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Posts Tagged ‘Nasri’

Au Reviour Samir – Watershed Moment for ‘Big Club’ Arsenal; Udinese Preview; Frimpong New Cult Hero?

In Campions League, Nasri, Transfers, Udinese, Wenger on August 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm

 

Samir Nasri Leaving Is a Watershed Moment?

 

There has been talk over the weekend that the Liverpool defeat was a watershed moment in Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal.  Well, the goalpost have just moved again as it was confirmed today that Samir Nasri was being sold to Manchester City and Roberto Mancini could stop his little temper tantrums about whether or not Nasri was going to play tomorrow against Udinese.

There will be no fond farewell as the lure of money and a rainy climate was too much for Samir and when fans ask for committment and loyalty from players that wear the beloved shirt then Nasri leaves under a cloud called Adebayor.  It will be interesting to see whether he follows a similar route in signing for the Spuds on loan in 3 years time. 

So au revoir Samir, I think you had your farewell chant on Saturday when you still showed a bit of spirit but obviously the rain washed that small flicker away.  Man City at home will be another interesting fixture this year.

 

Are Arsenal A “Big Club”?

 

This is actually not as provocative as the tag line might suggest and for the following reasons.

I’ve never known a summer like it but the bare facts are that we have now sold our two most creative outlets in Cesc and Nasri and there must be great concern as to how suitable replacements can be identified with only 8 days left in the transfer window.   At the moment, we are left with very limited midfield options with both Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin completely out of form, Jack Wilshire, Abu Diaby and Thomas Rosicky carrying injuries; and our two midfield ball winners suspended for the next game away at Old Trafford.

There needs to be movement in the transfer market very quickly and you would like to think that Arsene has an ace or two up his sleeve.  However, everyone seems to be playing Arsene at his own game by where he has famously insisted that targets will not be leaving in the near future and now we’re seeing a little payback.  With so little time left to make any deals someone has to blink first but the closer we get to the deadline the greater the prices are likely to go up.  Why else would Andy Carroll have cost £35 million.

So the fans are optimistic that Arsene is going to pull out a couple of rabbits out of the hat, but what optimism can we have.  In an interview with the BBC today Arsene tells a sad tale:

The summer was very difficult because we had [Cesc] Fabregas and Nasri on permanent transfer negotiations and that is draining in the end. We lost two great players and that’s a sad side of the story but at some stage it has to be over, because you want to focus on the future

Yet it’s the future that is the concern.  In some ways you can understand why a footballer wants success.  They do have short careers and only so many teams can win the cups.  For every Barcelona (of which there are not many), there are plenty of teams that will fail and players do not want to look back on their careers with an empty trophy cabinet at home.  This is what has hit home amongst the senior players in recent time, Nasri cannot necessarily complain of poverty if he’d signed his contract extension and with Cesc having to take a pay cut in order to facilitate his move to Barcelona it is clear that the chance to be a winner far outweighed the salary to stay at Arsenal.  There is also the risk that the ripple effect will reach other key members of the squad whose contracts will be expiring in the next year or two.

This sends out a clear message to the rest of the footballing fraternity that Arsenal may not have the same ambitions as everyone else and they run the risk of turning into a training academy for young players to make a name for themselves before moving to the first club with a gizzillionaire owner offering dream team set-ups.  If this is the expectation then Arsenal have suddenly degraded their buying power for new and exciting talent – in fact, Wenger has admitted this already and his prophecy may be coming true:

 “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that.

“And even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money. Because you cannot say that you lose the player and you do not replace him.

“I believe for us it is important that the message we give out – for example you see about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving – if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club.

“Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take [players] away from you.”

So enough now of the transfer situation, things need to happen and happen quickly and when those transfers do happen will hear from them first on Arsenal.com.  There’s too much speculation on the newswires to be able to make sense of what might actually happen and my blood pressure will not last the next 7 days.

