigh in on this myself. Personally, I think big Phil has always gotten far more stick from the home “support” than even he deserved, which certainly contributed to his downfall at Arsenal. A player like Senderos thrives on confidence (as well as sustained playing time), and who can maintain that when your own fans are riding you even when you play well?

    As the article mentions, our stingiest defenses in the last few seasons have come when Senderos has been in the side. I lost count of the number of comments here slamming Phil for being unable to handle Drogba… that is simply a ridiculous sentiment. NOBODY “handles” Drogba, especially our defenders, as has been evidenced numerous times over the past few seasons. The man is a beast, he’s the best forward in the league and one of the best in the world. This is your measuring stick? Come on, people.

    I was personally upset when I read his comments after the loan move that Milan were a “bigger” club than Arsenal, but that doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t exactly force his way out of the club. Arsene played him extensively in 2007-08 due to injuries, but Le Boss was not about to break up the Toure-Gallas partnership, no matter how ineffective it was (Answer: it was pretty damn ineffective). He went to Milan thinking he might earn a place, and did play well when he got on the pitch. I don’t begrudge him jostling for a loan move this season because Arsene has lost all faith in him; I personally thought maybe Phil had done something to personally injure the boss to earn such treatment. But he was never going to find his way into the side, even in a backup role, and he’s done what any sane footballer would do if he wanted to make the World Cup.

    Not everyone who leaves Arsenal is Cashley Cole or Adebaywhore. Phil has played his heart out for Arsenal, and has suffered for it. I wish him luck with Everton and wherever he should end up in the future.

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