Arsenal aren't as rubbish as everyone thinks, Nasri has already been sold by the fans and Joey Barton could well save us all...
Arsenal fans have already sold Nasri.
With the artistic update of the song devoted to the splendour or Sami Nasri's superb six months last season, the travelling Arsenal fans gave up on the Frenchman on Saturday and accepted Man City's offer regardless of what Arsene Wenger and the board think. "Na na na na na na na na, Sami you're a c**t, you're a c**t, Sami you're a c**t".
The Adebayor hate box has been reopened and Nasri is about to be thrown in. The transformation from hero to villain is quicker than ever thanks to the Bosman ruling, Man City silly money and players liking green. This time last season Nasri was embarking on a golden period which would peak with two solo efforts at home to Fulham in December and include numerous moments in which the Arsenal crest was clenched and kissed.
One year and an ignored contract offer later, Nasri couldn't give a f**k. The master of his future, he knows the opportunity to double his money is just around the corner and forgets the club which elevated him to such a prosperous position. Such is football. Who wouldn't want to earn twice as much elsewhere? It's too familiar to surprise. Especially at Arsenal.
Whilst Nasri took the brunt of the fans frustration there was real discontent and conflicting feelings on other issues. Bored to f**k and out of patience with the Fabregas saga, there were chants of 'F**k off Cesc Fabregas'. Some fans sang in support of Arsene, whilst others called for him and the board to be sacked.
At an uncertain time for the team on the pitch it would benefit if the fans were pulling in the same direction with the principal and simplistic aim of three points at the end of 90 minutes.
Arsenal aren't rubbish
We're meant to be. That's our lot. Cesc gone, Nasri going, Wenger losing the plot and our seat at the Champions League table for four reserved by the media for Liverpool. It was therefore somewhat of a relief to get out of the papers and onto the pitch, where it was quickly evident that we aren't as bad as the summer of gloom was making out. Whilst far from great, Arsenal dominated the first half by keeping possession at will without the finishing touch in and around the box. Nothing new there. Until you look at the direct nature of new signing Gervinho and his eagerness to attack the full back and run behind and beyond the back line. For all the easy on the eye, but ultimately fruitless passing in front of defences over the last couple of seasons, the fore-headed one will add another dimension to Arsenal's game once he finds the same page as Van Persie and co. Yes, it was only against a relatively poor Newcastle side, but apparently we are only Arsenal now. We were pretty but toothless with an uncomfortable fragility born of last season. A season in which the horrors of the four-four draw in the same fixture still scare. This point felt a whole lot better, and in truth the fragility was due to memories of last season as opposed to anything evident on Saturday evening.
Szczesny can play centre half and other signs of defensive stability.
The Arsenal fragility is based upon the fact conceding a goal out of nothing is always just around the corner, no matter how well we are playing or, in some instances last season, how great our lead. Most of these goals come from set pieces. Arsene would have them banned. They serve no purpose to our style of play and we rarely benefit from them in comparison to how we suffer. Defensively, the cries for a centre half at Arsenal are primarily aimed at solving this weakness. Our defensive record in open play is relatively comfortable. All that is deemed as required is a man with height who can head the ball, hence the links to Samba. A player that aesthetically does not fit the Arsenal format, but who is f***ing massive with the desired ability to jump higher than most. Against Newcastle an option which unfortunately might make Arsene think he doesn't need to spend was in evidence. Szczesny took decisive actions every time the ball was thrown into the Arsenal box. A confident keeper who times his jump well with arms fully stretched will get to the ball before anyone else, Crouch apart. It helps in no small part that Szczesny was wearing the proper goalkeeper colour of green, as the confidence to come for such balls when wearing pink is instantly reduced. Finally a replacement for Lehman is in place.
With play still active, this was surely a penalty in its own right? Barton, the last great bastion of British football, needed to tell Gervinho that he was wrong to cheat in order to gain an advantage for his team.