 

Udinese – Arsenal Preview

 

The headlines will say that this is the biggest games of the season so far.  Hard to argue really but as mentioned earlier, tomorrow’s game could define the future of this club over the coming seasons.  It sends a shiver down my spine to think that we may not have Champions League football this season.  I know this sounds very pessimistic considering that Arsenal are taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg but you cannot help but feel that Udinese will fancy their chances in front of a home ground and with better finishing they could well have taken an away goal too. 

The squad benefits from a lack of suspensions that impact the games in the Premiership so we can certainly expect to see Alex Song and Gervinho make a return. 

I would expect the starting line-up to look something like this:

Szczesny

Sagna  –  Djourou  –  Vermaelen  –  Jenkinson

Ramsey  –  Song  –  Rosicky

Walcott  –  RvP  –  Gervinho

I have stuck with Jenkinson in defence with the full-back line up being the same as the weekend.  I thought they both did well and they would be far more assuring than Traore at left back. 

It will be important for Arsenal to get an away goal early on as the team seems to have started this seasons games far stronger in the first half than they do in the second.  Let’s hope it they can manage it but we all know what it’s like to be an Arsenal fan, the team always seem to have a knack of doing things the hard way.  May need a few beers to get me through tomorrow evening – maybe a night of London Pride vs Peroni but will obviously be knocking back more London Pride in order to do my bit for karma.

 

Frimpong – A new cult hero?

 

On a final note, after his excellent starting debut (sending off aside) on Saturday, Emmanuel Frimpong should be applauded for his recent antics on twitter.  Not only does he have a profile header that you wish every Arsenal player would declare, as well as putting Piers Morgan truly in his place, Emmanuel was quick to remind his friend, Jack Wilshire, that the future can still be bright without Nasri being at the Emirates.  He obviously needs to keep reminding him at the training ground:

 

 

Can’t wait to see what other pearls will be posted in the future but with the performances and desire shown so far I can see Emmanuel quickly becoming a firm favourite (let’s hope the big money offer doesn’t come soon).

 

So, fingers crossed for tomorrow – the team are capable of completing the task at Udinese.  Time to out in a performance that will show we’re still in the running.

Come on you reds!

GG

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Arsenal 0 – 2 Liverpool: The Aftermath

In Arsenal, Nasri, Preimeri League 2011/12, Uncategorized, Wenger on August 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

Pre-match feelings on Saturday were very much a mixed bag.  Anticipation, trepidation, caution and hope.  When you have hope you enter dangerous world and hope breeds contempt and we all know about that at the moment.  This does stem from the fact there is so much uncertainty at Arsenal at the moment:

Why does Arsene believe that the current crop of fit and non-suspended squad players are capable enough to challenge for the Premiership crown, let alone qualify for the Champions League group stage?

What has happened to Samir Nasri’s supposed and very public move to Manchester City?

How many more games do Arsenal need to lose before fundamental changes are made?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions yet at the moment it would seem that our manager is not close to providing answers himself. 

Yesterdays game was a watershed moment for the club and for the fans in attendance the realisation that this season is going to be a very hard season, this for a club that has very much become accustomed to recent success and flowing football.  Both were obvious by the absence yesterday.

The starting line-up was certainly the best that could be put out in terms of those currently available.

Szezesney

Jenkinson  –  Koscielney  –  Vermaelen  – Sagna

Walcott  –  Ramsey  –  Frimpong  –  Nasri  –  Arshavin

RvP

Whilst the line-up looked very raw and untested in previous games, this deflected from the big talking point as the crowds were taking their seats, what reaction was Samir Nasri going to receive when announced to the crowd?  Inevitably, he received a mixture of boos and mild encouragement but there certainly wasn’t the same warm welcome afforded to the rest of the team.  Unsurprsing though for someone who has either personally or had his agent’s team court a move away from Arsenal.  If he loves the club as much as Arsene claims he does then my has a new contract not been signed yet.

