Nasri’s New Deal & Signs Of Momentum Building
Samir Nasri is claiming this morning’s headlines, The Guardian reporting that talks are under way to extend his contract until 2015, his current deal expiring in 2012. This is being tied into his improved form this season but is probably more based on Wenger’s comments last week noting that with contracts nowadays negotiations have to start two years before a deal ends to ensure that players do not have their heads turned by representations of others. Not that a contract means anything to players or clubs; a move can be engineered quite easily by both parties if it suits them.
Not that Nasri does not deserve his place in the side. On current form, the player most at threat when (or should that be if) Robin van Persie returns to full fitness would appear to be Andrey Arshavin. That is based on the assumption that Wenger believes van Persie is back to full fitness and f0rm. And that there are no other injuries, which is perhaps stretching the imagination too far. The observation is double-edged, referring to the Russian’s showings this season but also highlighting how quickly Marouanne Chamakh has settled into the team. Another effective display on Sunday was unrewarded with a goal but nonetheless appreciated by all.
Nasri though has flattered to deceive before, a run of several good games and then becoming ineffective, trying to take the weight of the team on his shoulders proved to be a heavy burden. This time around, he seems to have learned the lessons from last season and is relishing the responsibility. Indeed, he has not stepped back into the shadows following Cesc’s return to the side, instead maintaining his form and producing a diamond display at Eastlands. At the moment, the midfield is functioning efficiently, with Denilson’s inclusion in the side allowing Alex Song the chance to move forwards, rewarded with two goals in two games.
Song was one of the players who is coming in for praise for perceived improvements to his game. The dreaded word ‘maturity’ springs immediately to mind with all of the squad; you expect season-on-season improvements otherwise the player, like Randall, will be moved on, plateauing for more than half a season suggests that they have reached the peak of their abilities.
As Cesc observed, the measure of these improvements is not one game, not even half a dozen. It is the whole of the season. Trophies is a marker, a milestone for the squad but for the individuals, the performances overall are the measurement. Obviously, we all want them to win and that the results are being achieved in the last week with the ‘last choice’ centre back pairings speaks volumes compared to last season. Whilst Djourou has been showing the signs of his long lay-off, that the wins are happening shows harder work throughout the team in terms of defending.
That is going to put to the test in coming weeks with tough away games in Donetsk, Braga, Aston Villa and Everton mixed with Tottenham visiting The Emirates. A solid foundation has been built since the loss to West Brom and wins over Newcastle and West Ham create a momentum that can quickly develop into a formidable run of form. All of these games though are emminently winnable, especially as the next few weeks apparently sees all bar Vermaelen return to fitness; pressure on places in the starting line-up will genuinely exist throughout the squad.
Meanwhile – according to News International sources, I hasten to add – Cesc is learning Russian, responding to Arshavin’s native shout of ‘Give me the ball‘. So what did the our diminutive forward think of that?
I do not know, It happened on the spur of the moment: my words and his pass.
So is he or isn’t he (sounds like an advertising campaign)? I would have thought they would communicate in English, being the common language of the land although given his well-documented desires to play for Barcelona, it would be of little surprise to learn that Arshavin spoke Spanish.