A Post of Two Parts
I very nearly posted this piece straight after the game yesterday, such were the strength of my feelings. But I felt a bit of time to reflect, some clarity of thought and – hopefully – a bit more official news might aid in clearing my sentiments. I’m talking about the Nasri ‘situation’, and while I’ve had the benefit of reflection and a bit of clarity, nothing official has been said. Oh well, on with it.
Here’s a question: Does a man with an imminent move to another club tend to play for his current club? Not really. The chance of injury, and that injury scuppering a deal, isn’t worth the risk if the selling club is intent on claiming the agreed fee. A fee reported to be around £23m is not to be sniffed at, and so why would the selling club’s manager, Arséne Wenger, risk losing that money by naming Nasri in the stating XI yesterday?
“The fans will want Arsenal to play well and win the game. They do not make an individual case of each player in each position. They want good players and to win the football game.
And while that was met with head-shaking in some quarters, I can’t help but think that Arséne and Nasri both knew far more about the situation heading into the game than both the supporters who called the player a c*nt at Newcastle, and the minority of
fans idiots who booed him at the Emirates yesterday as his name was announced.
Indeed I don’t think there was one fan booing Nasri at the end of the game, and that could well point to the fact that Le Boss knows the club fanbase better than the individual fans, and that some of the people in the ground are perhaps fickle. We want our team to do well, yes, but we don’t really know what’s going on with deals or non-deals, and we should mainly react to what we see on the pitch.
Yesterday what I saw was a player trying to do his bit for the team, angered when he played a poor pass and missed a rasping effort (apologies for the ad). You can see the drive, and you can see the reaction of Nasri, and though that might be a reaction of purely personal frustration and not one of failing to put his team ahead, that he tries to make something happen in an Arsenal shirt should be taken at face value. He obviously cares about the club, about the team, and about making a difference when he’s on a football pitch. That has added weight this morning, with this fine piece in The Independent, but also because of this quote from Wénger:
“I have already said I try to keep Nasri and I have never changed my mind. He loves the club and he wants to stay here. If we decided to sell him, we would have to live with that.”
Now we all know that Arsenal is pretty much as financially sound as any top-flight club could realistically be, and so if the decision to sell the player isn’t AW’s – i.e, it is the board’s – that would hint that it is not Nasri that wants to go (not this season anyway, as he’s failed to sign a new contract which would signal his commitment), nor is it Wénger who wants to sell him. Does this allow us to look at Nasri’s tweet about fans being disrespectful in a new light? Perhaps, but it should also make it clear to us that even as fans we don’t know everything that’s going on, and should deal more in facts when support is required.
For example: It is a fact that if Nasri plays on Wednesday then he won’t be eligible to go to another CL qualified club, and it is pretty likely that he’ll play more football at Arsenal this season than he would at Man City.
“Spend Some F*cking Money”
This was a chant that arrived in fits and starts yesterday (and was quickly/mercifully drowned out in reply by “Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal”), but only once the ten men we had left on the pitch went down by two goals did it rear it’s ugly head. Apparently those who are so frustrated as to call our boss a “wanker” and sing that particular line, were quite happy up until about the 78th minute when Miguel cleared onto Rambo’s chest and the ball looped over Szczesny.
Of course I agree that the squad needs strengthening. I’ve said it, like every other Arsenal fan has, since the end of last season. If Nasri does say we need to buy less, but it’s curious that some apparently think that spending money could prevent an own goal or a red card. Perhaps the latter would not have been given to a player of more experience than Frimpong, but who before his second yellow could say that he wasn’t superb on the day, and deserved his place in the starting XI as an understudy for Song – a player of markedly more experience who knowingly aided in getting himself sent off against Newcastle.
It’s no exaggeration to say that up until the disadvantage of a lost man we were at least the equal of Liverpool, and that had Koscielny not had to go off, and – the quietly adept – Ignasi Miguel (no sign of Squillaci) been thrown somewhat in at the deep end, our defensive stability might have brought another clean sheet. Spending money is what Twitter rumours suggest the boss is trying to do, but the lads on the pitch did well up until the point the numbers game came into effect and Dalglish brought on fresh legs.
In theory we lack similar depth, but it could be argued that the money needs to be spent primarily because we seem to be the most injury-prone club there is in the Premier League. Djourou would most certainly have replaced Koscielny had he been available, Gibbs or Traore would have played LB and Sagna RB had both of Gibb’s and Traore’s injuries not thrown Sagna to the left and placed Carl Jenkinson on the right, and Wishere, Rosícky and Song would no doubt have been involved were it not for injuries or suspension.
I could add Abou Diaby to that, but I think he might actually have been abducted.
Anyway, I’m not claiming that we have a wealth of options for a big club, but I can at least sympathise with Wénger enough not to sing a chant that in my opinion is both disrespectful and lacking in understanding at the complexities we’re obviously not privy to. Call me gullible, or call me ignorant, but call me a Gooner, and one who tries to think before he speaks.
Oh christ, I think my boiled eggs just exploded!