If you compare the two line-ups though, regardless of potential and mental strengthness there was a clear difference in the Premiership experience of the two line-ups and this may have provided a few clues to the final outcome of yesterdays match:

 There were some bright moments to talk about but not enough to ensure a win.  In the opening encounters it was clear that Liverpool were looking to leverage Andy Carroll’s aerial ability but this was well countered by the two centre backs and this summed up their first half.  Not too many chances to talk about and if Arsenal had been stronger with the final ball on the break then they could have gone into the half-time break one up as the Liverpool defence was not at its strongest, or fastest.  A failing on the day from our wide men.  However,  the best two chances came from Nasri and Frimpong who both took runs to set up shots from outside the box that challenged the Liverpool goal.  The former’s run started from outside Arsenal box and ended with the ball zipping just past the post and the latter forcing a fine save from Reina who tipped the ball behind.

Emmanuel Frimpong was extremely lively from the outset and was clearly relishing his starting debut on home turf.  However, if you were look for a surrogate marker within the team for the current climate at Arsenal, Frimmers would be a prime example.  After today’s performance Frimmers was clearly the best player throughout his time on the pitch and within 3 minutes a Liverpool player, Carroll maybe, felt the full force of his hard tackling style.  Shortly after, Frimmers earnt himself his first yellow card for trying to delay a throw in and one that he would go onto to rue when receiving his second yellow for a strong and slightly high challenge on Lucas which any midfielder enforcer should expect to receive every now and then.  This is why you need to protect your yellow card status in matches and earn a card when you deserve them but we now have three midfielders currently under suspension and between them only one deserved yellow card.  Some discipline needs to be instilled across the team as these absences are being felt.  The sending off of Frimpong was a turning point in the game and one from which the young team could not recover from.

In the final quarter of the game the inexperience of the squad was harshly evident and whilst this is not their fault, the team, club and fans continue to suffer as a consequence.  Arsenal lost their shape completely in the second half, the flow of passing was absent and the defence were unable to get the ball up the field.  Both Arshavin and Theo had poor games and if your outlets are ineffective then chances are not going to be created.  Theo was worryingly poor yesterday and seem to be very one tracked in his approach and the Liverpool defence soon learnt and read every intent.  If Ronaldinho opened up a magic and trick shop then Theo should pay him a visit.

Unusually, the substitutes warmed up at the opposite end to the normal warm up area and for those of us in the bottom left hand cornered we were shown the difference in squad depth with Mai Rodriguez, Mierieles and Suarez ready to come on.  The latter two did come on and Arsenal were unable to adapt to the change in style.  Yes, the first goal was unfortunate and there may have been a suggestion that both were offside but this is football and you have to play in the moment as results have never been changed in retrospect.  There is no point moaning about what could have been, the scoresheet at the end of the game reads a 0-2 defeat for Arsenal.

So what can be taken from the game?  There were a few bright spots but not enough to grind out a point or 3 for the homing home game of the season.  I’ve already touched on Frimmers performance but this was soured by his sending off.  Thomas Vermaelen was very strong in defence and it’s great to see him back.  If anyone knows if thee are an cloning factories out there then can we get a fast-track pass for Vermaelen?  Can you imagine a defence made exclusively of Thomas Vermaelen quadruplets!  

Hats off to the crowd today.  It’s really hard at the moment being an Arsenal fan with all this ongoing uncertainty.  The crowd played their part today, they appreciated Nasri’s contribution through the game, advised a weak referee on what decisions he was missing and made the point that no matter was turmoil the team is going through the club and fanbase are bigger than that and they will give undeterred support.  If you could convert that passion and desire from the stands to the scoreline then the game would have finished 2-2 at least!  There were certainly very audible chants for the manager and board to spend some money but this is because the fans want to see success and not to struggle but the lack of financial investment.

In terms of poor performances, as mentioned our wingers were poor.  Neither Theo or Arshavin were unable to get hold of the ball and take players on.  If this was down to the defensive prowess of the Liverpool fullbacks then fine but there was too many deadend runs and poor ball control to be able to give any credit.  Samir Nasri was bright in moments and his turns and runs were lively but as with the back end of last season Nasri drifted out of the game when needed and if he were every to replace Cesc then this was what was needed.  Another sign that £25M could have been another astute bit of business BUT ONLY if replacements were found.

