Arsenal buoyed by The Nasri Effect


Written by Nicholas Edwards

The summer transfer window saw Arsenal fans holding their breath, waiting for the inevitable news to come through: Cesc Fabregas has joined Barcelona. Thankfully that day didn’t come and we Gunners breathed a deep sigh of relief. Our midfield maestro, our game winner was staying put in North London.

Now, four months into the season, we are top of league despite some painful losses and we owe a tremendous debt to our man in midfield. The man in question, however, is not Cesc Fabregas. Not this time. No, our new midfield maestro is one Samir Nasri; our new game winner.

The game against Fulham at the weekend was a nervy contest. Both teams looked evenly matched and at certain points in the second half it seemed that Mark Hughes’ men in white were destined to take three points away from the Emirates and in the process compound our horrendous home form. But it wasn’t to be the case. Two moments of pure football magic from Samir Nasri secured top spot for the Gunners. He was the missing component to our equation for success on Saturday. I’ll say it without any hesitation: Samir Nasri won that game for us.

Arsene Wenger saw enough in young Samir Nasri to shell out a reported £12.5 million on the French starlet. We all know Wenger doesn’t throw that kind of money about willy nilly. Nasri also impressed supporters on his debut against West Brom in 2008 scoring in the fourth minute. Since then he has steadily improved and this season he is showing the class he is capable of and the fruition of the talent that Wenger spotted in him.

With Fabregas’ on/off hamstring injury this season Nasri has had the space to express himself. It’s almost as if he relishes the opportunity to command the attacking side of Arsenal’s midfield without standing in the shadow of our Spanish captain. I’m not saying he can’t play with Cesc, quite the opposite. The two creative midfielder’s link up beautifully. I just feel that Nasri has more creativity and freedom in Cecs’ absence and the pressure rarely seems to get to him.

I hope Fabregas stays with Arsenal for a long time to come but it is at least comforting to know that we already have a game winning midfielder in the squad if Cesc chooses to pack his bags for Spain.

The two players each bring something different to Arsenal’s game. Fabregas is without a doubt the Gunner’s best passer. He can spot runs and perfectly place balls into areas that most wouldn’t even dream of being able to spot. Nasri on the other hand is better on the ball. He can keep the ball close to his feet and use his skill to pass defenders. He also has a clinical shot on him. These two parts of the midfield working together are invaluable to Arsenal and if Cesc decides to commit to a few more years at the Emirates I’m sure the two will strike up a midfield partnership of legendary proportions.

Of course, Arsenal’s surge to the summit of the Premier League table is not down to just one man. Marouane Chamakh has been outstanding and finally gives us the option of a traditional centre forward. He’s good in the air and is a calm finisher and that’s something Arsene Wenger’s squad has needed for a few years. Arshavin is also beginning to show his true ability again. He loves to run at defenders and this gives us yet another option when our beautiful passing game doesn’t yield results.

It’s a strange feeling to write this but Fabianski has really proved his doubters wrong so far this season. He has been in blinding form, making some outstanding, even game winning, saves over the past couple of months. It’s the main topic that Gunner’s fans are split on. Half feel we need a new keeper and half feel that Fabianski is showing us that he is good enough. I don’t really know what more the Polish keeper can do. It feels like a lot of people are waiting for the shoe to drop and see him revert to his error prone ways. I’m choosing to be optimistic about him. He’s doing well and the fans should get behind him as the manager and team already have.

It’s good to see Arsenal back at the top. Will it last? That’s a completely different question. Our defence still shows signs of weakness. It’s improved, don’t get me wrong, and I feel it’s definitely improving but the news that Vermaelon will be out until at least January is a cause for concern. Wenger has the right attitude about the Premier League this season. He is not getting ahead of himself. Big teams are dropping points and we are witnessing the closet title race in many years. Like Le Proffeseur says; we’ll just have to wait to see where we are come may, but I can’t keep down the belief inside me that this could finally be our season.

Share this article