Monday, 6 June 2011
Nasri has no class, Squad Review Part 3
Before I get on with reviewing the midfield players I want to talk about Samir Nasri opening his mouth in the French press. Nasri has admitted he doesn’t know if he will sign an extension to his Arsenal contract. I don’t have too much problem with that – I don’t like it, but it seems to be the way of modern football. I don’t believe four good months makes you worthy of top-dollar wages so I am happy for Arsenal to continue to play hard-ball with Nasri and his agent. What I don’t like is what Nasri has said about Manchester United. Nasri was asked about the possibility of going there and said that he “wanted to see if the offer was real first” (or words to that effect). How to make yourself popular with the Arsenal supporters, eh? This is a disgraceful comment and shows no respect for Arsenal, it’s Manager, or it’s fans. What he has done is everything as bad as anything Adebayor did a couple of years back. He should be sold straight away, for as much as we can squeeze from another Club.
Now, on with the business of the day, and the next installment of the squad review – midfield.
Diaby has never recovered from having his leg smashed at Sunderland five years ago. Quite how Arsene Wenger has justified the keeping of Diaby, when he is physically incapable of playing more than two games in a row over the past couple of years is incomprehensible. Diaby has ability, but his attitude appears lazy at times and he slows Arsenal’s game down far too often when he gets possession. How would it have been without the leg-break? We’ll never know the answer to that, but I do know that I want him out of Arsenal now.
In January Fabregas played his best football of the season. He twice rescued us in the FA Cup against lower division opposition, but his season (and I still believe it will be his last) will be remembered for the games against Barcelona. He did little in the home leg, and was a disgrace in the away leg. The excuse that he was carrying an injury is a poor one – if he felt unfit then he should not have been selfish enough to go out on the pitch and stay there for over an hour. All in all it was a disappointing season for Fabregas in every way. Having said that, had he been fit for the Carling Cup Final then who knows how the last three months might have gone for Arsenal? With the transfer circus about to start again, and his heart so obviously elsewhere, I would accept any bid in excess of £40m and sell the Captain (we wouldn’t miss his leadership, even if his passing ability would be a massive loss).
Rosicky’s near 18 months out with injury clearly finished the Czech international as a top footballer. There is no pace about Rosicky and his ability is a shadow of what it once was. His inclusion in the starting XI for the Carling Cup Final, ahead of Nicklas Bendtner, remains possibly the most mystifying of the season from Wenger. He has rarely been seen since then and I am sure he won’t be at Arsenal when we get going again next season. One goal in two years is a disgrace.
Seemed a stick-on for the various player of the year awards at Christmas. Nasri was Arsenal’s standout performer from the beginning of pre-season through to the New Year. Since then he has been as anonymous as he was at any time in the previous three years (that doesn’t explain why Gareth Bale beat him to the PFA award though). Nasri’s goals and pace drove Arsenal forward in the early part of the season and got him his own song with the Arsenal fans (now copied by many, including those mugs from Tottenham). That he now seems willing to chuck it all back in the faces of Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans (see above) perhaps tells us what we need to know about his character.
The Brazilian is now firmly established as a “boo-boy” for the fans. When he arrived I felt Denilson had very real potential and looked like he could become a top player. He has regressed in to something of a caricature who seems destined to always go sideways or backwards. There is nothing incisive or exciting about his game. He has also been shown up as increasingly lazy in defensive areas of the pitch, regularly failing to track back effectively. Denilson has already announced that he wants to leave and I am sure nobody will be standing in his way.
Two loan spells allowed Rambo to get fit for a late season return to the Arsenal team. He capped off his comeback with the winner against Manchester United in the only late season highlight for Arsenal. He seems to be able to string more than a couple of games together at this stage, which is already a better recovery than Diaby or Eduardo made. A good pre-season could see Ramsey go from strength to strength next time around.
I get annoyed when I see Alex Song marauding in to the opponents penalty area. In some of the early games it got us an important goal or two. However you just knew it was a matter of time before it would all fall apart at the back. Arsenal need a defensive midfield player to be exactly that. Sergio Busquets understands his role for Barcelona and does it very well. We need Song to understand his role for Arsenal (and we need the Manager to be forceful in telling him what his role is). We also need some genuine competition for Song’s place in the team – he is under no pressure whatsoever and that is not healthy.
Arsenal’s player of the season. The youngster was thrown in at the start of the season (not before time in my view) and responded superbly. He suffered a slight dip midway through the season when the games looked like catching up with him a bit. Wenger handled that well and gave him a bit of rest whenever possible and his end to the season was as impressive as his start. I’d like to see him run at people more, and to shoot more, but we have the most exciting prospect at English football at Arsenal and must look after him properly. I also don’t go in for this “too young to be Captain” nonsense – Tony Adams was 19.
What a disappointment he was this season. Arshavin still managed to get goals and numerous assists despite an obvious lack of application and effort. Imagine what he might have done had he been trying. The Russian is a World-Class footballer, but that’s only any good if you want to put it in on the pitch. He lost most of his goodwill from the fans and it would not surprise me if he were to move on in the Summer.
Eastmond would have been hoping to kick on from his numerous first-team games the previous year. It didn’t happen for him because he really isn’t good enough. He’s not strong enough to play in midfield and not quick enough to play at right-back. It was no surprise to see him loaned out but his lack of games at the lower level perhaps should tell us something.
Made his debut in the FA Cup replay against Orient and did well. Henderson will almost certainly be sent on loan for next season. It will be interesting to see what division he plays in as that will give an indication of whether he has a future with Arsenal.
When he played in the superb win against Spurs in the Carling Cup Arsene Wenger compared Lansbury to Ray Parlour. He had capped a super performance with his first Arsenal goal and looked set to form part of the main squad. I was amazed, therefore, to see him get loaned to Norwich for the season. This seemed illogical as he had spent the previous season at the same level with Watford. A short-term loan to a Premier League side might have made some sense, but not this. Lansbury was a star performer for the Canaries as they got promotion though his work towards the end of the season was largely done from the bench. I hope to see more of him in an Arsenal shirt next season.
Injury robbed the youngster of his chance to understudy for Alex Song this season. He was superb in the pre-season campaign, including the Emirates Cup. He has made his comeback towards the end of the season and I thought he might have earned a place on the bench for some of the final few games. I expect him to be with the first-team again for pre-season.
That's it for today. I'll review the strikers at some point in the next couple of days.