The potential is certainly there and when you see how Frimpong, Miquel, Jenkinson and Lansbury (for a shorter period) were willing to step up to the challenge then you have optimism for the future.  But not now, not against Liverpool where every point counts.  I know it’s early but at this rate we run the risk of entering September in the Europa League which only 1 point from 9 in the Premiership.

As discussed in Friday’s blog, the concern was going to be how well will this squad acquit themselves against the big spending Liverpool.  Liverpool certainly have a different squad to last years they have strengthened as a unit which is important if success is to be achieved at the end of a long and challenging season.

So there are 10 days left of the transfer window.  How the team will change over that time we cannot predict.  One thing is sure – the next two games, away versus Udinese and Manchester United, will define where this season will end and what the future for the team is.  I’m nervy but still have the faith.  It’s tough this blind faith thing isn’t it!

Arsenal could be short on players at the weekend

In Arsenal, Liverpool, Nasri, Wenger on August 17, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Wouldn’t it be nice for just one day to feel confident that your team is going into the big game this weekend with a strong squad following a busy summer of transfer activities.  As we know, the Chief Executive Officer had promised:

“It is very clear we had some shortcomings and in this close season we are going to see some turnover of players. Some new signings will be coming in and some of our existing squad will be going out. As Arsène has said, it will be a busy close season for the club.”

It’s certainly been busy but not in the way you would like to see.  So far we have seen the exits of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and by tomorrow the likely departure of Samir Nasri.  In addition to this, some first teamers from last year have gone out on season long loan with Carlos Vela and Denilson taking time out in warmer climates. 

On top of this, the hard long season is already starting to take its toll on the playing staff with Wilshire, Rosicky, Djoruou, Gibbs, Traore, Diaby all carrying knocks and are unlikely to start on Saturday against Liverpool.  Off these, maybe Rosicky could recover in time.  This is now making both Gervinhos and Songs 3 game suspension even more critical that it may have appeared at the time.

So where does this leave the first team selection?  Tricky!  It could look something like this:

Defence:

Szczseny

Sagna  – Koscienly   –  Vermaelen  – Jenkinson

This was the back four that finished the game at Udinese on Tuesday and maybe Jenkinson is yet not adaptable enough to take the unfamiliar berth on the left.  The only other formation I can see at the back is that Squillaci goes into the centre of defence which TV taking the left back position

Midfield:

Arshavin  –  Frimpong/Rosicky  –  Ramsey – ?Walcott

This does very much depend on whether Rosicky can shake off the knock that he received on Tuesday night.  If not, then I can only see that Frimpong will start and play in Songs holding role but for someone who only made his Premiership debut as a replacement on Saturday against Newcastle this is asking a bit much.  Another consideration would be for Walcott to drop deeper into a 4-4-2 formation leaving our options for……….

Attack:

?Walcott  –  RvP  –  Chamakh

On paper it looks like a weak First XI can be put together but things start to get shaky when you consider who might be on the bench:

Substitutes:

Fabianski  –  Squillaci/Jenkinson  –  Lansbury –  Miyaichi  –  Oxlade-Chamberlain  –  Bendtner – A.N. OTHER

We actually only have 6 substitutes and with greatest respect to the youn lads in the team is a big-spending Liverpool and Manchester United the types of teams that you want to start cutting your cloth against?  It’s also highly unlikely that 2 substitute goalkeepers will be named on the bench.  This is highly embarrassing for a club that claims that it wants to challenge for the title this season.  To have a squad that it so threadbare is really difficult to comprehend and needs to be addressed immediately following another season of hot air and postulating about potential targets that disappointingly never seem come to fruition.

We’re still awaiting for the super quality signing Arsene and on this form maybe two or three before the weekend would be helpful.

