Category Archives: Nasri

How Soon Will Arsenal Become Premier League Champions Once Again

Arsenal has really struggled to maintain their place among Premier League’s top four clubs since the latter stages of Arsene Wenger’s reign at the Emirates Stadium.

In his last two seasons as the Gunners boss, the Frenchman failed to qualify his team to Champions League competition and that hasn’t changed since his departure. Many Arsenal fans expected so much from Unai Emery during his spell as Wenger’s successor but the Spanish tactician didn’t live up to expectations.

Though he led the team to Europa League final in his first season with the club, the former Sevilla and PSG boss only managed a fifth place finish in the League. Things got worse for the 48-year-old manager in his second season as he struggled to win matches both at home and away.

He was eventually fired by the board members after recording just four victories in 13 Premier League matches. Ljungberg took over on a short-term basis but didn’t do to well as his team continued to struggle for form.

After long search for the team’s permanent manager, the Gunners hierarchies eventually turned to their former player Mikel Arteta — who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant — for inspiration. He became the club’s new manager after signing a four-year contract in December

As much as the former Spanish midfielder has done too greatly with his new squad, he has shown so much promises that the fans are beginning to trust his leadership and tactical approach to games. He has lost just two in 15 matches, winning eight in the process.

Some factions of the Gunners faithfuls believe the inexperienced manager has all it takes to compete with Guardiola’s Manchester City and Klopp’s Liverpool for the Premier League Title. The question is — how soon will that be?

How soon? I can’t say but it will surely take time for Arteta to compete with his former boss and other experienced managers in the League.

Firstly, he has to build a team of his own having inherited most of his present squad from his predecessors. He definitely needs to make wholesome changes to his team in the summer transfer window by getting new and quality players who will play according to his style and instructions. Then, he must boost the player’s morale as it appears they lack the needed willpower and confidence to compete against big teams for any trophy this season.

He needs the cooperation of the team’s psychologists and medical staffs to help boost his players’ mentality ahead of the next season. As much as the fans can start thinking of winning the Premier League in the nearest future, the most important and pressing target for Arteta and his men is to qualify for next year’s Champions League. They currently occupy the 9th position with 40 points, eight points behind Chelsea who are in the fourth and final qualifying spot.

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Filed under Arsenal, Ask the Revd., gooner news, Nasri, Premier League

Arsenal 0 – Liverpool 2: Frimpong’s red mist

The opening home fixture of the new season ended in defeat as a ten-man Arsenal side failed to hold out and conceded two late goals. The result did nothing to reassure those Arsenal fans who are convinced that the manager has long passed his ‘best by’ date. The manager’s position has not been helped by an injury to Koscielny, who had to be helped off in the first half with a back spasm. Ignasi Miquel – who is still listed on the club website as a reserve team player – came on to replace him and make his first team debut. He did pretty well even though it was his attempted clearance that cannoned off Ramsey’s chest for the OG.

Given the number of injuries that are depleting the team at the moment, and the loss of a certain spaniard who shall remain nameless, the team played reasonably well for a lot of the game. Frimpong, another Premier League debutant, had a very good first half, but he got himself ‘needlessly’ booked and this turned out to be critical in the second half (when does anyone ‘need’ to incur a booking?). Unusually, our opponents shaded possession for the first half, and as against Newcastle last week, we failed to make the most of the possession we had. Nasri started the game and behaved professionally; there was no significant negative reaction to his appearance and he played reasonably well. But neither he, Ramsey or Arshavin seemed able to take control and provide a useful supply to van Persie. Arshavin in particular continues to disappoint – he seems to play with his head down for much of the time, and finds himself crowded off the ball. I felt he might have stayed wide on the left and targeted Liverpool’s inexperienced full-back Kelly, but that didn’t seem to be part of the game plan.

Liverpool started with Andy ‘Porn Star’ Carroll up front, and although Szczesny was forced to make one very good save from a  header, he didn’t trouble our defence as much as he or his manager would have expected. However, once Frimpong was sent off for a dangerous tackle with twenty minutes remaining, Dalglish swapped Carroll for Suarez. Not long after that the scousers went in front from an unlucky Ramsey own goal (Suarez had clearly been offside). We were unable to respond and Suarez made it 0-2 on 90 minutes.

Frimpong will be a disappointed man this morning and rightly so. He played well, and showed no sign of nervousness despite having less than half an hour of first team football under his belt. His inexperience got him sent off and he’ll have to learn to pick his battles more intelligently. It’s all very well wanting to fight for your place and give everything on the pitch, but you can’t do that when you’re sat behind the substitutes in your civvies.  Now he faces suspension and we are left with even fewer options in midfield.

