WTTGT Writer: Matt Mace
The start to Arsenal’s current season has been well documented throughout the media. Defeats to Liverpool, Blackburn, Tottenham and Manchester United left fans staring into the the abyss that was left at the Emirates by the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. Personally I (along with many others I’m sure) believed that Fabregas was destined to leave. I also felt that Samir Nasri would grow as a footballer and relish the gap left by Fabregas. I, of course was wrong.
Just under two weeks after Fabregas’ move to Barcelona, Nasri completed his £24m move to Manchester City. I found myself extremely disappointed with the move and wondered how the Gunners’ would cope. The answer to this question…okay. There hasn’t been anything breath-taking about Arsenal this season. They’ve found themselves in and around other Premier League bastions and with Robin van Persie in the form that he is anything is possible for Arsenal.
After their torrid start in which suspensions and injuries left manager Arsene Wenger with the very bare bones of his squad; key players such as Thomas Vermaelen and Alex Song have returned with renewed belief. Aaron Ramsey has shown glimpses of the potential that he possesses and with Jack Wilshere set to return in the new year along with a potential plethora of new signings, Arsenal FC are a club ultimately heading in the right direction.
Yet what of Nasri? So much was made of his departure and how his creativity would be missed. Well other than a verbal square up with Emmanuel Frimpong in Tuesday night’s Carling Cup match, Nasri has found himself on the periphery of the Manchester City team. With the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero lighting up the league, and the steadily improving James Milner to accompany them there has been little that Nasri has done for his new team. He has only made 6 starts in the league (with another 5 appearances as a sub) for City, hasn’t managed a whole 90 minutes in the Champions League and has been a regular in the Carling Cup. So Samir isn’t exactly making the waves he was at Arsenal.
But his supposed replacement (even though he was brought in before Nasri left) Gervinho has slowly but steadily come to grips with his new club and teammates. Willing to hug the touch line or come in field for the ball Gervinho has kept every fullback he has faced on his toes. Whilst he has sometimes has a tendency to linger on the ball too long he has popped up at vital times to create assists for team mates (think the first goal against Chelsea). And whilst Arsenal fans haven’t seen the quick feet that Nasri provided with that goal against Porto, Gervinho has taken to his wide berth rather well.
Of course Arsenal would be better off if they had Nasri in their squad, as would any team in the Premier League; and I still think that an extra midfielder or two is needed to create more depth to our squad. But whilst Nasri can at times still be missed by Arsenal F.C he certainly hasn’t been a necessity for the club.
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