———————————————————————————————-

In other news we heard on Friday that Arsenal have agreed terms with Deportivo Saprissa for the signing of Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell we still awaiting final confirmation of signature with the player.  Earlier today, Joel was listed on the Arsenal.com First Team drop down list but this seems to have disappeared.  Apparently, he has desires on the number 12 shirt which is certainly free at the moment and it will certainly be good to see Campbell on the back of an Arsenal shirt once more.  However, fans should still be cautious about Campbell’s ability to adapt to the Premiership considering he age and experience.  Even the boss went as far to say in last nights programme notes:

“Joel is a young prospect, he has talent and he can play right, left or centrally,”

“We took a gamble on him but, from what we have seen, it is worth taking.”

Interesting note for fact facts:  There has now been a Campbell in an Arsenal shirt in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and now the 10’s.

With tomorrow being another day of not escaping the Arsenal merry-go-round that will included more transfer confirmation, speculations and likely frustrations it’s all becoming a little bit tedious.  It’s just the beginning and is unlikely to slow down until the close of the transfer window at the end of the month.  Maybe then, we can really have a look at the squad Arsene will have in order to mount a challenge for the league title. 

Let’s just hope we’re still in the running!

GG

 

 

 

It’s all a bit crazy at Arsenal

In Arsenal, Cesc, Nasri, Transfers on August 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I’m apprehensive about how Arsenal are going to perform during next season.  This coming Saturday there should be huge anticipation about a brand new season, players will have had a good summer break and should be biting at the bit to win something this year to make up for the shortfalls and nearly successes of the recent past (which is far too painful to recall for now). Yet, it doesn’t feel like it.

Instead, we face the prospect of losing the creative spine of our midfield (if Chamakh is to believed) or they may stay (if Rosicky can be persuasive enough).  Others players are supposed to be departing but they’re still being named in the team.  And here lies the problem, where do we turn for concrete information?  Whilst you have to admire Arsenals stance in not disclosing information on new signing until a signing has been completeed, the club recently admitted that they are powerless to prevent the media from creating various frenzies around speculative stories. I am pretty sure they could do a better job in confirming the pure conjecture to avoid confusion – at the time of this posting Arsenal have been linked with 155 potential signings this summer!  I understand that Arsenals scouting network covers many parts of the global but surely if you were looking to bring new faces into the club you would focus on key targets and ensure that everything was completed and successful in the shortest time possible.  I do feel that other clubs in Europe have been more successful that Arsenal in adopting this strategy.

Apparently this week we’re going to potentially see some new faces but I can’t help but feel that this means that we have not leveraged the pre-season friendlies and training enough to embed news players and styles for the start of a new season.  In the past couple of seasons we have had pretty reasonable starts (relatively speaking) but this season the start is somewhat trickier.  We start against Newcastle where the demons of last season second half capitulation need to be put to rest.  This is then followed by the return of Liverpool  who we are yet to beat at home in 3 seasons.  And before the month of August is over there is another home match against a Premier League challenger, Man Utd and you can’t help but think that you cannot waiting for a new team to click when facing such teams.

So yes, it’s all a bit crazy at Arsenal at the moment, the recent changes in the boardroom; players publicly admitting that they have no desire to stay at the club (which hurts when you would like to think that the vast amounts of money would mean that they can actually play for pride rather than concerning themselves with how the household bills will be paid); a lack of conviction in the development and strategy of the team and the club.  But today we live in a crazy world and whilst our civil society is crumbling around us its been quite reassuring to have one constant in life, the goings on of Arsenal FC and whether or not we might hear of that new glimpse of a headline that will give us fans the much-needed hope that our team will put in a credible title challenge this year.  It keeps me going and I still keep the faith, that’s addiction for you!

Later on this week we’ll have a look the squad for this year even though it is bound to change despite some names being included in the Champions League squad.  We can have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of certain positions but trying to nail down actually names to regular positions is currently as reliable at a Mystic Meg prediction.

Until next time!