There is even more pressure on AW to make some signings, but the clock is ticking. The performance of the team has been disappointing but hardly surprising. The manager’s frustration was readily apparent on the touchline yesterday, and the pressure is mounting upon him. I hope – for his and the team’s sake – that we have some good news over the next few days. Will this be the month that defines our season? If we fail to get past Udinese on Wednesday it probably will be. If we do, events seem to be conspiring against us – so perhaps this is the season that defines AW’s term in office.

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Filed under Frimpong, Koscielny, Match Day Postmortem, Miquel, Nasri

It’s backs to the wall…

It has been a very difficult day for Gooners everywhere. The sight of Fabregas walking onto the pitch at the Camp Nou in front of thousands of cheerings Catalans was difficult to take. It felt something like that reaction when you saw your first proper girlfriend hanging around with some other gobshite immediately after she dumped you. You both knew the break-up was coming, your friends warned you about the other bloke and you prepared yourself as best you could. But the sight of them happy together still hurt, and there  wasn’t a damn thing you could do about it. Not without making a complete tool of yourself, anyway.

Then it got worse. The FA charged both The Arse and Newcastle with ‘failing to control their players’ following the events of last Saturday, and Song himself was charged with violent conduct. ‘Failing to control’ always sounds like a ludicrous charge to me, when applied to a match incident – what is AW supposed to do, run onto the pitch with a fire extinguisher? Anyhow, the club have until 18th August to respond (I suppose a really obscene voicemail message probably wouldn’t be acceptable) and the appeal againt Gervinho’s suspension and response to Song’s charge will be heard on 16th August.

While all this was happening Samir Nasri took it upon himself to complain via his official Twitter account that he was the subject of ‘disrespectful’ treatment by supporters during the Newcastle game. If he thought that was disrespectful, I’d love to know what he made of the response from Gooners to his whinge – I wouldn’t be surprised if he never Tweets again (not for an Arsenal audience, at any rate). But perhaps that is just the point. It seems safe to assume his departure is imminent, so he has nothing to lose by alienating supporters at this stage. Like most, I’d be glad to see the back of him. Show us the money City, and we might even do something useful with it.

Unfortunately, at the very point when we might have hoped for some reassurance from the club, the manager has been voicing his concerns over the level of support exhibited by Gooners for the team:

“I am worried our fans are not behind the team…The players deserve it…It is important there is a love between the fans and the players and the players have shown their commitment which deserves the support of our fans…Sometimes the credit players get is linked with the amount of money you paid for them…It is frustrating sometimes because it looks like players are judged just through the money they cost.”

This was greeted with more than one “lost the plot” remark by Gooners on Twitter this afternoon. This is clearly a reference to the exhortations of away supporters at SJP last Saturday, urging him to get the chequebook out.  But when have we failed to acknowledge players who show commitment? And when have we failed to support players who were not purchased for large transfer fees?

The reality is the squad needs strengthening, as he has acknowledged himself. The fact that the overwhelming majority of Gooners want to see the quality of the playing staff improved by the acquisition of new players does not infer that the current squad are not supported. AW would do well not to confuse frustration with disloyalty.    But it hardly needs repeating that the reason most players have a higher value is because they are better players than those who are cheaper. There are many obvious and recent exceptions – Carroll, Downing, Henderson and so on. Whether any of us like it or not, if you want to improve your squad by acquiring new players of experience and proven ability, you are probably going to have to spend more than you would like to. Will he do so? Here’s what he said on the club website today:

“We are not scared to spend money if we find the right player. But spending money is not the right target in itself. We want to find the right player and whether it is for £2 million or £20 million we will do it.”

How, we may ask, will he determine who is the right player? He asserted:

“We are not frightened to spend money but we have to be convinced the player is better than what we have…That is our main concern, to bring quality. We have quality, but want to add more quality.

The manager is feeling the pressure at the moment. I have some sympathy for him but he does himself no favours with observations like these. No-one wants ambiguity or general observations. Is Cahill, or Jagielka or even Dann better than Squillaci? It doesn’t matter what you or I think – it’s up to him.

Tomorrow we face Udinese in an absolutely critical CL qualifier. I hope that the team get the best possible support – but if we go behind things could get ugly, and I worry that defeat will leave us in a pretty desperate condition to face Liverpool next weekend. It seems almost daft to say it but our season could be defined by the events of the next two weeks – and it’s only August.

So make as much noise as possible and get behind the lads – show Udinese, Barca, the manager and the rest of English football what supporting Arsenal means to us. And if that entails dropping the money chants so be it, at least while the match clock is running.


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Filed under Fabregas, Nasri, News