Nasri Decision Highlights Squad Improvement
The media coverage of the visit of Barcelona has pushed Saturday’s victory so far into the background that it feels as though it is a pinpoint on a distant horizon. Occupying minds is the return of Samir Nasri – or possible return – on Wednesday night, about four days ahead of schedule for those who took Arsène’s 21 days quite literally.
Wenger observed over the weekend that Nasri is in serious contention for the squad, tests today and tomorrow determining if he will be involved, and if he is, to what extent,
He has tests, one tomorrow and one on Tuesday. I will not take a crazy gamble but physically he has worked very hard; physically he is ready. It is just if there is a risk of a setback or not.
Arsène is more cautious this season with injuries and return schedules. Previously, key players have been rushed back with little room for manoeuvre. It is an indication of the strength in depth in the squad that whilst Nasri’s absence is detrimental, it is not a situation where all and sundry are lying around, thrashing the ground with cries of, “Woe! Woe! And thrice Woe!“.
The improvement in that aspect of the playing staff is highlighted that Arsène was able to, publicly, take a longer term view,
we have the Carling Cup final [soon]… we have so many big games it is important not to be stupid as well.
A different viewpoint from the Chelsea final of a couple of years ago when it was all about rewarding the younger players who had got the club there; now it is about winning the upcoming games. Arsène has been consistent in his approach this season, rewarded with patience over Robin van Persie’s fitness by some outstanding form by the player.
With the upcoming games, Arsène needs that to continue. Everyone seems to be chipping in; Arshavin was berated for a month as his confidence dropped. With his form returning, the absence of Nasri is lessened somewhat.
The all-round consistency of performance has come at the right time. The domestic cup blips have arisen through an unbalanced and disinterested side playing. That has been rectified when a stronger XI has played in replays or second legs.
Premier League form is a better indicator of how the side has been performing, the consistency of selection is key to assessing form. Since losing at Old Trafford, six games have been won and three drawn. That is evidence of the confidence, especially since that run includes matches which have been tricky, if not outright difficult, in recent seasons.
Wenger need not rush Nasri back. This encounter with Barcelona will see Arsenal at full strength, a marked improvement on the last meeting. Fine words are being spoken by the players about their chances; turning up and delivering victory over the two legs is all that matters.
Posted on February 14, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 153 Comments.