At left back eyes will be looking towards Kieran Gibbs this season as Arsene opts to replace Clichy from within rather than invest elsewhere. If Gibbs was replacing someone of the calibre of Kenny Samson, Nigel Winterburn or Ashely Cole, this would look foolish. As it stands, Gibbs won't have to play that well this season to ease the loss of the likable Clichy, whose Arsenal career stalled at St Andrews in 2008 and never reached the same levels despite his best intentions.
Gibbs passed this first test well. Once more the quality of opponent should not be forgotten, but Gibbs impressed with a desire to get forward whenever the opportunity presented itself. Doubts around Gibbs will only be answered when he proves he has a defensive side of his game to match. In this he will be assisted by the calming authoritive figure of the returning Thomas Vermalen. The Belgium defender's steel and reading of the game have not been diminished by a year out and were infectious with the ever-improving Koscielny growing in confidence alongside him.
The demand for Arsene to "Spend some f**king money" has never been greater.
In his strange press conference before the Newcastle fixture, Arsene Wenger suggested the negativity around Arsenal this summer had been completely created by the media and that the discontent of fans scattered around the Emirates dug out was not representational of the wider fan base. Whilst the media have played their part, so has the inactivity and perceived lack of ambition of the club to "spend some f**kin money" in order to complete. This was clearly audible when sung by two thirds of the dedicated travellers and could not have failed to have been heard by Arsene. Whether he actually listens will be apparent over the next fortnight. With Cesc gone and Nasri disowned there will be vast funds available that even Arsene will not be able to ignore. This was suggested when, during his post match interview, the Frenchman smiled and said 'We are not afraid to spend money you know'.
Joey Barton will save us all.
I must admit that I quite liked the idea of having a nasty b****rd like Barton at Arsenal over the summer to complement the niceness. That's what happens when signings are scarce and Arsene is tight. You begin to look for free transfers and lower any morale yardstick you might have had. With the absence of football and his fondness for The Smiths, I apologise at just how easily I forgot who Joey Barton is.
Having admitted to having wronged in the past through the benefit of counselling, Joey Barton now sees himself as incapable of ever being wrong again. The lofty commentary position of 330,000 thousand followers on Twitter has secured this position and given him the platform to offer his opinion on everything and anything. Sometimes this can be entertaining. Such honesty and character is lacking across football and someone who doesn't hide from opinion can be refreshing. At other times, and increasingly so, it becomes embarrassing. A lack of class oozes out in every battle he joins and his arrogant dismissal of any "peasant" that has to save up for more than five minutes in order to be able to afford an iPad 2 shows a man who's working class routes have been forgotten.
On Saturday, Barton was stamped on by Alex Song. Song was foolish and lucky to avoid a red card, especially following what happened in the 4-4 last season, when the game was turned at the point Diaby was sent off for raising his hands to....... Joey Barton. Barton was the victim in the Song clash, a position he would have revelled in had it not been relinquished so quickly.
As a tiring Gervinho attacked Cheik Tiote in the box, the Newcastle midfielder came into the slightest of contact with the forward, who went down easy in search of a penalty and a breakthrough that by now seemed unlikely to materialise in any other way. The referee waved play on but Joey Barton decided that Gervinho needed to be reprimanded and that he would be the one to do it. With the power invested in him by Twitter and the redeeming light of having once been wrong but now right, Barton aggressively grabbed Gervinho by the scruff of his neck and dragged him to his feet. With play still active, this was surely a penalty in its own right? Barton, the last great bastion of British football, needed to tell Gervinho that he was wrong to cheat in order to gain an advantage for his team. Seconds later Joey Barton was cheating himself with the very same aim as he embarrassingly feel to the floor as if floored by Mayweather rather than brushed by Gervinho. It was the quickest and strongest contradiction and instantly showed why Barton's character is flawed and destined to forever be in battle with itself.
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